How to Train a Leader

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Science  12 Oct 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6104, pp. 172
DOI: 10.1126/science.338.6104.172-c

If we are to increase the number of women in science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine (STEMM), it is imperative to increase the number of women in STEMM leadership roles. Isacc et al. describe the impact of a 16-week course that focused on increasing women's leadership self-efficacy with the aim of making the students “bias literate.” In the course, students discussed how gender stereotypes influence behavior and were presented with evidence-based strategies designed to counteract their impact. Pre- and post-course surveys were evaluated from the first three cohorts along with follow-up queries of the first two cohorts, with quantitative analyses of differences between scores for all measures being significant. Increases in scores for leadership self-efficacy and personal mastery, coupled with a decrease in perceived constraints, suggested that the course prepared participants to engage in leadership. Analysis of journal entries showed that participants recognized their own implicit gender bias while citing research discussed in class. Also prevalent in journal entries were narratives indicating a new view on leadership—specifically, the realization that the participants themselves were capable of being successful leaders.

CBE Life Sci. Educ. 11, 307 (2012).

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