We request funding for a planning grant to explore the felt needs of women within the S&R community, and to plan a program to encourage and support more active female participation in S&R work, whether at the practitioner level (e.g., instructors doing faith-integration work required for teaching at faith-based institutions), or at a more scholarly research-based level of expertise in a specific area.
Phase 1 of the grant will investigate fundamental concerns as well as potential remediation strategies for women engaging in S&R work by analyzing data that will be collected through interviews, surveys and literature reviews. Phase 2 will use this data to plan a WISH Mentorship Program. The program will include interdisciplinary opportunities aimed at engaging and mentoring female scholars at various stages of their careers who are interested in exploring the S&R field using both humanities and sciences. The program will provide opportunities to explore data-driven questions about God, humanity, nature and technology considering interdisciplinary perspectives. The personal growth, practice and community fostered by being in the program will help women fully engage in S&R activities, impacting their own spheres of influence. The program will increase participation in important conversations in a way that more accurately reflects the diversity of our culture. Doing so will draw a greater cross-section of public attention to S&R work, and in turn build more trust in the scientific enterprise.
The ultimate impact of this work will be to achieve a more equitable gender balance within the S&R community, as well as in the scholarship it produces. Broader societal impacts of this project will include increased diversity of voices speaking into culturally relevant questions relating to science and faith; greater public engagement with such questions; improved public perception of the value of constructive dialog between science and faith; increased public scientific literacy.