About the project

The Willow AGEP Alliance: To advance Native American STEM Faculty (WILLOW) currently brings together two Alliance institutions - University of Montana and Salish Kootenai College. This collaborative research project now in its sixth year will: (a) adapt existing NSF-funded projects to create a new model for Native American faculty in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields (NAF-STEM); (b) implement the model; and (c) study the model as a possible evidence-based approach that seeks to transform access to the professoriate for NAF-STEM. WILLOW aims to increase the success of NAF-STEM in the Alliance institutions and advance knowledge about the issues impacting their career progression in STEM fields, while attempting to understand the NAF-STEM pathways to success.

WILLOW AGEP Alliance includes interconnected components focusing on retention and support for NAF-STEM via a mentoring program, a research publication and grant preparation program, and an institutional support program.  The development of a model to increase the success of NAF-STEM will provide more effective ways to strengthen their participation through professional development and systemic institutional change. This model will inform public post-secondary Institutions of higher education that are not tribally affiliated and Tribal Colleges, as they seek to be more inclusive of faculty that reflect the student and community practice populations they serve.  Institutions can develop strategies for addressing NAF-STEM barriers by understanding the factors attributed to persistence or career fatigue. WILLOW will decrease the occlusion of diverse perspectives (women, Indigenous people, and people of color) in academia by engaging NAF-STEM in research and mentoring processes, as a means of developing role models to students and faculty at the Alliance institutions.