An Adaptive and Evidence-Based Approach to Building and Retaining Gender Diversity within a University Forestry Education Program: A Case Study of SWIFT
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Journal of Forestry
Retaining women in forestry and other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields is a challenge. University education represents a critical point along the forestry pipeline in which women might leave the profession. Concerned with the low number of women graduating with bachelor's degrees in forestry from the University of Maine's School of Forest Resources, a group of faculty and students formed Supporting Women in Forestry Today (SWIFT) in 2016. An organization guided by literature on improving gender diversity in the workplace, SWIFT has taken an adaptive and evidence-based approach while hosting events throughout each academic year. Surveys indicate that SWIFT has been effective at helping participants increase awareness of gender-related issues, gain strategies, and develop connections. Although challenges still exist for women in forestry, this case study suggests that SWIFT is an effective model that could be used elsewhere to support the retention of women in the forestry profession.
Keywordsgender; retention; women; diversity; higher education
Crandall, Mindy S.; Costanza, Kara K.L.; Zukswert, Jenna M.; Kenefic, Laura S.; Leahy, Jessica E. 2020. An Adaptive and Evidence-Based Approach to Building and Retaining Gender Diversity within a University Forestry Education Program: A Case Study of SWIFT. Journal of Forestry. 118(2): 193-204. https://doi.org/10.1093/jofore/fvz072.