Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering

421 Davis Hall

University of California, Berkeley


E-mail: [email protected]

National Science Foundation (NSF): Collaborative Research — Connecting Women Faculty in Geotechnical Engineering: Thriving in a Networked World. PI Adda Athanasopoulos-Zekkos. 2016.

Collaboration often results in greater productivity and innovation than when working alone. Given the increasing complexity of the problems Geotechnical Engineers address and the increasing connectivity in the world, faculty need to be able to manage their professional connections with greater efficiency and effectiveness.
The goal for this National Science Foundation (NSF) grant is to create an enduring network of colleagues, both women and men, for geotechnical women faculty that fosters career success and resilience. Ultimately, the grant aims to increase the number of women attracted to and retained in the field. This project applies social network analysis and professional development activities to improve networking and collaboration among geotechnical engineering faculty, especially among women faculty, in order to bridge the isolation created by geographical distances, low representation, and connectivity gaps. Building on past efforts of NSF and others, the project will create a network that fosters active, ongoing connections and provides access to collaboration opportunities among geotechnical engineering faculty, both women and men, in the United States.
Networking improvements will be facilitated by developing a cohesive intellectual community that provides greater access to mentoring, novel information, new resources, and potential collaboration partners. The intervention consists of two face-to-face workshops and the enhancement of digital and other long distance networking practices. Between the network building workshop in April 2017 and the collaboration workshop in spring 2018, participants will have access to funds that will support partnerships and collaboration. Pre and post surveys will evaluate the social networks of geotechnical women faculty and their digital, long distance network preferences. Male colleagues will also be invited to take the surveys to understand their network and connection behaviors as well. The second workshop will be connected to an existing disciplinary conference and male colleagues who have submitted surveys will be invited to this event thus extending opportunities for women participants to collaborate with colleagues and practice network building strategies.
The project is led by geotechnical engineering faculty: Shobha Bhatia of Syracuse University, Adda Athanasopoulos-Zekkos of University of Michigan, and Patricia Gallagher of Drexel University with support from social network analyst and engineering faculty Sucheta Soundarajan of Syracuse University. Sharon Alestalo of Syracuse University will be the logistics and assessment expert.

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