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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Awardee:REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Doing Business As Name:Regents of the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
PD/PI:
  • Erin A Cech
  • (406) 580-4063
  • ecech@umich.edu
Award Date:06/11/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 559,600
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 559,600
  • FY 2021=$559,600
Start Date:07/01/2021
End Date:06/30/2024
Transaction Type:Grant
Agency:NSF
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.076
Primary Program Source:040106 NSF Education & Human Resource
Award Title or Description:Ideological Roadblocks to Diversifying STEM: Resistance and Allyship in STEM Diversity and Inclusion Efforts
Federal Award ID Number:2055375
DUNS ID:073133571
Parent DUNS ID:073133571
Program:ECR-EHR Core Research
Program Officer:
  • Chrystal Smith
  • (703) 292-4342
  • chrsmith@nsf.gov

Awardee Location

Street:3003 South State St. Room 1062
City:Ann Arbor
State:MI
ZIP:48109-1274
County:Ann Arbor
Country:US
Awardee Cong. District:12

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Regents of the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Street:3003 South State St. Room 1062
City:Ann Arbor
State:MI
ZIP:48109-1274
County:Ann Arbor
Country:US
Cong. District:12

Abstract at Time of Award

Ideological Roadblocks to Diversifying STEM: Resistance and Allyship in STEM Diversity and Inclusion Efforts The aim of this project is to break important ground in STEM inequality research by better understanding how powerful and privileged groups in STEM respond to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts in their workplaces and professions. Despite the millions of dollars invested each year in DEI-related training, recruitment, and retention efforts, STEM fields have struggled to diversify demographically and culturally. Much research over the last few decades has sought to understand the interactional and institutional-level biases that disadvantage women, people of color, and LGBTQ individuals in STEM. Yet, these biases are not the only ways in which inequality and under-representation are perpetuated. Central to STEM’s stalled diversification are sources of resistance to organizational and institutional changes that seek to advance equity. Such resistance can block both the effective implementation of existing DEI efforts and the development of new initiatives that would bring deeper structural and cultural transformations. This project seeks to investigate resistance to DEI efforts among the population with the greatest structural and cultural power in STEM. While many individuals in powerful social groups are personally committed to equity and inclusion, others may disagree with, and even actively resist, DEI efforts in their organizations and professions. The goal of this project is to map the wider landscape of cultural schemas that individuals in powerful social groups use to make sense of DEI efforts and to express their resistance to or support for those efforts. Using an innovative combination of analysis of existing survey data, interviews with a representative sample of individuals in powerful social groups STEM professionals, and a survey experiment, the empirical goals of this project are to (1) investigate resistance to and support for DEI efforts relative to their peers, (2) document the roadblock schemas (or shared cultural models) that individuals in powerful social groups may use to frame such resistance to DEI efforts, and (3) test interventions that attempt to destabilize adherence to these roadblock schemas and, by extension, resistance to DEI efforts. In doing so, this project would offer critical insights to assist academic institutions, workplaces, and professional societies in designing strategies to overcome those roadblocks and promote more effective DEI efforts. Such an investigation may also contribute to STEM inequality, cultural sociology, and sociology of professions literatures by illustrating how cultural norms of professional integrity, which seem on their face to be a degree removed from issues of inclusion or inequality, can serve as powerful tools of resistance to diversification within professions. Broadly, understanding the cultural frameworks that powerful social groups use to defend their privilege and resist change is vital for overcoming the stalled diversification of STEM and advancing race, gender, and LGBTQ equality therein. This project is funded by the EHR Core Research (ECR) program, which supports work that advances fundamental research on STEM learning and learning environments, broadening participation in STEM, and STEM workforce development. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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