ASEE Awards Four Grants to Transform Promotion and Tenure in Engineering Education

Initiative will fund development of more equitable and transparent promotion and tenure processes.

Media Contact:
Eva Miller
Editorial Director

Washington, D.C. – September 25, 2023

The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) is excited to announce four awardees of a new program aimed at improving promotion and tenure processes for diverse women faculty. The program, titled ADVANCING KnowlEDGE (Engineering Deans’ Gender Equity) Initiative: Aligning Systems to Ensure Inclusion and Equity in Advancement of Diverse Women Engineering Faculty, will award $20,000 to teams of educators from engineering programs across the country. The funding, disbursed over two years, will support change teams in self-study, evaluation by a third-party site visit team, action plan development, and implementation. Eight change teams will be selected over the life of the grant.

By creating opportunities for selected engineering department teams to become better informed about, and supported in, the adoption of evidence-based diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategies, the KnowlEDGE Initiative will amplify awareness and adoption of equitable and inclusive practices and help broaden the talent pool dedicated to solving complex current and future STEM challenges.

Dr. Jacqueline El-Sayed, ASEE Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, noted, “ASEE was impressed by the applications submitted. We are very honored to be the catalyst for systemic change.”

The Awardees (Institutions and Principal Investigators):
  • Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey—Kimberly Cook-Chennault, Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Excellence for the School of Engineering, and Associate Professor
  • Penn State University—Catherine Berdanier, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
  • Iowa State University—Connie Hargrave, Associate Dean for Equity and Engagement
  • The University of Toledo—Mohamed Samir Hefzy, Professor and Graduate Director and Associate Chair, Department of Mechanical Engineering
The KnowlEDGE Initiative is based on work funded by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. HRD-2204520. The work is led by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) in partnership with the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), the Women in Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN), and the American Physical Society’s (APS’s) Committee on the Status of Women in Physics. For more information, visit or contact the ASEE project team at

About ASEE
Founded in 1893 and celebrating its 130th anniversary this year, the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) is a nonprofit organization committed to furthering education in engineering and engineering technology. The global Society spans all disciplines of engineering education and includes individual, institutional, and corporate members. ASEE’s vision is excellent and broadly accessible education empowering students and engineering professionals to create a better world.