Rachel Niemer to direct Women in Science and Engineering

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Rachel Niemer, director of outreach and access in the Center for Academic Innovation, has been appointed the new managing director of the Women in Science and Engineering program.

Rachel Niemer

The appointment was effective Sept. 13. She replaces Cinda Sue Davis who retired from the university in December 2019.

“With Dr. Niemer’s strong background in leadership, depth of experience in pedagogy and learner engagement, and passion for inclusive student experiences in STEM, we are delighted that she has accepted this opportunity to lead WISE into the next phase of its leadership,” said Valeria Bertacco, vice provost for engaged learning.

As managing director, Niemer will lead all the activities, programming and strategic planning for WISE. She will be supported in her role by the faculty director and advised by the soon-to-be-formed faculty advisory board.

WISE works to increase the participation by women and gender minorities in academic programs and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and to foster their future success. In 1980, WISE started at U-M as one of the first university programs in the world for women in science, technology, engineering and math.

“For decades, University of Michigan has been a leader and innovator in supporting women and gender minorities in the sciences and engineering. I am thrilled to be a part of that rich community and history,” Niemer said. “I want to make sure all of our learners have the skills and support they need to thrive now while also working to create a more just and equitable university.”

Niemer joined U-M in 2011 as assistant director with the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching. While at CRLT, she led programs designed to support the work of faculty, postdoctoral trainees and graduate students in the classroom, with a focus on improving the student experience.

In 2015, Niemer joined the Center for Academic Innovation, where she had multiple positions of increasing leadership and responsibility. In her most recent role, she was the director of outreach and access, leading diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives within the center, while also overseeing the public engagement team and its work exploring new ways to engage with faculty and public education institutions as thought partners.

Niemer earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology and bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and women’s studies from Bowdoin College.

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