The Providing Opportunities for Women in Education Research consortium was developed to address inequities that people who identify as women or non-binary experience in educational research. We also work with our membership and broader research community in their efforts to address issues of social justice and systemic inequities. The most current iteration of blatant racism and violence, as those of the past, is deeply troublesome for us; we know that we cannot fully understand how it has impacted our membership and their communities. As an organization we unequivocally say that Black Lives Matter. We acknowledge and condemn white supremacy and racism. We recognize that centuries of systemic inequity and racism have a real and profound negative impact in the day to day lives of our colleagues of color, both professionally and personally. We acknowledge that now is the time to listen, engage, and take specific actions that combat systemic inequalities and racism in all of our organizational structures. Most of our research and scholarship engages young children and adolescents. These children and adolescents should not have to fear for their lives and those of their family and friends. We urge our membership to consider how they can use their expertise to take action in their own communities. We are committed to change in our own organizational structure and goals to ensure that we are supporting these efforts. We are committed to doing this through our own reading and learning, engagement and action in our own communities, and as always, we welcome feedback from all our members about how we can better serve both our membership and the broader educational research community.
We are here to connect, support, and advocate,
Emily Solari, President, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sara Hart, President Elect, email@example.com
Jill Pentimonti, incoming President Elect, firstname.lastname@example.org
On behalf of the Steering Committee.
Thanks to everyone who responded to our member survey!
The results of our survey provide us information about members’ perceptions of the resources/opportunities provided by POWER. We had 54 members respond to our survey, and a report of our findings is posted online HERE. We are using the information to guide our plans for the upcoming year.
Some key points:
The POWER Steering Committee is grateful for the opportunity to get to know many of you better and welcome your ongoing feedback about how best to serve you as we continue to move forward.
In February 2019, members of the POWER Steering Committee met with Sharon Vaugh, Ph.D. We had a thoughtful conversation about research, writing, and how to say “no” sometimes.
What is your advice for developing as a writer?
What are your tips for successful grant writing?
How do you envision a focused program of research?
How do you recommend young researchers find a more senior mentor?
Can you talk about work-life balance and how you’ve thought about that across your career?
How do you assess what opportunities to “yes” versus “no” to?
Many thanks to Sharon for sharing her advice and time with us; we are especially grateful for her honesty about managing anxieties and decision-making.
In February 2019, members of the POWER Steering Committee spoke with Stephanie Al Otaiba
Ph.D. We had an insightful conversation about making an impact as education researcher and
advice for women.
POWER: What is the best advice you have received during your career?
POWER: How do you make decisions about how to spend your time?
POWER: What do you think is particularly important for early- and mid-career women to know?
POWER: What advice do you have for faculty who are developing mentoring relationships as either the mentor or the mentee?
POWER: Is there anything that you wish you had done differently in your career? What would you do differently?
We are grateful that Stephanie spent her time and energy helping us think strategically about how to make an impact that fits our values.
In January 2019, the POWER Steering Committee met with Barbara Wasik, Ph.D. during a
meeting in Washington D.C. We had a lively conversation about mentoring, advice for education
research, and work-life balance.
POWER: Can you describe the mentoring you received during your career and how your mentors
● Early in my career, I was mentored and really protected by two senior women, who I
worked with. They supported me and provided me with advice about work load, salary
and taught me how to navigate our organization. These two women were key. They
always said “Make yourself marketable to the larger professional field not just your
immediate university community.” For example, they said your standards for your
academic performance should be based more on what the larger market dictates rather
than your particular institution at the time.
● They helped me understand when I should advocate for myself as a junior researcher.
These were issues ranged from having difficult conversation with senior researchers
about authorship decisions to asking for an office that was more than a tiny closet. It took
me weeks to work up the courage to have one of these conversations, but it was the right
thing to do. On the other hand, there were some tasks that they helped me understand
would make me a better researcher—like spending time in schools collecting data and
observing in classrooms. This was valuable advice that I still follow today.
POWER: What advice to you have on how to be a good mentor to female education researchers?
● First, you have to know the criteria on which they are being evaluated. Then, get to know
how they allocate their time. Find out what they enjoy and what makes them anxious.
You might find that more junior people spend more time doing things that don’t make
them anxious but these activities may not are not the best use of their time or in their best
interest as they work towards tenure and promotion. Also, I would suggest that they
examine the types of service that they are involved in and determine the cost/benefits of
the service. If it is very time consuming or not the best use of their time, I would suggest
that they look for other opportunities.
● An important area for helping mentees is with networking, such as helping them learn to
network at conferences and contacting people who do similar research as they do in order
to make professional connections. Sometimes this includes peer mentoring or writing
● As a mentor, also know you can only do so much. This profession requires a lot of self-
motivation and self-regulation, so the mentees have to do their part.
POWER: What advice do you have for negotiating through research career ladders?
● Regarding promotion and tenure, I would recommend that you get advice from not only
your department/college but also the university level on matters of tenure.
● I think my approach has been to speak openly about issues that arise in the professional
setting. If there are policies that you may object to or decisions that you may not agree
with, seek out more senior people for advice and try always to be fair and try and see the
other side’s perspective. My instinct has always been to talk about things when
something uncomfortable happened.
POWER: What advice do you have for someone considering promotion or tenure?
● As you approach promotion and tenure, there can be a lot of noise and uncertainty around
what criteria your institution values. I would suggest you pay attention to the college and
university-based guidelines and seek advice from colleagues who have recently gone
through the tenure and promotion process at your university. Another key aspect is to
demonstrate that you have developed an independent research trajectory.
● If your institution requires letter writers you do not collaborate with, start by searching
for researchers who have cited your work. Your letter writers need to be familiar with
your work in order to write a strong letter of support.
What advice do you have on grant writing?
● I think the most important thing is to find colleagues with similar interests with whom
you can write grants. One person writing a grant is a lot to do independently. It is helpful
to have a small group of colleagues (inside or outside your organization) who you can
effectively collaborate and who you trust.
● I try to always put in two grants a year because most of the time, they don’t get funded on
the first submission. It is a balancing act of making sure you don’t put in so many grants
that you don’t do anything well. Another important thing is to remember you don’t have
to be a Principal Investigator (PI) on everything; being a co-investigator also covers
allows you to play an important role in a grant funded project while you are PI on other
● It’s also important to consider funding for graduate students when writing your budget.
● There are some funding mechanisms I would not do again, such as grants that require
matching funds. It was a lot of work to find additional foundation funding for those sorts
How did you approach the balancing act of being a researcher and having a family or other
● In the beginning, I was really focused on doing a good job with my research, but I also
had two young kids. I was able to create a schedule during those years as a research
scientist where I could put my children first (attend my children’s events at school, be
home after school, etc.) and that was the right choice for my family and me. You know,
you are going to remember memories about your children more than that journal article.
● You have to decide how you will carve out your time for work versus your family or
other life priorities. Some institutions are better than others in supporting work-life
Many thanks to Barbara for sharing her time with this group and for her commitment to
mentoring many women in education research.
Welcome to POWER! Here are a few updates on our recent activities:
That’s it for now, but we’ll be in touch again soon about our plans for the future. As a preview of things to come, we have identified some outstanding senior women scholars in the field who will be serving as informal mentors of members of POWER. We are also developing some new resources and are planning our next in-person event.
The Steering Committee met in May 2018, wrote bylaws and voted in bylaws! We also voted in a new governance committee. POWER is on the move!
The POWER board got together for a one day meeting at AIR in DC to discuss membership. We have laid out the plan for three levels of membership in POWER, and will be sending out information in the coming months. We anticipate growing quickly, and we want to make sure we are ready!
The founding members of POWER met May 2-5, 2017 for their first meeting. Priority discussion items were sharing cutting-edge educational science for professional development, as well as creation of the mission statement, organizational structure, and goals of POWER.
The schedule of our first meeting is below: