Press Release


May 14, 2015
Contact Information:
Missy Kline
Content Manager – Communications and Marketing

Montana State University Receives CUPA-HR’s Inclusion Cultivates Excellence Award

Montana State University has received the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) 2015 Inclusion Cultivates Excellence Award. This award recognizes and celebrates institutional initiatives and programs that have made a significant impact with respect to inclusive and equitable workplace practices, particularly those that have brought about cultural change throughout the organization. Thanks to the generous support of The Chronicle of Higher Education, CUPA-HR is pleased to offer a $6,000 contribution to Montana State University (MSU)’s endowment.

MSU received the award for its ADVANCE Project TRACS initiative, which aims to transform the university to be more equitable and inclusive and broaden the participation of women faculty in STEM and underrepresented areas of social and behavioral science (SBS). The ADVANCE Project TRACS initiative, which was made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation, has three objectives: 1) to transform the culture of MSU by implementing sustainable strategies, programs and policies that allow diverse faculty to flourish (namely by enhancing research capacity and opportunity, by enhancing work-life integration and by enhancing cultural attunement); 2) to foster psychological need support for women STEM/SBS faculty; and 3) to broaden the participation of women faculty in STEM/SBS by focusing on the recruitment, retention and advancement of women.

Thanks to the ADVANCE Project TRACS initiative, MSU has been able to implement several policies and programs in support of faculty (especially women faculty), including a sick leave donation pool, a dual career community placement liaison, a faculty partner accommodation program and a family care program. The initiative also paved the way for institution-wide unconscious bias training, search committee training, the creation of a search committee toolkit focused on broadening the candidate pool, and an equity advocate program.

The ADVANCE Project Tracs initiative has produced sold results thus far. Prior to its implementation, 13 of MSU’s 21 STEM/social science departments had fewer than three women faculty, and two departments had none. But in 2012-13, 50 percent of new hires in STEM/SBS were women. Currently women faculty account for 22.6 percent of the university’s STEM departments and 34 percent of SBS departments.

To read more about ADVANCE Project TRACS, visit


CUPA-HR is higher ed HR. We serve higher education by providing the knowledge, resources, advocacy and connections to achieve organizational and workforce excellence. Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, and serving more than 18,000 HR professionals and other campus leaders at more than 1,900 member organizations around the country and abroad, the association offers learning and professional development programs, higher education salary and benefits data, extensive online resources and just-in-time regulatory and legislative information.

CUPA-HR’s annual Higher Education Human Resource Awards honor excellence in higher education human resources and recognize service and commitment to CUPA-HR and innovation in the profession.