Call for Papers: Special Issue of Gender & Society

Special Issue of Gender & Society: “Gender Transformations of Higher Education Institutions”

Guest Editor: Julia McQuillan (University of Nebraska)
Guest Deputy Editors: Sheryl Skaggs (University of Texas, Dallas) and Kevin Stainback (Purdue University)

In 2001, the National Science Foundation (NSF) started to fund “Institutional Transformation” grants as part of a program called “ADVANCE” in recognition that the underrepresentation of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields required changes in institutions and not just individuals. Since the ADVANCE program started, numerous gender scholars have brought a sociological gender lens to programs designed for institutional change in higher education. The goal of the NSF ADVANCE program was to recruit, retain, and promote more women in STEM fields. Research and publications on gender and STEM in organizations have burgeoned in the last two decades. Feminist and gender scholars often collaborate with multidisciplinary teams to report the results of their efforts, often publishing in interdisciplinary journals that focus more on outcomes than theories. Only a handful of articles use intersectional frameworks.

It is now time to assess what we know about the success and weaknesses of the attempts to transform higher education in feminist directions. We need to have theoretical explanations that help to predict success and failure at organizational attempts to bring women and people of color into STEM disciplines. We need to develop theories that integrate and guide understanding of the transformation of higher education institutions.

The aim of this special issue is to both compile empirical knowledge about strengths and weaknesses of different change methodologies, and generate theoretical insights to explain the outcomes of attempts at organizational change. Global analyses show that countries vary in how much STEM fields incorporate women. Government supported national efforts in the United States and Europe emphasize the need for more workers in STEM fields who will represent multiple constituencies. Therefore, gender scholars have an opportunity to review successes and failures of existing efforts, identify theoretical gaps, and provide next generation frameworks to create higher education institutions that reflect the populations that they serve.

Many scholars involved in institutional transformation efforts focus on one institution and prioritize evaluation over research. The special issue will be a forum for feminist scholars who are engaged in efforts to create greater gender equity in STEM fields and emphasize broader theoretical issues in their work such as the relationships between higher education and other institutions, including K-12 education, employers, parents, and the media. What does it mean to try to increase women in STEM fields when the gender categories are multiplying? If more women enter STEM fields, does that mean more men must enter non-STEM fields? Or should non-STEM fields shrink? Can research on ADVANCE projects inform theories and research on work organizations more generally? How does gender transformation of organizations coordinate with integrating people of color, people of all abilities and social class backgrounds? What conditions are necessary for an organization to claim “transformed” status? How much can institutions “push” gender integration in organizations with considerable employee input (i.e. faculty governance) and considerable hierarchy (i.e. faculty rank system)? For this special issue, we seek articles by scholars across the globe working to create gender transformation, who have had “successes” and “failures” and who are applying existing theories, plus recognizing the urgent need for new conceptualizations.

With the focus on “Gender Transformations of Higher Education Institutions”, we encourage submissions that include, but are not limited to leadership, intersectionality, power differentials, policies, organizations, social psychology, identities, sexuality, race/ethnicity, social movements, and comparative and international studies. All submissions should include some aspect of the strengths and weaknesses of recent attempts to transform institutions of higher education, what works, what does not work, and why.

All papers must make both a theoretical and empirical contribution to the study of gender.

Completed manuscripts, due February 1, 2019, should be submitted
online to and should specify in the cover letter that the paper is to be considered for the special issue.

For additional information, please contact any of the guest editors for this issue contact Special Issue Editor, Julia McQuillan at

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