Awards of $2,500 are made to support diversity and foster a culture of belonging and career satisfaction throughout the University of Miami. The nature of the awards are up to the investigator. These awards include professional skills workshops, mentoring programs, seminar series, networking, visits by experts, collaborations, leadership activities, and distinguished speakers, among other even more imaginative ideas.  Eligibility for submitting an application has recently been expanded.  Tenured/tenure-track, research  faculty and library faculty are eligible from all UM departments.  Postdoctoral researchers and graduate students may apply in partnership with faculty. For ideas (and as models for developing an application), see previously funded proposals.

Each year, SEEDS sponsors one or more Career Workshops.  A workshop may be designed for a large cross-UM audience or my target a more focused audience, and may be proposed by an individual, an interested group, or a SEEDS steering committee member.  Among other topics, past workshops have focused on leadership, negotiation, writing and grantsmanship.  Focused programs can be developed for a school or department, for example bringing in a grant-writing expert to coach faculty, bringing in a program manager from a granting agency (e.g., we have brought in program officers from NSF and NIH) or working with UM writing experts. 

These lectureships bring in prominent women and other underrepresented faculty thereby providing role      models and professional networking opportunities for all our faculty and students, men and women. Each distinguished lecturer leads a mentoring session as well.

Each year, SEEDS hosts a UM-wide networking event in which faculty network with UM leaders, learn about SEEDS programs (e.g., viewing posters of the all You choose awards that SEEDS has supported, which to date is 76) and take part in a SEEDS Interactive theatre performance.  Networking is an efficient and cost-effective community-building enterprise in which faculty experience near-immediate benefits.  SEEDS networking has two components: our large, UM-wide Networking event with the President once a year and local focus groups. 

Speed Mentoring is an easily-developed  one-hour program that provides an opportunity for multiple faculty and mentees to meet for intense interactions of five-eight minutes.  The mentoring session is often followed by a social event with food, for decompression, comparison and analysis.  SEEDS personnel are also happy to meet with units (at no cost) to discuss developing their own mentoring program. This program has a several components. Speed Mentoring fosters intense, one-on-one interactions with multiple faculty. The Sponsored Mentors program assures mentoring interactions with selected speakers. Mentoring interactions are also built into the Networking, andSEEDS Distinguished Lecturers programs.

Interactive theatre is a powerful training tool for examining academic climates, identifying challenges to career success and establishing practices that promote diversity and inclusiveness.  Based on field interviews with UM faculty and students as well as published research, SEEDS Interactive Theatre Ensemble develops sketches that dramatize the complexities of familiar academic situations.  With the guidance of a trained facilitator, audience members are enabled to reflect on presented materials and share their points of view and experiences with one another, as well as questioning and dialoguing with actors in character.  30-60 minutes are typically needed for a presentation and interactive conversation; longer programs could include a facilitated problem-solving session in which a community may further strategize its cultural transformation.

The SEEDS climate survey was designed to reveal how women and men scientists and engineers experience their working environments at UM.  Download the Executive Report which includes recommended actions for climate improvements at UM. 

Working from Within to Transform Departments

Within selected departments, resident faculty from the Steering Committee are armed with advocacy and financial support to work from within the home department, using a ‘transformational toolkit” composed of special initiatives customized to meet local concerns. For instance, in RSMAS, the Steering Committee representatives are working on an initiative to expand UM's child care. They have also funded a Women in Science panel of women from a diverse array of disciplines and backgrounds who shared their insights into the nuances that women face while pursuing a profession in marine science. The one panel discussion was followed by a casual catered lunch, allowing an opportunity for networking.

Best Practices

In the future, SEEDS will be working with the Provost, Deans and UM's Faculty Affairs office to examine the language used in UM policies and practices, to help assure clarity, transparency and uniformity.