Ways to follow or get involved

  • Explore the gseSpace Needs Assessment findings and WSKC features.

gseSpace in the WSKC

Diane MattA message from Diane Matt, WEPAN Executive Director

"gseSpace gives the GSE community a common ground for communication and networking. I look forward to contributing to a community for advocates in gender in STEM." 

About the gseSpace Project

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Research on Gender in Science and Engineering (GSE) program funded WEPAN (Women in Engineering ProActive Network) to explore the potential of a targeted, online professional community for GSE stakeholders.

The core purpose of gseSpace is to extend the reach, impact and knowledge base of the gender in STEM community in support of the NSF goal to cultivate a broadly inclusive science and engineering workforce. The gseSpace needs assessment used four investigative methodologies over a 13-month timeframe to research knowledge, views, aptitude and desires regarding participation in a GSE professional community. Stakeholders showed a high level of interest and support for the gseSpace pilot professional community across all methodologies. View the Needs Assessment Summary and Needs Assessment Findings for more information.

The gseSpace pilot community has been deployed as a part of the Women in STEM Knowledge Center. Pilot capabilities include:

gseSpace Reports

The Stakeholder Survey showed that 73 percent of the 111 respondents see an online professional community benefiting the gender in STEM community. Seventy-two percent (72%) would participate in such a community. Eighty-nine percent (89%) who believe an online professional community would benefit the gender in STEM community also said they would participate to support the gender in STEM community. 
The Literature Review found that online professional communities are rapidly becoming an accepted channel for increased learning, collaboration and networking.  Behavior in existing communities of practice is influential in shaping today's online communities. Effective communities of practice have a narrow purpose, diverse membership, strong leadership, appropriate technology and an emphasis on participation. Knowledge-sharing theories such as social capital theory and the strength of weak ties theory also provide valuable insight and relevant examples for online community expectations related to participation.
Peer Community Research demonstrated that online professional communities with public and private areas are a valued component of a number of NSF programs. These communities have distinct personalities with characteristics determined more by management and communication than technology. Online professional communities become lasting stewards for program knowledge with member usage based on community norms and interests. Ongoing community spaces need adequate funding levels to ensure consistent, quality services over time. 
Stakeholder Interviews provided one-on-one insights revealing that stakeholders want gseSpace to respect people's learning styles and time, and to "meet people where they are" regarding technology. Technology is a means; communicating with people is the end goal.  People value both remote connections and face-to-face organized events and meetings.