Seed Grants of Change: Building Thriving Networks among Female Geotechnical Faculty Members

Shobha K. Bhatia, Cameron R. Cumberland, Patricia Gallagher, Adda Athanasopoulos-Zekkos, Sucheta Soundarajan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The Geotechnical Women Faculty (GTWF) project has aimed since its inception in 2016 to promote gender parity among faculty within the subfield of geotechnical engineering and to increase the quality and number of connections among current faculty. This paper is a case study of one element of the GTWF project that offered seed grants to gender-diverse faculty groups to foster networking, collaborative, and mentoring relationships. Seed grants were evaluated through participants' final reports and interviews conducted by GTWF project researchers. Content analysis was performed on the interview data using two different coding methods, manual and quantitative descriptive analysis (QDA) Miner, which were used together to identify key themes. The effectiveness of this project's seed grants were judged through qualitative assessment, a novel approach among the existing literature on seed grant programs. The study's findings demonstrate the effectiveness of small grant funding in promoting collaboration and mentoring among junior faculty and leading to greater reported levels of confidence and self-efficacy. Seed grant recipients experienced financial success, with approximately 50% of seed grant projects obtaining additional grant funding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04021011
JournalJournal of Civil Engineering Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Industrial relations
  • Strategy and Management


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