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Women Scholars Initiative at the Medical University of South Carolina


In 2004, a small group of women faculty together with the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost established the Women Scholars Initiative (WSI). The charter committee consisted of six women faculty with the goal of providing support and resources for advancing women faculty across all missions and colleges of MUSC. Over the past 11 years the program has grown to a 20-member volunteer steering committee directing 11 different programs/initiatives supporting the advancement, recruitment and retention of women faculty.

WSI’s programs include workshops addressing multiple topics such as leadership and negotiation skills, a mentoring program, a two-day career development program, round table discussions, presentations by eminent scholars, and stipends to foster mentoring from external experts in the recipient’s field. WSI also provides unconscious bias training to search committees and appointment, tenure, and promotion committees. In 2013, MUSC was awarded an NSF ADVANCE-PAID grant that established a Center for the Advancement, Recruitment, and Retention of Women in Sciences (ARROWS) in the College of Medicine. This award supports and extends the efforts of WSI with an emphasis on advancing the careers of women scientists.

WSI collects institution-wide data on the status of women related to faculty rank, tenure, and leadership positions and has become a respected resource and a leading example across MUSC. The unconscious bias training of search committees and promotion/tenure committees has been requested by department chairs and is being expanded to include training of all faculty members. WSI also is partnering with leadership to facilitate the implementation of an enterprise- wide Diversity and Inclusion Plan.

WSI, in collaboration with other groups and leadership on campus, is focused on continuing to be a stimulus for improving the climate and increasing the support of women and under represented minority faculty.

For more information about WSI programs and initiatives, please visit their website at: or contact WSI Chair, Darlene Shaw, PhD or Vice-chair, Tamara Nowling, PhD, Medical University of South Carolina.