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5 Advancing Women Faculty T his chapter explores the challenges confronting female faculty who have successfully been hired into tenure-track positions and strat- egies for dealing with these challenges. Academics appointed to tenure-track positions have three major changes in status: (1) moving from tenure track to tenure; (2) moving from assistant professor to associ- ate professor (sometimes these first two changes occur at the same time); and (3) moving from associate professor to full professor. Traditionally, those on the tenure track who expect to be or are denied tenure often leave their universities for positions elsewhere. Moving from associate professor to full professor is not always a requirement of tenure. Some faculty remain associate professors. The next step is to make sure these faculty advance, receive tenure, and ultimately receive a promotion to full professor. There are fewer women in senior faculty ranks across all disci- plines (NRC, 2001). CHALLENGES Four challenges confront female faculty: (1) lower tenure and promo- tion rates, (2) longer time to promotion, (3) lower retention rates, and (4) lower job satisfaction. Taken together, these challenges diminish the prob- ability that female faculty will remain at a university, lower the efficiency and productivity of faculty, and make an academic career less satisfying. 86
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ADVANCING WOMEN FACULTY 87 Lower Tenure and Promotion Rates Studies have suggested that women are less likely than men to re- ceive tenure or a promotion. Nationally, for science and engineering (S&E) doctorates working in academia, the likelihood of tenure was lower for women (NRC, 2001). In a more recent analysis of national data collected by the National Science Foundation (NSF), women were several percent- age points less likely than men to be tenured and less likely to be pro- moted to senior ranks (NSF, 2004a). Other studies, focusing on specific fields, found that female academic biochemists were less likely to be pro- moted than male ones (Long et al., 1993), and women faculty in medicine were less likely than male faculty to attain the rank of full professor (Ash et al., 2004).1 Longer Time to Promotion According to one study, across all fields (S&E and non-S&E) except for engineering and mathematics/statistics, women must wait longer to attain tenure. Significant differences in which men were favored were found in the biological sciences and psychology and the social sciences. Interestingly, in engineering women were significantly more likely to re- ceive tenure first (Astin and Cress, 2003). Elsewhere, a study of physician faculty of U.S. medical schools found that women were "much less likely than men to have been promoted to associate professor or full professor rank after a median of 11 years of faculty service" (Tesch et al., 1995). Interviewees at the sites visited echoed these broader trends. A col- lege of engineering report at one university noted that women either left or were promoted at a slower rate than men. According to a dean of engineering at another school, women faculty are slower to be promoted than men, and retention is not as good. "They have yet to tenure a woman, and I'm getting ready to leave," said a chemist with good grants and teaching awards. A physicist observed that she was "the only tenured professor in the hard sciences." Another aspect of the situation was per- haps best summed up by a dean of the college of sciences who said that, despite changes, the academic community still has a traditional bias against young women who interrupt their careers to start a family. 1A new study of academics using the Survey of Doctoral Recipients from 1973-2001, suggests that there is no gender difference in the promotion to tenure or full professor in the sciences overall (Ginther and Kahn, 2006). This study differs from earlier studies in that it excludes the social sciences.
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88 TO RECRUIT AND ADVANCE WOMEN STUDENTS AND FACULTY Lower Retention Rates Data on female faculty retention rates are mixed. One study found that female faculty have higher attrition rates than male faculty both be- fore and after tenure (August and Waltman, 2004). On the other hand, "statements by college and university presidents, deans, and department heads that it is impossible to retain highly qualified female science and engineering faculty members in their institutions led to a study conducted at The Henry Luce Foundation. The unpublished data submitted by more than 180 colleges and universities reveal that the retention rates of faculty members hired into tenure-track positions in the physical sciences, math- ematics, and computer science over the past 15 years, are virtually identi- cal for women and men (73%)" (Rosser and Daniels, 2004:133). Lower Job Satisfaction There is some evidence that, in general, women are less satisfied in the academic workplace than men and are more likely to leave academia during the first seven years (Trower and Chait, 2002). A consequence of lower satisfaction may be unhappiness in the profession, which in turn may lead to lower productivity, lower retention rates, and a reduced pool of future academics. Indeed, one concern is that "unhappiness gets trans- mitted to younger women starting out and may help scare a new genera- tion away from academia" (Lawler, 1999). An important point is that women are more likely to perceive career impediments that have a gender component. In fact, one study based on a 1990 survey of selected full-time faculty at the School of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University (Fried et al., 1996) recorded a variety of negative perceptions for women. For example, 52 percent of women and 18 percent of men surveyed, agreed with the statement: "There are gender-based obstacles in my division to career success and satisfaction of women." Seventy five percent of women and 32 percent of men agreed with the following statement: "Men have difficulty taking careers of women fac- ulty seriously and accepting women as colleagues." Finally, 10 percent of women and 2 percent of men agreed with the statement: "I have been harassed sexually on the job." A larger study of faculty in academic medi- cine by Carr et al. (2000) reached similar conclusions (Table 5-1). These two studies suggest that female faculty are conscious of gender-based obstacles--to whatever extent they exist. UNDERLYING CAUSES OF CHALLENGES Several causes may underlie these four challenges: inadequate pro- tection of research time; fewer institutional resources devoted to women
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ADVANCING WOMEN FACULTY 89 TABLE 5-1 Perception and Experience of Discrimination and Harassment by Gender Adjusted Mean Adjusted Means Valueb Percent) ( (95% CD)c Women Men Percentage Problema (n=953) (n=1010) Points p value Respondents who perceived gender-specific bias in the academic environmentd 11 90 47 (43-52) <0.001 Respondents who personally experienced gender bias in professional advancemente 60 9 51 (48-55) <0.001 Respondents who personally experienced gender advantage in professional advancement 31 11 20 (16-23) <0.001 Respondents who personally experienced harassmentf 52 5 47 (44-50) <0.001 aEach question was scored on a scale of 1 to 5. Responses of 3, 4, or 5 were counted as positive. bAdjusted for medical school, specialty, ethnicity/race or minority, and years since first faculty appointment. cValue for women minus the value for men. d1 = no, never, 5 = yes, frequently e1 = no, 2 = not to my knowledge, 3 = possibly, 4 = probably, 5 = yes f1 = number 2 = yes. SOURCES: Carr et. al (2000). than to men; work-family conflicts; and an alienating departmental cul- ture. Inadequate Protection of Research Time All faculty must balance among three principal professional activi- ties: research, teaching, and service.2 Together, these activities form the experience on which faculty are judged in tenure and promotion deci- 2 More precisely, in its National Survey of Postsecondary Faculty (NSOPF), the Depart- ment of Education asks respondents to break down their work time by estimating the percentage of time spent on (and, separately, the percentage of time the respondent would prefer to spend on) teaching undergraduate students, teaching graduate students, research/ scholarship, professional growth, administration, service, and other work, including con- sulting, freelance work, and other non-teaching professional activities.
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90 TO RECRUIT AND ADVANCE WOMEN STUDENTS AND FACULTY sions. At major research universities, re- search is often given more weight than In the sciences, women have a more challenging set of the other two categories. Protecting re- expectations, especially search time, in an inverse relationship faculty early in their career. with rank, is critical for faculty: the more Certain milestones need to be junior faculty need the most research passed as a function of time. time--number of publica- tions and so on. And if a It is asserted in the literature that person misses one, it's not women face more alternative commit- positive. These are rules ments for their time than men. These made by the boys. It's a commitments--from both inside and challenge for women because outside the university setting--reduce of family responsibilities they may have. the amount of time women can spend on research, and thus lower their prob- --Dean, during site visit ability of advancing through the ranks of academia. Within the university set- ting, women accept or are assigned more service tasks or more demanding teaching duties. Women may be more likely to end up as mentors and advisers; they may be asked to serve on many committees to make the committees more diverse; and they may be less likely to say no (Fogg, 2003a). Outside the university, women have more parental duties that can cut into research time. Interviewees at one university noted that there was too much advis- ing and committee work, which take away time for research. The chair of an engineering department pointed out the fortitude of women needs to be higher than that of men, because the pressures are greater on women to serve on many committees and serve as mentors. Overall, interviewees suggested that the differential tendency for women faculty members to mentor, volunteer, and otherwise be a "good citizen" may hold women back academically. Fewer Institutional Resources A second cause of the challenges facing women is that female faculty may receive less institutional support and resources than male faculty. A 1999 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) study found that "in some departments, men and women faculty appeared to share equally in material resources and rewards, in others they did not. Inequitable distri- butions were found involving space, amount of nine-month salary paid from individual research grants, teaching assignments, awards and dis- tinctions, inclusion on important committees and assignments within the department." Although it is difficult to measure gender disparities in institutional resource allocation, one exception is salaries, because of the
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ADVANCING WOMEN FACULTY 91 many studies conducted comparing women's salaries to men's. In academia, women at comparable levels tend to receive lower salaries than men (Ginther, 2001, 2004; NRC, 2001). The salary gap has, however, di- minished over time, and academic salaries are affected by many factors, including demographic and employer characteristics and the academic activities of faculty. Again, these national trends were reflected in the experiences recounted by the interviewees. Work-Family Conflicts The conflict between managing family and work is often called the greatest problem facing female faculty. Women, who are frequently moth- ers and primary caregivers, face more pressures to balance professional activities and home life demands. An MIT study (1999) found that work and family pressures could be difficult to manage, particularly for the junior faculty: "Junior women faculty felt included and supported in their departments. Their most common concern was the extraordinary diffi- culty of combining family and work." Having children can place enormous pressures on female faculty. The evidence suggests that families tend to affect women negatively but men positively, as suggested by the results of one study by Mason and Goulden (2002): "In the sciences and engineering, among those working in academia, men who have early babies are strikingly more successful in earning tenure than women who have early babies." Similar findings appear in other research (NRC, 2001; NSF, 2004a). Evidence collected during the site visits supported these concerns. For example, at one university a female department chair said, "The single biggest obstacle against progressing in academia is simple, overwork." She also pointed out that some women, especially those who want chil- dren, leave "because it's simply not possible to have two full-time careers and kids." At another university one female faculty member reported a lack of sympathy for her child-care needs; meetings are often scheduled at times that either she or her husband has to take care of their child, and the expectation is that she will be the one to do that. Other faculty also re- ported child-care problems, such as being unable to attend meetings at times when child care is not available. Another described a general lack of consideration for parents, which he described as a problem nation-wide. An Alienating Departmental Culture A final cause of the challenges facing female faculty derives from historically male-oriented departmental and institutional norms and structures. A female-unfriendly work environment can produce female
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92 TO RECRUIT AND ADVANCE WOMEN STUDENTS AND FACULTY isolation or marginalization, which undermines the efforts of female fac- ulty to obtain tenure or a promotion, and the possibility that different criteria are used to judge male and female faculty in tenure and promo- tion cases. An extreme product of this culture can be harassment of female fac- ulty. Harassment, including sexual harassment, occurs on university cam- puses to students, faculty, and staff. It is more likely to be directed at women. In a 1990 faculty survey conducted at the School of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University, 10 percent of the women surveyed indicated they had been sexually harassed on the job (Fried et al., 1996). Indeed, each year is likely to bring new media reports of harassment lawsuits involving universities and university personnel (Fogg, 2004; Wilson, 2004a). Yet some harassment may go unreported. Regardless of whether harassment is occurring on a campus, if several students or faculty mem- bers perceive it to be happening, then it is a challenge to women's reten- tion and advancement. Perhaps less obvious than harassment but no less important is the marginalization of women faculty on campuses. Not only should univer- sities have sufficient percentages of women faculty, but they also should participate in the life of their field and in the university. The themes of marginalization (being excluded from positions or organizations of power) and isolation (being excluded from the scientific community) were raised in the context of the MIT report (1999), where "a common finding for most senior women faculty was that the women were `invisible,' ex- cluded from a voice in their departments and from positions of any real power. This `marginalization' had occurred as the women progressed through their careers at MIT, making their jobs increasingly difficult and less satisfying." Once the issue of isolation is raised, many women at higher education institutions acknowledge that it is a problem: Isolation is widely recognized as a problem for women in academic sci- ence, carrying with it a variety of negative consequences including stig- ma, depletion of self-confidence, and exclusion from access to informal sources of professional information. Informal networks are indispens- able to professional development, career advancement, and the scientif- ic process. Contiguity of helpful colleagues improves the conditions for scientific achievement; lack of sympathetic interaction lowers it. Isolated individuals not only lack social psychological support, but also the so- cial capital, which underlies success. (Etzkowitz et al., 1994:52) Interviewees at three of the four institutions visited felt that women were isolated at those institutions. One female professor said that her department tended to "hire really good women because they are really good women--but they have no connection with the rest of the depart-
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ADVANCING WOMEN FACULTY 93 ment." The women were successful, but had no natural collaborators. Some male students at another institution visited did not want the reputa- tion of including women in their study groups. At a third university one faculty member said she had no female peers to talk to, because the two other female colleagues were senior to her.3 Yet another problem is different kinds of evaluations being applied to female and male faculty. This problem could manifest itself in two ways. First, if female faculty face harder criteria from external reviewers for publications or grants, then their productivity might be lower, which would in turn translate into a more difficult tenure or promotion review. Second, if internal reviewers such as tenure and promotion committees review women using criteria different from those used for men, women may find it more difficult than men to advance in their careers. Persell (1983) found evidence that the quality of work had different effects on the careers of men than those of women. Quantity of work also had different effects: quantity counted less for men, who produced more publications, than for women, who produced fewer publications. However, Steinpreis et al. (1999) found that both men and women evaluated the curriculum vitae of tenure candidates equally--that is, they were equally likely to award tenure to male and female candidates, whom they rated similarly for teaching, research, and service. BOX 5-1 Summary of Challenges Women faculty have lower rates of tenure and promotion. Women faculty must wait longer to receive a promotion. Women faculty have lower rates of retention. Women faculty have lower job satisfaction. 3The danger for a department with few women is that if women faculty prefer a depart- ment with more women, they may leave for such departments. The department of chemis- try at Rutgers University has admitted encouraging women to come to Rutgers for this reason (McGinn, 2005).
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94 TO RECRUIT AND ADVANCE WOMEN STUDENTS AND FACULTY STRATEGIES As noted earlier, at the universities visited the percentage of women faculty recruited has increased, indicating the success of the programs and changes that these institutions have put into place. Most of the pro- grams involved efforts to increase the percentage of women in applicant pools or to improve the climate for women faculty on campus. Many of these programs, such as child care, potentially benefit all faculty. BOX 5-2 Strategies for Advancing Women Faculty Have the institution and departments signal the importance of women. Create and reinforce female-friendly policies. Strengthen mentoring. Engage women faculty more fully in the institution. Signaling the Importance of Women At the institutions visited, top administrators very publicly supported the goal of advancing women and acted on their statements. Interviewees at one university felt that the dean and provost were critical to increasing women faculty participation at the top, because they can influence new hiring and provide funding. General approaches are implemented by an institution, but often the impetus for the change originated with an indi- vidual, usually one with the power at the institution to lead, set, and enforce policy. As noted earlier, interviewees attributed recent progress at one uni- versity to many different forces and individuals over the past two de- cades, but also to the fact that the current provost was determined to hire more women. It was the provost who oversaw the first gender equity pay exercise in the early 1990s and a follow-up study toward the end of the 1990s. Department chairs play a critical role in a faculty member's career. For women faculty, especially when a woman is the first woman in that department or school, the demand for committee service can be very high, especially at those institutions seeking to increase women faculty. In such situations the chair can play an important role in shielding junior faculty from excessive requests. Because the chair also determines teach- ing assignments, he or she can work to ensure that no one faculty member has to shoulder an undue burden in both teaching load and rotation.
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ADVANCING WOMEN FACULTY 95 Teaching load encompasses the number of courses taught, the number of course It's the chairs and the deans preparations (i.e., the number of differ- who set the climate. ent courses taught), and course level --Faculty member, (e.g., undergraduate versus graduate). during site visit For example, a young faculty member who is asked to teach substantively dif- ferent courses every year will likely spend more time on course development than faculty members given the same or similar courses to teach regularly. Creating and Reinforcing Policies and Practices Institutions can adopt various policies and practices to enhance or ease the advancement of female faculty. Extending the tenure clock, a popular policy described in detail in Chapter 5, is only one part of the solution, however. Recent studies have found that female faculty are hesi- tant to make use of such a policy, because many women fear that taking an extension will hurt their career--an effect not conclusively documented (Bhattacharjee, 2004). Universities must therefore identify ways to both encourage this practice when appropriate and take steps to ensure that faculty are not punished for taking advantage of the policy. An initial step is to make tenure policies more transparent to all faculty. Other policies and practices that help to retain and advance women faculty are the following: · Reinforcing parental leave policies and child care. One institution formed a task force on child care. Some of the initiatives were (1) continu- ing exploration of the relationship between employment conditions for child-care workers, university or union-based support for campus child care, and parent tuition payments; (2) expanding care for low-income parents; and (3) expanding infant, sick child, and extended hours care. At the time the university had seven child-care centers on campus. · Reinforcing sexual harassment sensitivity programs. Support of sexual harassment policies should be reinforced regularly and widely publicized. Some institutions provide an ombudsperson to channel cases of sexual harassment. · Limiting service among junior faculty. The school of engineering at one university attempted to improve retention by changing the notion that all assistant professors are alike and follow the same track. "We need personalization," said an associate dean. "People find their success on a personal, individual track." One department made a conscious effort to shield junior faculty from administrative duties during their early years
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96 TO RECRUIT AND ADVANCE WOMEN STUDENTS AND FACULTY to help avoid burnout. The president of another university announced that one woman was granted tenure primarily because of her role as a mentor and teacher. This represents an alternative approach: if time for research cannot be increased, the weight of teaching and service can be increased instead. · Undertaking periodic reviews and adjustments of salaries. One univer- sity undertook a gender pay equity exercise a decade after its first. In all, over a third of those reviewed received a gender pay equity adjustment. Many other universities conduct salary equity reviews, using different models to determine whether male and female employees working in similar jobs are receiving similar pay. The strategy thus has two parts: conducting a self-assessment and, when inequity is revealed, raising sala- ries appropriately. The process should be repeated periodically. · Changing day-to-day policies. Some policies involving day-to-day activities can be easily altered to make working conditions much better. One example is changing the time of standing meetings, so that faculty with family responsibilities (often women) are more easily able to partici- pate (Fried et al., 1996). · Allowing modified duties. Sullivan et al. (2004) notes that some uni- versities have mechanisms to temporarily reduce a faculty member's du- ties--teaching, research, or service--without a reduction in pay. "Teach- ing demands often make it difficult for faculty to use traditional sick or disability leave; modified duties policies provide an alternative type of leave that allows them time to care for newborns, newly adopted or fos- tered children, or critically ill spouses, partners, or parents without com- pletely removing themselves from the campus for an extended period. For women faculty members recovering from childbirth, a modified du- ties policy can be seen as equivalent to the six to eight weeks of paid full- time sick or disability leave for childbirth that most universities offer to women in staff positions." Sullivan et al. (2004) conclude by noting that successful universities "(1) formalize their policies and make them entitlements; (2) continually edu- cate faculty and administrators about the policies; (3) address issues that discourage faculty from using work-family benefits; (4) use data to pro- mote programs that support balance between work and family; and (5) foster collaboration between champions of individual policies and rel- evant institutional committees." Strengthening Mentoring The institutions visited had the means in place to mentor young fac- ulty through tenure. Some of these efforts were informal--a senior faculty
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ADVANCING WOMEN FACULTY 97 member would provide advice and suggestions when asked by a junior faculty member. Other efforts were more formal--a guidance committee would track progress and support the junior faculty member through tenure. The committee approach, be- cause it has been formalized, may pro- vide more consistent guidance to all jun- ior faculty, and it is beneficial to both The key to success for wom- en is in putting a lot of the individual and the department. thought into the mentoring Mentoring should be provided by system. faculty other than those in oversight --Faculty member, positions, such as department chairs, to during site visit avoid awkward mentoring relation- ships. The chairs of larger departments also simply do not have time to mentor all new or young faculty. Mentoring only a few faculty members could be perceived as favoritism, leading to conflict within the department. Other faculty, however, play enormously important roles as mentors and role models, and in setting the climate. For many faculty, the department is the professional setting for an entire career, and colleagues are a critical component of that setting. Al- though fellow faculty can provide guidance and insight to successful ten- ure at that institution, many women faculty reported that being the only woman or one of few women in a department led to feelings of isolation. Related to that finding, one university's approach to mentoring began with a study commissioned by the chancellor in the 1980s that revealed that nontenured women faculty were voluntarily resigning from the uni- versity at a rate greater than that of their male counterparts. Many women cited feelings of isolation as a major reason for their departure. A program devoted to mentoring women faculty was adopted and expanded to in- clude additional resources and services for tenured women. In the fall of each year, all newly hired and newly tenured women were invited to participate in the program. Each nontenured woman was matched with a tenured woman outside her own department but in her field. Faculty valued the ability to discuss difficult issues with someone who was not part of the same department. The program, which complemented the traditional departmental adviser function, offered an annual orientation meeting, advisory committees meetings, a reception for mentors and mentees, and a brown bag series featuring discussions on teaching, bal- ancing personal and professional commitments, the spousal hire program, and many other topics. Many departments and colleges have their own mentoring programs for women faculty. Recently, one of the engineering colleges visited con- ducted a small survey of assistant professors about the college's mentoring
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98 TO RECRUIT AND ADVANCE WOMEN STUDENTS AND FACULTY program. Interviewees indicated that they were generally satisfied, al- though they said the quality of the mentoring was highly variable. Some were extremely satisfied, finding a close collegial relationship, outstand- ing collaboration or involvement, and active assistance in areas such as obtaining research funding or good graduate students. At least two were dissatisfied with the mentoring, citing mainly the poor advice they had received. Based on that survey, a college of engineering committee recom- mended a significant change: separation of the mentoring and evalua- tion/oversight functions. It also recommended that junior faculty mem- bers be allowed to choose their mentor or mentoring committee. Engaging Female Faculty More Fully in the Institution Institutions should take steps to ensure that female faculty feel as though they belong and are contributing to the institution. Some chairs might respond by simply putting female faculty on every committee possible. Serving on some committees, especially those that have some power over policy making is helpful, but membership in too many com- mittees overemphasizes service at the expense of research and teaching. Yet female faculty should be included in (or asked to lead) all the more informal activities in the department, such as brown bag lectures and colloquia. Faculty achievements should be rewarded with equal levels of recognition. CONCLUSION By most accounts, female faculty appear to advance along the aca- demic career pathway more slowly than males. Most studies suggest that women are less likely to receive tenure or a promotion and tend to spend more time in lower ranks. Partly as a result, female faculty are less satis- fied and more likely than their male counterparts to change jobs or move out of academia. The underlying causes behind these outcomes include working conditions that have more negative effects on women than on men and evaluations that appear, unintentionally or otherwise, to under- value women's efforts and accomplishments compared with male faculty. Admittedly, it is easier to change institutional policies and practices than it is to change the direction of decision making. However, many steps can be taken to ensure that working conditions affect the different kinds of faculty similarly. Indeed, additional oversight may guarantee that tenure and promotion committees treat all faculty fairly. Ultimately, however, each person participating in these processes must commit him- self or herself to administering equitable treatment.
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ADVANCING WOMEN FACULTY 99 BOX 5-3 Summary of Strategies for Advancing Women Faculty What faculty can do: · Treat women faculty respectfully as equal colleagues. · Be wary of unintentional thinking based on gender schemas. What department chairs can do: · Create an image of the department as female-friendly. · Where possible, modify existing departmental policies and practices--for example, selecting times for standing meetings--so that no type of faculty member is disproportionately affected. · Make departmental policies and practices transparent. · Assess the distribution of institutional resources such as lab space and re- search assistants for fairness. · Put women on important departmental committees and recommend female faculty for important school-wide or university-wide committees. · Develop mentoring programs for all faculty. · Identify ways to limit service requirements for junior faculty. What deans and provosts can do: · Communicate with department chairs about the importance of diversity. · Review policies on tenure clock, child care, leave, and spousal hiring. Pol- icies could be made transparent. · Conduct an assessment of diversity within departments. · Reinforce human resources programs on sexual and racial discrimination. · Evaluate recent departmental offers for fairness in allocation of resources and salary. · Offer incentives to departments that are more inclusive. What presidents can do: · Publicly state the institution's commitment to diversity and inclusiveness whenever possible. · Create an institutional structure, such as a standing committee, to address diversity issues within the faculty. Charge that committee with monitoring diversity across the institution and with making recommendations to increase diversity. · Demonstrate the institution's commitment by meeting with faculty and de- voting resources to programs that assist female students and faculty.
Representative terms from entire chapter: