Activities to Support Team Functioning

In document ISU ADVANCE Annual Report, Year 2: June 2008 (Page 32-34)

C. Program Management and Evaluation

C.2. Activities to Support Team Functioning

Whereas in Year 1, we devoted a significant portion of our time and energy to training our team and collaborators (Diversity Workshops, discussion of ADVANCE related literature, development of the “Elevator Speech,”) to educate and communicate with our STEM colleagues, in Year 2 we focused on refining our organizational structure (see section C.1 above) and conducting activities that supported smooth functioning of our ADVANCE team. These activities included jointly authored documents and several activities that allowed us to reflect on our contributions to the team and determine how we might improve the way that we work together.

• Prior to the retreat in June 2007, each ADVANCE Council member prepared an

individual evaluation of the activities s/he had conducted for ADVANCE during the previous year and ways that s/he might modify that role in the upcoming year. These statements were reviewed by the Steering Committee and discussed with individual

team members. At the June retreat, each team member reported to the group the reasons they had gotten involved in ADVANCE, the role(s) they had played in ADVANCE, as well as the other roles that they played at the university. This

provided the group with a better understanding of team members’ reasons for being committed to the ADVANCE project as well as their other obligations at the

university, which might help or hinder their ability to put time into ADVANCE efforts.

• During the fall of 2007, we enlisted the assistance of Dr. Michelle Clark, a consultant

who specializes in working with teams to improve their functional effectiveness. Because all of the ISU ADVANCE co-PIs have many other obligations and because this project is so ambitious, we have found that team members are frequently over- extended, which challenged our ability to work effectively as a team. Dr. Clark met several times with the Steering committee, individual team members, and then with the larger group for two sessions. She assisted us in developing ground rules for more effective group meetings and in understanding the different ways that team members communicate based upon personality styles, backgrounds and academic fields. Our goal was to develop, via consensus, better communication and decision- making ground rules. Dr. Clark provided a report summarizing the challenges we face and suggested approaches to dealing effectively with those challenges. This process has improved team functioning. As we reflect back on these challenges we are pleased with our progress, but the level of work has been consistently intense, which adds a level of stress to the complexity of multidisciplinary collaborations.

• Another way that we have worked to facilitate smooth functioning of our ADVANCE

Team is via the development of written guidelines for action. This past semester we have drafted “Scholarship, Research, and Authorship Guidelines,” which provide guidance on how decisions should be made for authorship of professional meeting presentations, posters, manuscripts, books, etc., and a list of procedures that should be taken if there are disagreements regarding authorship issues. We have gone through several renditions of these guidelines and are very close to adopting them. Other ADVANCE teams have been very interested in these guidelines, which serve as another way that we are developing skills for multidisciplinary work. Our hope is that by having clear expectations from the outset, we can prevent potential

misunderstandings about important dissemination products. C.3. Communication, Marketing, Publicity and Web site

We have disseminated information about the ISU ADVANCE Program through our Web site (, electronic e-alerts to a list of more than 200 faculty and partners at Iowa State University, our two-page descriptive handout (requested by NSF), and

posters. Articles and announcements about ADVANCE have appeared on the front page of

the ISU Web site, in the local Ames newspaper (Ames Tribune), the Iowa State University

student news paper (Iowa State Daily), and a weekly publication for faculty and staff (Inside

Iowa State). Announcements of our activities appear regularly in printed and electronic newsletters of our partner colleges. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) has a Web page for ADVANCE events of interest to CALS faculty and staff

(, and links to the ADVANCE Web site appear on the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and College of Engineering Web sites, as well as the Web sites of our focal departments.

Members of the ADVANCE Council also share access to our internal electronic resource (Web CT), so that working documents and materials developed by various individuals and committees are readily available. Our Web site is continuously evolving as new resources are added and new events are highlighted.

During Year 2, we worked with the design firm contracted by Iowa State University to strengthen our visual identity through the development of a suite of printed and electronic templates that we could use to disseminate our activities and findings. In November 2007 we received the new logo and design templates and in January 2008 we hired an

undergraduate student in graphic design, Britney Peterson, to use these new tools to strengthen our visual identity. All of our activities during spring 2008 have carried our new visual identity, which has allowed easy recognition of our program. Ms. Peterson has

produced several tools for our partners (co-PIs, ADVANCE Professors, Equity Advisors, etc) who produce materials and give presentations about ADVANCE. These tools include a Power Point template, Word document templates, and photos of women scientists on campus.

In document ISU ADVANCE Annual Report, Year 2: June 2008 (Page 32-34)