WVU Advance

Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering

Leslie E. Tower

Professor of the School of Social Work and Department of Public Administration

leslie tower

“Part of my research, the ADVANCE grant, for instance, directly targets policy change. I am working to change institutional and state policy as well as to better implement federal policy as a strategy to help women succeed in academia. This may take the form of pay equity policies or work-life-balance benefits.”

Dr. Leslie E. Tower joined the WVU faculty in 2002. She has a dual appointment in the School of Social Work and Department of Public Administration. Dr. Tower has published research on women and work, adult learners, and violence against women.

Dr. Tower is a passionate advocate for policies that support women’s full participation in society. She created and moderates two parenting listserves for faculty, staff, and students; she created a Lactation Network and serves on various university level committees, including the WVU Parental Leave Task Force and Faculty Senate Welfare Committee. In recognition of this work, she was named the 2009-2010 Mary Catherine Buswell Award recipient. The Buswell award honors a faculty or staff member, or citizen who has provided outstanding service to women at WVU.


  • 2002 Certificate in Women’s Studies – Florida Atlantic University
  • 2001 PhD Social Work – Barry University
  • 2001 MSW – Barry University
  • 1995 MBA – University of Miami
  • 1995 Certificate in Health Administration – University of Miami
  • 1993 BS Social Work – University of Florida

Research Areas

  • Women & Work
  • Domestic Violence
  • Adult Learners

Courses Taught

  • Social Work Research Methods
  • Social Welfare Policy
  • Healthcare Systems (Public Administration)
  • Health Policy: Health, Women’s Health, Health Law & Ethics (Public Administration)

Faculty Insight

What is your role in the ADVANCE Grant?

I am a Co-PI on the ADVANCE grant and a member of the ADVANCE Workgroup of the Equity Leadership Team, which meets weekly. I am also is a member of the Internal Advisory Board, which she organizes meetings and the agenda. My primary role is to work to improve work-life balance policies at WVU, including a Parental Assignment Policy, Lactation Program, Dual Career Hiring, Same Sex Partner Benefits, and Sexual Harassment/Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Free Workplace Initiative. I serve as a liaison between the ADVANCE group and other faculty groups (e.g., Council for Women’s Concerns, Welfare Committee of the Faculty Senate). In collaboration with Dr. Nolan, I developed the faculty survey for the Department Level work and began the initial stages of the departmental level work.

Dr. Tower worked on institutionalizing the Parental Assignment Policy and the Lactation Program.

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Partial support for this work was provided by the National Science Foundation’s ADVANCE IT Program under Award HRD-1007978. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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