The Gender Equity Project's (GEP's) Sponsorship Program has as its
goal, the professional development of women engaged in basic science
at Hunter College. Recognizing that women scientists
typically have fewer resources and opportunities than do men, the
Sponsorship Program is open to Hunter College women scientists of any
age and at any point in their career. Each GEP associate receives the
benefits of working with a sponsor who is a senior and successful
member in the associate's field. GEP associates commit themselves via
contract to a set of goals and activities, including but not limited
to submission of grant proposals and journal articles, attendance at
colloquia and workshops, and development of skills. Each associate
receives modest amounts of research funds.
GEP sponsors serve as intellectual sounding boards for the
associates, meet bi-weekly with them to review their progress,
discuss the intellectual content of their work, help set and modify
goal deadlines, help strategize about professional development, and
make specific and concrete proposals for the associates' next steps.
Sponsors sign a contract committing themselves to a set of activities
and receive modest compensation, to be used for research.
The colloquia and workshops cover a broad range of topics. They
are designed to provide a research-based framework for the particular
topics under discussion. The aim is to clarify what leads to success
in professional development, how institutions may differentially
foster development, and what social cognitive phenomena and
principles advantage men more than women.
Early evaluation findings report an increase in paper and grant
submissions from GEP cohorts. The associates in cohorts 1 and 2
submitted significantly more papers and grants (internal and
external) during their first year in the program than they did during
the year before entering the program. These results suggest
that attention to the professional development of junior faculty
captures significant returns with respect to research and