Special Issue of the ADVANCE Journal Call for Papers: Collaborations, Collisions, and Connections

Central Issue and Goal


Instructions for Authors

The ADVANCE Journal announces a call for a special issue in honor of the 20th anniversary of the National Science Foundation’s ADVANCE program. The goal of ADVANCE “is to increase the representation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers, thereby contributing to the development of a more diverse science and engineering workforce.”

The theme for the special issue is Collaborations, Collisions, and Connections. We are interested in the successes and failures of institutional transformation projects, the challenges and dilemmas of working across disciplines and social differences to transform academic STEM, and the scholarly research and personal narratives of institutional change projects.

Central issue and goal:

This 20th anniversary edition on institutional transformation in academic STEM fields aims to raise new questions and develop critical approaches to understanding the collaborative and sometimes collisional practices employed across disciplines and social difference. We seek innovative scholarship, broadly defined, from critical, theoretical, artistic, and/or empirical approaches that explores the successes, failures, and challenges of using the social and behavioral sciences, humanities, area studies, and theories, methods, and practices in institutional transformation interventions (the recruitment, retention, promotion, and advancement of women and other historically marginalized faculty in academic STEM fields).   Questions shaping this focus on the challenges and possibilities of multi-, inter-, and transdisciplinary work toward institutional transformation include, but are not limited to: What happens when we bring feminist, critical race, and queer approaches to bear on this work? How do theories of systems of oppression and intersectionality enrich our approaches to institutional transformation? What has been done well? What has not? What did we learn from this that might enrich our lives and our institutions going forward?


Achieving workplace equity, the goal of institutional transformation projects, is one example of a problem requiring solutions from many different epistemological, methodological and theoretical positions. In particular, institutional transformation necessitates an examination of higher education as an institution within intersecting systems of sexism, racism, classism, heterosexism, ableism, and ageism that reproduce and maintain hierarchies based on gender, race, sexual identity, and other forms of social difference. This special issue specifically seeks to examine collaborative processes from multiple viewpoints, with a focus on projects that require communication among researchers who differ in their epistemological, methodological and and/or theoretical orientations toward research and knowledge construction. After 20 years, the NSF-funded ADVANCE initiative provides one example of a laboratory and field site within which to examine best practices for institutional transformation.  However, papers focused around other collaborations, collisions, and connections within and across various epistemological, methodological and and/or theoretical stances that address equity in STEM fields are encouraged. Possible issues that inspire meaningful analysis and action may include:

  • What are the epistemological, methodological, and/or practical contributions from non-STEM disciplines to a program that focuses primarily on achieving equity in STEM fields? What are the challenges associated with these contributions? What are the needs and gaps? What are the best practices to address these challenges?
  • How does the structure of institutions, disciplines, and the academy drive and impede collaborations across disciplines? How can we enhance such collaboration to achieve equity?
  • How do issues of difference, power, and privilege within interlocking systems of oppression emerge and shape efforts toward institutional transformation?
  • How do institutional transformation projects understand and utilize intersectionality across disciplines? How have practitioners in STEM fields in particular adjusted to these analytic tools?
  • What strategies can raise the profile of non-STEM disciplines and their role in projects for institutional transformation?
  • What are the different experiences of personnel in STEM compared to non-STEM fields, who have led and supported institutional transformation processes? What motivates non-STEM faculty to contribute and what impedes their participation? What are the personal costs and benefits?
  • What collaborative practices are involved in order to maintain programs and initiatives after grant funding for institutional transformation projects ends?
  • How do we create space for truth-telling about the struggles, difficulties, and failures of collaborative efforts toward institutional transformation? What are the low points? What didn’t work? What happened when things fell apart? What were the struggles to work across disciplines and across differences of gender, race, sexuality, ability, age and rank and position in the university?
  • How do specifically feminist, queer, and critical race perspectives inform institutional transformation projects?
  • What are the roles and responsibilities of administrators and faculty during and after transformation projects?  In what sense are they complementary and when do they compete in terms of objectives and goals sought?
  • What is the impact upon the careers of women in STEM who are heavily involved in institutional transformation?  Is it positive, negative, or does it open of other options?
  • What is and should be the role of men STEM faculty and administrators in ADVANCE and/or other institutional transformation projects during and after the grant funding ends?
  • What is and should be the relationship between ADVANCE and the new Sea Change initiative that is modeled on Athena SWAN?
  • What have we learned about how institutional transformation happens across 20 years?

We also encourage submissions that focus on personal narrative reflections on the experiences of engaging in ADVANCE work. Reflective questions to consider in these pieces include:

  • What was the highlight of your ADVANCE work?
  • What was the lowest point?
  • What changed as a result of these events?
  • What do you see when you look back at your ADVANCE work? What made that event spring to mind?
  • Tell us more.
  • For an example of these kinds of personal narratives, please see the ADVANCE Journal’s COVID-19 Special Issue at https://www.advancejournal.org/section/2102-volume-2-issue-2.

    Instructions for authors:

    The ADVANCE Journal invites submissions from a variety of perspectives that reflect the journal’s mission to create a forum for conversations about institutional transformation.

    Each submission should be original and not under review elsewhere. We welcome the following:

    • Scholarly research articles (empirical, theoretical, and/or conceptual) 
    • Program evaluation and/or assessment reports
    • Critical review of literature and resources
    • Creative works, such as visual art, poetry, photography, or original short theatre scripts, used in institutional transformation projects with explanatory text
    • Historical approaches pertinent to building a diverse and inclusive academy
    • Reflective personal narratives about participation in institutional transformation
    • Letters to the editor/Article responses from readers
    • Other suggestions are welcome

    All manuscripts should speak to structural and institutional transformation, specifically addressing the intersections of gender and STEM fields with other forms of social difference. Manuscripts may or may not be the product of ADVANCE projects, but they must address the outcomes of ADVANCE (institutional transformation toward the representation and advancement of women in academic STEM careers; the development of innovative and sustainable ways to promote gender equity in the STEM academic workforce; and contributions to the research knowledge base about the intersections of gender and other social identities within STEM academic careers). When submitting, please indicate that your manuscript is to be considered for the Collaborations, Collisions, and Connections Special Issue in your cover letter.

    Deadline for submissions: Priority deadline is March 31, 2021. We will review and consider submissions for the special issue following the priority deadline as space allows and for subsequent issues of the ADVANCE Journal.

    To submit: https://www.advancejournal.org/for-authors

    Guest editors: Dr. Kasi Jackson, West Virginia University, and Dr. Kelly Mack, American Association of Colleges and Universities

    Editors: Dr. Susan M. Shaw and Dr. Janet Lee, Oregon State University

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