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Advancing Metrics for Sexual Harassment Prevention in STEM

Female scientist researching at laptop and microscope in laboratory
Developing metrics to assess sexual harassment prevention, outreach, and response in STEM
  • Client
    National Science Foundation
  • Dates
    2021 - 2024


Efforts to prevent sexual harassment in STEM lack a comprehensive way to assess programs. 

Sexual harassment is prevalent in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and is an established barrier to success for women and minority faculty and graduate students (NASEM, 2018). A proliferation of sexual harassment prevention programs and procedures implemented across higher education has yielded findings about their efficacy that are difficult to assess because of inconsistent approaches. When assessments are conducted, they focus more on proximal changes—such as program attendee knowledge, attitudes, and skills—but overlook more objective and comprehensive measures of program effectiveness, such as rates of sexual harassment and employee turnover. 


NORC is developing a set of evaluation metrics for sexual harassment prevention programs. 

Funded by a National Science Foundation (NSF) ADVANCE grant, NORC at the University of Chicago will identify current institutional efforts to assess the efficacy of their sexual harassment prevention efforts within the STEM learning environments. Then we will develop a comprehensive set of metrics for evaluating sexual harassment prevention, outreach, and response effectiveness across socioecological levels and academic systems. The consistent use of a standardized set of program evaluation metrics will lead to the eventual identification and implementation of the most effective empirically supported programming.  

The project includes four main activities: 

  1. gather qualitative data from key university, STEM stakeholders, and Title IX officers about their goals and efforts for addressing sexual harassment in STEM 

  2. develop and administer a survey informed by the qualitative data collection that will assess the goals, approaches, and evaluation of sexual harassment programs across STEM degree institutions  

  3. convene senior officials in STEM graduate education, Title IX officers, STEM students, and researchers in this field to review and comment on a metrics matrix for evaluating sexual harassment program effectiveness in STEM institutions 

  4. finalize an expert-validated metrics matrix and disseminate it broadly to the STEM academic community  


The study is still in progress.

NORC will provide results upon its completion.

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