The WATCH:US project seeks to increase and diversify the number of professional mathematicians in the United States by identifying and proliferating best practices and known mechanisms for increasing the success of women in mathematics graduate programs, particularly women from under-represented groups. This project is both exploratory research and effectiveness research. The project team first will explore the contextual factors that serve to support or inhibit female pursuit of mathematics doctorates by interviewing a variety of women who were undergraduate mathematics majors in the past, as well as current professional mathematicians.
They then will use this information to better understand the most effective features of various current and past initiatives (many with NSF support) that are trying to increase the participation of women in advanced mathematics. A key stakeholder meeting will develop a process for effective, collective decision-making, to utilize what the project team learns from the interviews. The leadership team will develop a website with discussion board and social media components to highlight “best practices” and facilitate a virtual community for women interested in mathematics. Finally, a distillation of program elements and their targeted effectiveness will inform the selection of interconnected activities to test on a scalable model. These prototypes will be implemented at several sites chosen to represent a diversity of constituencies and local support infrastructure.
MERC is conducting both program evaluation and social science research as an integral part of this project.
More information about the project can be found at: http://womendomath.org