November 22, 2016

A major grant from the Henry Luce Foundation’s Clare Boothe Luce Program will provide funding for a new female professor of mechanical engineering specializing in assistive technology at University of Detroit Mercy’s College of Engineering & Science.

The Clare Boothe Luce Program is dedicated to increasing the participation of women in the sciences and engineering at every level of higher education and serves as a catalyst for colleges and universities in their own efforts toward this goal. The five-year, $476,000 grant will help the University attract and fund a tenure-track assistant or associate professor position to be filled by a female candidate. She will be the only current Clare Boothe Luce Professor at any college or university in Michigan.

“This Clare Boothe Luce award serves the dual purpose of advancing University of Detroit Mercy’s and the nation’s strategic goal of increasing the representation of female faculty and students in the STEM fields, while simultaneously propelling our engineering program to the forefront of assistive technology,” said Detroit Mercy President Antoine M. Garibaldi.

“This grant is fundamentally important for bringing in role models for young women,” said Gary Kuleck, dean of the College of Engineering & Science. “I have made it one of the College’s highest priorities to increase the representation of women in physical and computer science and engineering, and the Clare Boothe Luce Professor will have an immediate impact.”

The significance of female academic role models in female students’ choice of career path has been clearly documented, Kuleck said. He said the new position will help foster an academic climate that nurtures female professors and students in the physical sciences and engineering.

This professorship will be the first hire at Detroit Mercy dedicated specifically to the assistive technologies program, in which adaptive and rehabilitative devices are designed for people with disabilities. This eight-year-old program collaborates closely with Detroit Mercy’s College of Health Professions and the College of Engineering & Science, and is looking to a potential future collaboration with the School of Law. It also draws on a close partnership with the VA Hospital and local disability organizations.

The search process is under way and the Clare Boothe Luce Professor is expected to be in place by the 2017-18 school year.

The Clare Boothe Luce Program of the Henry Luce Foundation is the single largest private source of funding for women in science and engineering. In its first 25 years, the program has awarded grants totaling more than $150 million.