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History and Mission

A Brief History of ADVANCE

Small group of ADVANCE leaders sitting in a conference room

ADVANCE was established at Texas A&M in 2010 when a team of faculty received an Institutional Transformation grant from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) ADVANCE Program to support the new ADVANCE Center for Women Faculty. From 2010 to 2017, the mission of the ADVANCE Center was to transform Texas A&M University by enhancing and sustaining gender equity and improving the representation of women faculty, particularly in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The center provided support for 12 evidence-based programs and activities. The initial programs and activities targeted women in STEM fields, while engaging in research and advocacy designed to broaden the climate of inclusion for all faculty.

The original 12 ADVANCE programs and activities were carefully designed by committees of TAMU faculty and staff to transform Texas A&M University by increasing equity, particularly for women faculty in STEM disciplines.  Each activity was aligned with one or more of the American Psychological Association’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace (PHW) practices – the underlying, evidence-based framework for the TAMU ADVANCE initiative. The activities were organized into 3 broad categories:  Workplace Climate Improvement, Recruitment and Retention, and Success Enhancement. 

Image of the three-point timeline of ADVANCE, starting with the NSF grant through institutionalization
Image of the 3-point timeline of ADVANCE, focusing on shifting scope

Beginning in 2017, the university took steps to institutionalize the programs and activities that began with the ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Grant.  From 2017-2019, several programs and activities were continued under the direction of the Office of the Dean of Faculties (now Faculty Affairs) Office, albeit with new target audiences. During this time, the scope of ADVANCE was broadened from initiatives to support women in STEM disciplines to initiatives to support all faculty across all units of Texas A&M University.  Despite this change in scope, ADVANCE remains firmly committed to improving diversity, equity and inclusion among faculty at Texas A&M.

Image of Cynthia Werner, the current Director of ADVANCE

In 2019, Texas A&M appointed Dr. Cynthia Werner as the Director of ADVANCE.  Under her leadership, ADVANCE will remain in the Office of the Dean of Faculties (now Faculty Affairs) Office. Some of the original programs and activities are now in the process of being revitalized, and some new programs are being added.

Mission and goals

The primary mission of ADVANCE is to weave the values of diversity, inclusion, and respect into the culture of Texas A&M through programs and activities designed to create a psychologically healthy workplace. 

ADVANCE at Texas A&M currently has three primary areas of focus: 

(1) the improvement of workplace climate for Texas A&M faculty;
(2) the recruitment, retention, and success of diverse faculty of excellence; and
(3) the development of academic leaders committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion.