Real-Life Conundrums in the Struggle for Institutional Transformation

Julia Mcquillan, Nestor Hernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Intersecting systems of inequality (i.e., gender and race/ethnicity) are remarkably resistant to change. Many universities, however, seek National Science Foundation Institutional Transformation awards to change processes, procedures, and cultures to make science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) departments more inclusive. In this article we describe a case study with observations for eight years of before (2000–2007), five during (2008–2013), and seven after (2014–2020) intensive efforts to increase women through reducing barriers and increasing access to women. Finally, we reflect on flawed assumptions built into the proposal, the slow and uneven change in the proportion of women over time, the strengths and weaknesses of numeric assessments, and the value of a longer view for seeing how seeds planted with promising practices initiated during the award may end with the funding but can reemerge and bear fruit when faculty who engage in equity work are in positions of authority later in their careers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-329
Number of pages30
JournalGender and Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • cultural logics
  • equity work
  • multilevel models
  • proportional representation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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