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Leadership Development

Distinguished Speakers Series (2004-Present)

ADVANCE Distinguished Speakers give campus-wide talks on diversity in science. The purpose of this series is to continue campus conversations surrounding issues related to gender and racial diversity in STEM and to provide professional networking opportunities for our faculty and students. In addition to giving a formal presentation to the UMBC community, the speaker meets informally with the WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) group and STEM-based student groups to share best practices for career success.

Leadership Cohort Program (2004-2009)

Originally a pilot program for women's leadership development on campus, this program uses a cohort model and focuses on intentional career advancement. The first cohort convened in the fall of 2005 and was comprised of six women, including STEM faculty and mid-level administrators. Now, the Leadership Cohort Program is in its third year and is having an institutional impact that is systematically transforming the culture of the university.

Purpose of the Leadership Cohort Program
The purpose of the Leadership Cohort Program at UMBC is to:

  • Promote the Advancement of women STEM faculty to positions of leadership.
  • Provide funding for professional development opportunities for women STEM faculty that will assist them in developing the necessary skills needed to thrive in positions of leadership.
  • Disseminate knowledge gained from the sponsored development opportunity to other faculty at UMBC.

Program Benefits
The Leadership Cohort Program will use funds from the ADVANCE award to sponsor eligible applicants to attend a leadership workshop, program, conference, training, fellowship, etc. Activities that will receive priority consideration will focus on identifying and developing a variety of skills needed for leadership success, including but not limited to the following:

  • Professional (e.g., time management, project management, effective communication; problem solving, relationship building)
  • Academic (e.g., budget management, team building, human resources management, institutional values and integrity, mentoring, fostering innovation and change).
  • Scientific (e.g., building a scientific research center).

There is no deadline to apply for sponsorship. Applications will be considered as they are received. Please notify ADVANCE as soon as possible prior to the event deadline to allow for time to review and process your request in a timely manner.

If the deadline for registration has passed, but the activity has not begun, ADVANCE will contact the program sponsor to inquire about possible openings or cancellations.

Criteria of Eligibility
Those eligible to apply are tenured women Associate and Full Professors in STEM areas at UMBC. In addition, applicants must meet all requirements of the training opportunity and this opportunity must enhance or develop skills required for the applicant’s current responsibilities within the institution.

Application Process

In order to be considered for the, Leadership Cohort Program send an e-mail to ADVANCE ( Please include the following nine items in your message:

  1. Name
  2. Department
  3. Current Position
  4. Contact information (email & phone number)
  5. Workshop Title (include the web address of the description)
  6. Workshop dates
  7. Tuition/Registration Fee
  8. Registration Deadline
  9. Briefly explain why you want to attend the workshop and what you hope to learn.

The ADVANCE office will notify the applicant as soon as possible after the submission (generally within a week or two) as to whether ADVANCE can support the activity. Upon approval, ADVANCE will work with the applicant to complete the necessary paperwork, process and submit application/registration, and coordinate travel and accommodations.


The ADVANCE Program Working Group, a subcommittee of the ADVANCE Executive Committee, will review all applications. Others will be invited to review applications as needed. Funding for leadership activities will be based upon how closely the description of the selected workshop matches the program goals and will depend upon the availability of funds.

Reporting/Dissemination Sponsored professors must agree to disseminate conference information and materials by providing the ADVANCE Program with a copy of the event materials and a written summary of interesting information and relevant contacts. In addition, professors will present a summary of the opportunity at a WISE faculty meeting in the semester following the experience.

Contact Information Contact the ADVANCE Program at or call 410-455-8169 with any questions you may have about this program.

Leadership Cohort I
A small cohort (6) of interested STEM women faculty and/or mid- level administrators was identified and invited to participate in a leadership development initiative requiring biweekly participation in group activities (described below). The group was intentionally heterogeneous in terms of discipline and was drawn from women who showed an interest in leadership (a vice provost, dean, senior associate dean, assistant vice president, associate dean and department chair). Activities were created to allow significant input from the cohort participants to shape the experience and make it relevant and interesting to the cohort. The cohort was able to identify leaders with whom they wanted to meet and topics they wanted to discuss (thus providing ‘ownership’ of the activities). Notes were recorded throughout the project and several participants kept journals. The experience was evaluated by individual interviews at the end of the program.

Activities of the group included:

  • Biweekly meetings as a cohort to define goals, discuss literature, debrief on meetings with other leaders and consider strategies for advancement.
  • Work with a career coach with individual identification of career aspirations and planning for intentional career advancement. * Meetings with senior administrators to explore challenges, benefits and rewards of leadership.
  • Literature review on leadership, specifically leadership for women.
  • Evaluation of CV’s with feedback provided by a higher education professional search consultant.
  • Meetings with women presidents from various types of universities (met with Janet Holmgren from Mills College, Catherine Gira from Frostburg University and Shirley Tilghman from Princeton University) with visits planned to four additional University of Maryland System campuses in the summer of 2007.
  • Participation in two leadership retreats, one at the beginning of the project and a second at the end to plan, chronicle and reflect on the experience and provide feedback to the ADVANCE Program.

Although this was intended as a short-term pilot program, Leadership Cohort I has continued to work together to the present with regular meetings and activities. Their goal has been to continue to explore different models of leadership for women and to move toward achieving their own career goals.

Leadership Cohort II
In January 2007, a second leadership cohort was created to provide a new group of women with a similar experience as that of Leadership Cohort I. Leadership Cohort II is comprised of one full professor and five associate professors, including three department chairs. Two of the associate professors were promoted to full professor during academic year 2006-2007. Four of the women are from STEM departments and two are from non- STEM departments (Psychology and Philosophy).

The goal of Cohort II has been to explore different leadership styles with an emphasis on using leadership to change existing departmental climates as well as to explore leadership roles in scientific research centers. Cohort II activities have included most of the activities pursued by Cohort I, but with an emphasis on non-administrative leadership.

Activities of the group included:

  • Work with a career coach for career mapping – the group spent several meetings exploring career mapping as well as identifying individual leadership traits.
  • Interviews with several UMBC campus leaders.
  • Biweekly meetings to discuss barriers and strategies to overcome barriers for career advancement. Participation in ADVANCE Leadership Development Conference for STEM women.

Leadership Cohort III
In November 2008, a third leadership cohort convened providing yet another group of women with a unique leadership experience.

Leadership Cohort III is comprised of four associate professors and one assistant professor, all of whom have been recently tenured. All five women are from STEM departments (Chemistry and Biochemistry, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Statistics and Mechanical Engineering). The focus of Cohort III is on leadership development pertaining to academic advancement and skills training in order to effect departmental and institutional transformative change.

Activities are ongoing and have included the following:

  • Regular monthly meetings during which members discussed departmental and institutional barriers and opportunities, ideas for future activities and career advancement, specifically promotion to full professor.
  • "Behind closed doors" session with Dr. Maria Klawe, President of Harvey Mudd College, to discuss top-level university leadership and strategies for improving department climates for women in STEM.
  • "Becoming a Person of Influence" workshop with Jo Miller, CEO of Women’s Leadership Coaching, Inc., which taught members to use various methods of influence to assert themselves in their departments and the broader university community.
  • Private session with UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski during which he presented his case study on academic leadership developed for The Harvard Seminar for New Presidents.