Cover Image

HARDBACK
$48.95



View/Hide Left Panel

6
Key Findings and Recommendations

The surveys of academic departments and faculty have yielded interesting and sometimes surprising findings. For the most part, male and female faculty in science, engineering, and mathematics have enjoyed comparable opportunities within the university, and gender does not appear to have been a factor in a number of important career transitions and outcomes. Where these findings document real changes in university policies, such as the stop-the-tenure-clock policy for family care, this is good news. It suggests that universities can change long-established policies that might have prevented one group of scientists and engineers from advancing to permanent careers within the institution. It also opens the door to considering other established university policies that may hinder our country’s ability to profit from creativity of all trained scientists, both male and female. For example, one policy that might be opened for reexamination is the usual requirement that all assistant professor appointments be full time. Part-time appointments would allow both women and men the opportunity to better balance family and career over time. This chapter presents the key findings from each of the preceding chapters, followed by recommendations and questions for future research.

KEY FINDINGS

As a foundation for understanding the survey findings, it is important to remember that although women represent an increasing share of science, mathematics, and engineering faculty, they continue to be underrepresented in many of those disciplines. While the percentage of women among faculty in scientific and engineering overall increased significantly from 1995 through



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 153
6 Key Findings and Recommendations The surveys of academic departments and faculty have yielded interesting and sometimes surprising findings. For the most part, male and female faculty in science, engineering, and mathematics have enjoyed comparable opportuni- ties within the university, and gender does not appear to have been a factor in a number of important career transitions and outcomes. Where these findings document real changes in university policies, such as the stop-the-tenure-clock policy for family care, this is good news. It suggests that universities can change long-established policies that might have prevented one group of scientists and engineers from advancing to permanent careers within the institution. It also opens the door to considering other established university policies that may hinder our country’s ability to profit from creativity of all trained scientists, both male and female. For example, one policy that might be opened for reexamination is the usual requirement that all assistant professor appointments be full time. Part-time appointments would allow both women and men the opportunity to better balance family and career over time. This chapter presents the key findings from each of the preceding chapters, followed by recommendations and questions for future research. KEy FINDINGS As a foundation for understanding the survey findings, it is important to remember that although women represent an increasing share of science, mathematics, and engineering faculty, they continue to be underrepresented in many of those disciplines. While the percentage of women among faculty in scientific and engineering overall increased significantly from 1995 through 

OCR for page 153
 GENDER DIFFERENCES IN FACULTy CAREERS 2003, the degree of representation varied substantially by discipline, and there remained disciplines where the percentage of women was significantly lower than the percentage of men. Table 6-1 shows the percentage of female faculty in selected scientific and engineering disciplines during this time period at the assistant, associate, and full professor levels. In 2003, women comprised 20 percent of the full-time employed science and engineering (S&E) workforce and had slowly gained ground compared to men in the full-time academic workforce; by 2003, they represented about 25 percent of academics. Women’s representation in the academic workforce, of course, varied by discipline: in the health sciences, women were the majority of full- time, employed doctorates, while in engineering they were less than 10 percent. The greatest concentration of women among full-time academics was at medical schools; the lowest was at Research II institutions. Chapter 3—Academic Hiring The findings on academic hiring suggest that many women fared well in the hiring process at Research I institutions, which contradicts some commonly held perceptions of research-intensive universities. If women applied for positions at RI institutions, they had a better chance of being interviewed and receiving offers than had male job candidates. Many departments at Research I institutions, both public and private, have made an effort to increase the numbers and percentage of female faculty in the sciences, engineering, and mathematics. Having women play a visible role in the hiring process, for example, has clearly made a differ- ence. Unfortunately, women continue to be underrepresented in the applicant pool, relative to their representation among the pool of recent Ph.D.s. Institutions may not have effective recruitment plans, as departmental efforts targeted at women were not strong predictors in these surveys of an increased percentage of female applicants. Applications Finding 3-1: Women accounted for about 17 percent of applications for both tenure-track and tenured positions in the departments surveyed. There was wide variation by field and by department in the number and percentage of female applicants for faculty positions. In general, the higher the percentage of women in the Ph.D. pool, the higher the percentage of women applying for each position in that field, although the fields with lower percentages of women in the Ph.D. pool had a higher propensity for those women to apply (see Table 6-2). The percentage of applicant pools that included at least one woman was substantially higher than would be expected by chance. However, there were no female applicants (only men applied) for 32 (6 percent) of the available tenure-track positions and 16 (16.5 percent) of the tenured positions.

OCR for page 153
TABLE 6-1 Representation of Women in Faculty Positions at Research I Institutions by Rank and Field (percent), 1995-2003 Assistant Professor Associate Professor Full Professor 1995 1997 1999 2001 2003 1995 1997 1999 2001 2003 1995 1997 1999 2001 2003 Agriculture 17.8 18.6 19.6 18.1 27.2 12.7 12.5 10.7 17.6 13.9 4.9 5.2 6.1 6.6 8.0 Biology 35.6 38.2 36.0 37.0 38.8 26.0 24.3 26.3 30.2 31.2 14.0 14.7 15.8 18.0 20.8 Engineering 14.2 12.7 12.8 14.8 16.6 4.8 6.4 9.6 9.3 11.7 1.8 1.4 2.3 2.7 3.8 Health sciences 69.1 66.9 64.0 64.7 66.5 65.6 65.1 64.9 64.5 59.1 35.1 38.9 45.3 48.0 59.0 Mathematics 18.7 22.0 26.5 25.2 26.6 10.4 14.4 14.9 15.8 16.3 7.6 5.9 9.9 10.0 9.7 Physics 25.1 25.6 24.6 25.4 24.1 9.5 13.4 14.8 16.7 19.5 4.3 4.6 5.9 6.8 7.6 SOURCE: National Science Foundation, Survey of Doctorate Recipients, 1995-2003. Tabulated by the National Research Council. 

OCR for page 153
 GENDER DIFFERENCES IN FACULTy CAREERS TABLE 6-2 Transitions from Ph.D. to Tenure-Track Positions by Field at the Research I Institutions Surveyed (percent) Doctoral Pool Pools for Tenure-Track Positions Mean Percent of Percent Women Mean Percent of Applicants Invited Mean Percent Ph.D.s Applicants Who to Interview of Offers that (1999-2003) Are Women Who Are Women Go to Women Biology 45 26 28 34 Chemistry 32 18 25 29 Civil engineering 18 16 30 32 Electrical 12 11 19 32 engineering Mathematics 25 20 28 32 Physics 14 12 19 20 SOURCE: Survey of departments carried out by the Committee on Gender Differences in Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty; Ph.D. data is from the NSF, WebCASPAR. Finding 3-3: In each of the six disciplines, the percentage of applications from women for tenure-track positions was lower than the percentage of Ph.D.s awarded to women. Table 6-2 shows the percentage of women in the pool at each of several key transition points in academic careers: award of Ph.D., application for position, interview, and job offer. In each discipline, the percentage of applications from women was lower than the percentage of doctoral degrees awarded to women. This was particularly the case in chemistry and biology, the two disciplines in the study with the highest percentage of female Ph.D.s. The mean percentage of female applicants for tenure-track positions in chemistry was 18 percent, but women earned 32 percent of the Ph.D.s in chemistry from Research I institutions from 1999-2003. Biology (24 percent in the tenure-track pool and 45 percent in the doctoral pool) also showed a significant difference. Electrical engineering (10 percent in the tenure-track pool and 12 percent in the doctoral pool), mathematics, and physics had modest decreases in the applicant pool. Recruitment Finding 3-7: Most of the institutional and departmental strategies that were proposed for increasing the proportion of women in the applicant pool were not strong predictors of the percentage of women applying. Most steps (such as targeted advertising and recruiting at conferences) were done in isolation, with almost two-thirds of the departments in our sample reporting that they took either no steps or only one step to increase the gender diversity of the applicant pool.

OCR for page 153
 KEy FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Finding 3-8: The percentage of women on the search committee and whether a woman chaired the committee were both significantly and positively asso- ciated with the percentage of women in the applicant pool (p = 0.01 and p = 0.02, respectively). Interviews Finding 3-10: The percentage of women who were interviewed for tenure- track or tenured positions was higher than the percentage of women who applied. For each of the six disciplines in this study the mean percentage of females interviewed for tenure-track and tenured positions exceeded the mean percentage of female applicants. For example, the female applicant pool for ten- ure-track positions in electrical engineering was 11 percent, and the corresponding interview pool was 19 percent. Finding 3-11: Although the percentage of women in interview pools across the six disciplines exceeded the percentage of women in applicant pools, no women were interviewed for 28 percent (155 positions) of the tenure track and 42 percent (42 positions) of the tenured jobs. These figures are substan- tially higher than those for men. However, the percentage of male applicants was much higher than the percentage of female applicants, and part of this number was comprised of cases for which there were no female applicants. Job Offers Finding 3-13: For all disciplines the percentage of tenure-track women who received the first job offer was greater than the percentage in the interview pool. Women received the first offer in 29 percent of the tenure-track and 31 percent of the tenured positions surveyed. Tenure-track women in all of these dis- ciplines received a percentage of first offers that was greater than their percentage in the interview pool. For example, women were 21 percent of the interview pool for tenure-track electrical engineering positions and received 32 percent of the first offers. This finding is also true for tenured positions with the notable excep- tion of biology, where the interview pool was 33 percent and women received 22 percent of the first offers. Finding 3-14: In 95 percent of the tenure-track and 100 percent of the ten- ured positions where a man was the first choice for a position, a man was ultimately hired. In contrast, in cases where a woman was the first choice, a woman was ultimately hired in only 70 percent of the tenure-track and 77 percent of the tenured positions. When faculty were asked what factors they considered when selecting their current position, the effect of gender was statisti- cally significant for only one factor—“family-related reasons.”

OCR for page 153
 GENDER DIFFERENCES IN FACULTy CAREERS Chapter 4—Professional Activities, Institutional Resources, Climate, and Outcomes The survey findings with regard to climate and resources demonstrate two critical points. First, discipline matters, as indicated by the difference in the amount of grant funding held by male and female faculty in biology, but not in other disciplines. Second, institutions have been doing well in addressing most of the aspects of climate that they can control, such as start-up packages and reduced teaching loads. Where the challenge may remain is in the climate at the departmental level. Interaction and collegial engagement with one’s colleagues is an important part of scientific discovery and collaboration, and here female faculty were not as connected. Professional Activities Finding 4-1: There is little evidence overall that men and women spent dif- ferent proportions of their time on teaching, research, and service. There is some indication that men spent a larger proportion of their time on research and fundraising than did women (42.1 percent for men compared to 40 percent for women). However, the difference only approaches significance, and the actual per- centages of time that male and female faculty reported spending on research were not very different, with the exception of chemistry, for which men spent a signifi- cantly greater percentage of their time on research and fundraising (45.7 percent) than did women (39 percent) and mathematics (44.2 percent for men compared to 38.2 percent for women). Finding 4-2: Male and female faculty appeared to have taught the same amount (41.4 percent for men compared to 42.6 percent for women). There were no gender differences in the number of undergraduate or graduate courses men and women taught: 0.83 undergraduate courses for men compared to 0.82 undergraduate courses for women. The percentages not teaching graduate courses were 50.8 percent for men and 54.9 percent for women. Institutional Resources Male and female faculty appeared to have similar access to many kinds of institutional resources, although there were some where male faculty seemed to have an advantage. Finding 4-3: Men and women seem to have been treated equally when they were hired. The overall size of start-up packages and the specific resources of reduced initial teaching load, travel funds, and summer salary did not differ between male and female faculty.

OCR for page 153
 KEy FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Finding 4-4: Male and female faculty supervised about the same number of research assistants and postdocs. Finding 4-5: There were some resources where male faculty appeared to have an advantage. These included the amount of laboratory space (considering both faculty overall and only those who do experimental research); access to equipment needed for research; and access to clerical support. The apparent gender differences in access to these resources may reflect dif- ferences in access based on discipline or rank, since some disciplines and ranks have a higher proportion of male faculty, and those disciplines and ranks could also have more lab space and equipment. Climate Professional climate may be somewhat different for male and female faculty. Finding 4-6: Female tenure-track and tenured faculty reported that they were more likely to have mentors than male faculty. In the case of tenure-track faculty, 57 percent of women had mentors compared to 49 percent of men. Finding 4-7: Female faculty reported that they were less likely to engage in conversation with their colleagues on a wide range of professional topics. These topics included research, salary, and benefits (and, to some extent, interac- tion with other faculty members and departmental climate). This distance may prevent women from accessing important information and may make them feel less included and more marginalized in their professional lives. Male and female faculty did not differ in their reports of discussions with colleagues on teaching, funding, interaction with administration, and personal life. Finding 4-8: There were no differences between male and female faculty on two measures of inclusion: chairing committees (39 percent for men and 34 percent for women) and being part of a research team (62 percent for men and 65 percent for women). Outcomes There is little evidence across the six disciplines that men and women have exhibited different outcomes on most key measures (including publications, grant funding, nominations for international and national honors and awards, salary, and offers of positions in other institutions). On all measures, there were significant differences among disciplines.

OCR for page 153
0 GENDER DIFFERENCES IN FACULTy CAREERS Finding 4-9: Overall, male faculty had published marginally more refereed articles and papers in the past 3 years than female faculty, except in electrical engineering, where the reverse was true. Men had published significantly more papers than women in chemistry (men, 15.8; women, 9.4) and mathematics (men, 12.4; women, 10.4). In electrical engineering, women had published marginally more papers than men (women, 7.5; men, 5.8). The differences in the numbers of publications between men and women were not significant in biology, civil engi- neering, and physics. All the other variables related to the number of published articles and papers (discipline, rank, prestige of institution, access to mentors, and time on research) show the same effects for male and female faculty. Finding 4-10: Although men were somewhat less likely to be a principal inves- tigator or co-principal investigator on a grant proposal than were women, this difference disappeared when other variables were added in a regression analysis, where male and female faculty did not differ on the probability of having grant funding. Furthermore, because the effect of gender was confounded with the effect of rank and whether the person had a mentor, it is essentially impossible to isolate the effect of gender. The variables that appear to be associ- ated with the probability of having a grant (discipline, faculty rank, being at a high- or medium-prestige university, and spending more time on research) do so in the same way for male and female faculty. Finding 4-11: Male faculty had significantly more research funding than female faculty in biology; in the other disciplines, the differences between male and female faculty were not significant. There was no overall difference in the amount of grant funding received by male and female faculty, but there was a significant interaction between gender and discipline. The other variables related to the amount of grant funding (faculty rank, whether a faculty member is at a private university, whether a faculty member is at a university of higher prestige, having a mentor, and publishing more) were related in the same way for male and female faculty. Finding 4-12: Female assistant professors who had a mentor had a higher probability of receiving grants than those who did not have a mentor. In chemistry, female assistant professors with mentors had a 95 percent probability of having grant funding compared to 77 percent for female assistant professors in chemistry without mentors. A similar but weaker pattern is exhibited for female associate professors. Over all six fields surveyed female assistant professors with no mentors had a 68 percent probability of having grant funding compared to 93 percent of women with mentors. This contrasts with the pattern for male assistant professors; those with no mentor had an 86 percent probability of having grant funding compared to 83 percent for those with mentors.

OCR for page 153
 KEy FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Finding 4-13: Overall male and female faculty were equally likely to be nominated for international and national honors and awards, but the results varied significantly by discipline, making interpretation challenging. The other variables affecting the likelihood of being nominated for honors and awards (discipline, faculty rank, prestige of university, number of publications) affected this likelihood in the same way for male and female faculty. Finding 4-14: Gender was a significant determinant of salary, but only among full professors. Male full professors made, on average, about 8 percent more than women, once we controlled for discipline. At the associate and assistant professor ranks, the differences in salaries of men and women disappeared. Finding 4-15: Differences in the probability of receiving an outside offer for male and female faculty depended on discipline. In electrical engineering and in mathematics women were more likely to have received an outside offer, while the trend was reversed in chemistry and physics. Chapter 5—Tenure and Promotion The findings related to tenure and promotion indicate the importance of addressing the retention of women faculty in the early stages of their academy careers; not as many were considered for tenure as would be expected, based on the number of female assistant professors. Retention was particularly problematic given the increased duration of time in rank for all faculty. Both male and female faculty utilized stop-the-tenure-clock policies—spending a longer time in the uncertainty of securing tenure—but women used these policies more. Female faculty who did come up for tenure were as successful or more successful than men, so one of the most important challenges may be increasing the pool of female faculty who make it to that point. Award of Tenure Finding 5-1: In every field, women were underrepresented among candidates for tenure relative to the number of female assistant professors. Most strik- ingly, women were most likely to be underrepresented in the fields in which they accounted for the largest share of the faculty—biology and chemistry. In biology and chemistry, the differences were statistically significant. In biology, 27 percent of the faculty considered for tenure were women, although women represented 36 percent of the assistant professor pool. In chemistry those numbers were 15 percent and 22 percent, respectively. This difference may suggest that female assistant professors were more likely to leave before being considered for tenure than were men. It might also reflect increased hiring of female assistant professors in recent years (compared with hiring 6 to 8 years ago).

OCR for page 153
 GENDER DIFFERENCES IN FACULTy CAREERS Finding 5-2: Given that the interaction between the gender of the candidate and the percentage of women in the tenure-track pool was statistically sig- nificant (p = 0.012), women appeared to be more likely to be promoted when there was a smaller percentage of women among the tenure-track faculty, resulting in a greater difference between men and women in their tenure success in departments with fewer female assistant professors. Finding 5-3: Women were more likely than men to receive tenure when they came up for tenure review. When controlling only for field and gender of the candidate, we found that women were marginally more likely than men to receive tenure (p = .0567). Women received tenure in 92 percent of the cases (115 out of 125) compared to 87 percent of the cases for men (548 out of 633). Finding 5-4: Discipline, stop-the-tenure-clock policies, and departmental size were not associated with the probability of a positive tenure decision for either male or female faculty members who were considered for tenure. Both male and female assistant professors were significantly more likely to receive tenure at public institutions (92 percent) compared to private institutions (85 percent; p = 0.029). Finding 5-5: Eighty-eight percent of both male and female survey respon- dents stated that they knew their institution’s policy on tenure. Eighty-one percent of male faculty knew their institution’s policies on promotion. How- ever, only 75 percent of female faculty respondents knew their institution’s policy on promotion, which is statistically significant (p = 0.02). Promotion to Full Professor No significant gender disparity was found at the stage of promotion to full professor. Finding 5-6: For the six disciplines surveyed, 90 percent of the men and 88 percent of the women proposed for full professor were promoted—a differ- ence that was not statistically significant. There was no significant difference in the probability of promotion to full professor due to gender of the candidate, after accounting for other potentially important factors such as disciplinary differences, departmental size, and use of stop-the-tenure-clock policies. Once proposed for promotion to full professor, women and men appeared to have fared about the same across all types of institutions and departments. Finding 5-7: Women were proposed for promotion to full professor at approximately the same rates as they were represented among associate pro- fessors. Female faculty in biology were considered for promotion in 24 percent

OCR for page 153
 KEy FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS of the cases (28 percent of the associate professor pool); 14 percent of the cases in chemistry (18 percent of the pool); 18 percent of the cases in civil engineering (14 percent of the pool); 17 percent of cases in electrical engineering (13 percent of the pool); 9 percent of cases in mathematics (15 percent of the pool); and 7 percent of the cases in physics (8 percent of the pool). Time in Rank Women spent significantly longer time in rank as assistant professors than men did. Finding 5-8: Time in rank as an assistant professor has grown over time for both male and female faculty. Men who were full professors at the time of the survey had spent the least amount of time in rank as assistant professors. This was true across all disciplines. Finding 5-9: Women who were associate professors at the time of the survey had averaged a significantly longer time in rank as assistant professors in all fields except electrical engineering, where women’s shorter time in rank was not significantly different. It is difficult to determine whether these apparent dif- ferences persist once we control for individual and departmental characteristics such as length of postdoctoral experience and stopping the tenure clock for family leave. While women did appear to remain at the rank of assistant professor longer than men, the differences between genders depended upon factors such as the prestige of the institution, the time elapsed since the completion of the doctoral degree, and the current rank of the individual. Both male and female faculty spent longer time in the assistant professor ranks at institutions of higher prestige. Finding 5-10: Male and female faculty who stopped the tenure clock spent significantly more time as assistant professors than those who did not (an average of 74 months compared to 57 months). They had a lower chance of promotion to associate professor (about 80 percent) at any time (given that they had not been promoted until then) than those who did not stop the clock. Everything else being equal, however, stopping the tenure clock did not affect the probability of promotion and tenure; it just delayed it by about a year and a half. It is unclear how that delay affected female faculty, who were more likely than men to avail themselves of this policy. Although the effect of stopping the tenure clock on the probability of promotion and tenure was similar for both male and female faculty, 19.7 percent of female assistant professors in the survey sample availed themselves of this policy compared to 7.4 percent of male assis- tant professors. At the associate professor level, 10.2 percent of female faculty compared to 6.4 percent of male faculty stopped the tenure clock.

OCR for page 153
 GENDER DIFFERENCES IN FACULTy CAREERS Time from Receipt of Ph.D. Finding 5-12: Overall, it appears that female faculty took significantly longer from receipt of Ph.D. to promotion to associate professor with tenure, but this gender effect was confounded with current rank, discipline, and other factors. It is difficult to determine whether these apparent differences persist once we control for individual and departmental characteristics such as length of postdoctoral experience and stopping the tenure clock for family leave. While women did appear to remain at the rank of assistant professor longer than did men, the differences between gender depended on factors including the prestige of the institution, the time elapsed since completion of the doctoral degree, and the current rank of the individual. RECOMMENDATIONS The survey data suggest that positive changes have taken place and continue to occur. At the same time, the data should not be mistakenly interpreted as indi- cating that male and female faculty in math, science, and engineering have reached full equality and representation, and we caution against premature complacency. Women remain underrepresented among science and engineering faculty and in the tenure-track applicant pool for faculty positions in all disciplinary areas examined. Furthermore, few departments surveyed reported extensive efforts to increase gender diversity of the applicant pool. Much work remains to be done by institutions and professional disciplinary societies to accomplish full representa- tion of men and women in academic departments. And much additional research is needed to understand the full career paths of female academics, from receipt of Ph.D. to retirement, and to document gender differences in other disciplines, other types of institutions, and other types of faculty positions. Recommendations for Institutions Research I institutions should: 1. Design and implement new programs and policies to increase the number of women applying for tenure-track or tenured positions and evalu- ate existing programs for effectiveness. This includes enhancing institutional efforts to encourage female graduates and postdocs to consider careers at RI institutions. In each of the six disciplines studied, women were underrepresented in the applicant pool relative to their representation in the pool of recent Ph.D.s (Finding 3-3). This critical gap must be narrowed to expand the number of female faculty in research-intensive institutions. Most departments reported using a very small arsenal of recruitment strategies (targeted advertising was the most cited),

OCR for page 153
 KEy FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS and 43 percent reported using only one strategy (see Finding 3-7). Significant change in the applicant pool will not come from such minimal efforts. 2. Involve current female faculty in faculty searches, with appropriate release time. The proportion of women on the search committee and whether a woman chaired the committee were both significantly and positively associ- ated with the proportion of women in the applicant pool (see Finding 3-8). Such engagement may signal to prospective hires that the institutional climate is sup- portive and inclusive. 3. Investigate why female faculty, compared to their male counterparts, appear to continue to experience some sense of isolation in subtle and intan- gible ways. Finding 4-7, for example, reports that female faculty are less likely to engage with other faculty in conversations about research or salary. Creating informal opportunities for faculty to engage within a department or across an institution might help to address this issue. 4. Explore gender differences in the obligations outside of professional responsibilities (particularly family-related obligations) and how these dif- ferences may affect the professional outcomes of their faculty. Our findings focused only on the climate within academic institutions, but factors outside the institutional environment may be equally important. (Findings 4-6 through 4-8). 5. Initiate mentoring programs for all newly hired faculty, especially at the assistant professor level. As described in Finding 4-12, the mentoring of female faculty had a striking impact on their ability to secure grant funding. Insti- tutional mentoring programs could help to ensure that female faculty acquire grant funding, which in turn should have a positive effect on their promotion rates. 6. Make tenure and promotion procedures as transparent as possible and ensure that policies are routinely and effectively communicated to all faculty. While 81 percent of male faculty know their institution’s policies on promotion, only 75 percent of female faculty do (see Finding 5-5). Departments in particular need to review their communication strategies, as only 49 percent of all faculty surveyed reported that their department had written procedures. And only 78 percent of departments reported that they had written tenure and promo- tion policies. 7. Monitor and evaluate stop-the-tenure-clock policies and their impact on faculty retention and advancement. Where such policies are not already in place, adopt them and ensure effective dissemination to faculty members. Only 78 percent of assistant professors reported that their department or university

OCR for page 153
 GENDER DIFFERENCES IN FACULTy CAREERS had a formal family or personal leave policy that allows stopping or extending the tenure clock. At those institutions that do, 19.7 percent of female and 7.4 percent of male assistant professors avail themselves of these policies, as well as 10.2 percent of female and 6.4 percent of male associate professors (see Finding 5-10). As use of these policies will likely grow, institutions need to review the careers of faculty who use these policies to understand their impact on career progress. 8. Collect data encompassed in this study (including applications, inter- views, first offers, hires, time in rank, tenure award, and promotion) disag- gregated by race, ethnicity, and gender. Many of the departments surveyed have made significant gains in their numbers of female faculty at many of these critical junctures, yet these results are not well known. The collection of data can allow departments and institutions to focus their scarce resources on transitions that need the most attention. Also, our findings do not address race and ethnicity, but this information is essential as institutions work to increase diversity. Recommendations for Professional Societies Professional societies in science and engineering disciplines should: 9. Collect data on the career tracks of their members. This study identi- fied many differences among disciplines that warrant investigation. Why, for example, do biology and chemistry have disproportionately smaller applicant pools of women for faculty positions? (Finding 3-3) And why are women in elec- trical engineering and mathematics more likely than men to receive outside job offers, while the reverse is true for chemistry and physics? (Finding 4-15) 10. Disseminate successful strategies to increase the gender diversity of the applicant pools for tenure-track and tenured faculty positions. Only 10 percent of departments reported relying on three or more strategies for recruit- ment. (Table 3-10) 11. Conduct in-depth surveys of their members at regular intervals on the climate for professional success and the role of mentoring in their disci- pline. (Findings 4-6, 4-7, and 4-12) Questions for Future Research This study raises many unanswered questions about the status of women in academia. As noted at the onset of this report, the surveys did not capture the expe- riences of Ph.D.s who never apply for academic positions, nor of female faculty who have left at various points in their academic careers. We also recognize that there are important, nonacademic issues affecting men and women differently that

OCR for page 153
 KEy FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS impact career choices at critical junctures. Fuller examination of these issues (for example, topics relating to family, children, home life, care of elderly parents) will shed greater light on career choices by women and men and should yield suggestions on the types of support needed to encourage retention of women in academic careers. Below are suggestions for future research: A Deeper Understanding of Career Paths 1. using longitudinal data, what are the academic career paths of women in different science and engineering disciplines from receipt of their Ph.D. to retirement? Most importantly, where do women Ph.D.s go who do not apply for academic positions, and where do women faculty go who leave the university before tenure consideration? 2. Why are women underrepresented in the applicant pools and among those who are considered for tenure? How can we understand more fully the subtle but powerful influences of climate and family life on career decisions? While it is true that the lives of female faculty have become more similar to those of men in recent years, the discrepancies remain very large, which may be a major reason why women don’t consider careers in RI institutions. The demands of family life are also a large deterrent. Universities can do a lot by mentoring of female graduate students that it is possible to have a career at an RI institution and still have a family life. 3. Why aren’t more women in fields such as biology and chemistry applying to RI tenure-track positions, as discussed in Finding 3-3? Such a study might examine the career preferences of graduate students and postdocs (and what factors shape those preferences) as well as the efforts of departments and institutions to recruit faculty in these disciplines. 4. Why do female faculty, compared to their male counterparts, appear to continue to experience some sense of isolation in more subtle and intangible areas? The findings on institutional climate indicate several areas that still need to be examined to facilitate the full participation of all faculty. Finding 4-7, for example, reports that female faculty are less likely to engage with other faculty in conversations about research or salary. 5. What is the impact of stop-the-tenure-clock policies on faculty careers? Given the significant increases in the number of faculty invoking stop-the-tenure- clock policies there is a need to collect longitudinal data on the career patterns of these faculty including data on time in rank, tenure, and promotion statistics. Does this extension of uncertainty regarding tenure for assistant professors who utilize their institutions’ stop-the-tenure-clock policies deter a certain fraction of

OCR for page 153
 GENDER DIFFERENCES IN FACULTy CAREERS women (and men) from applying or have a negative effect on the promotion and retention of faculty who utilize these policies? 6. What are the causes for the attrition of women and men prior to ten- ure decisions, if indeed attrition does take place? This is particularly relevant given Finding 5–9, which indicates that female faculty spend significantly longer in time in rank as assistant professors, and this may have an impact on retention of female faculty. 7. To what extent are female faculty rewarded beyond promotion to full professor? There are career milestones beyond promotion to full professor in academia. A future study that looks at chaired professorships, salary increments, and continued access to institutional resources would be useful. 8. What important, nonacademic issues affect men and women differ- ently that impact their career choices at critical junctures? While the com- mittee was not able to investigate them in this study, a fuller examination—for example, of issues relating to family, children, home life, care of elderly parents, etc.—might shed light on career choices by men and women and offer suggestions on the nature and types of supports to encourage retention of women pursuing academic careers in science, engineering, and mathematics. Expanding the Scope 9. How important are differences among fields? Future studies should examine additional engineering and scientific fields because as the data in this report demonstrates fields differ a lot from each other. Certain engineering fields, including chemical engineering and bioengineering, may look very different from the two engineering fields—civil and electrical—examined here. 10. What are the experiences of faculty at Research II institutions? There would be value in expanding the scope of this study. Conduct further research to understand the hiring efforts and results at Research II universities (which also conduct research and train doctorates). Past research suggests that female faculty in science and engineering are the least well-represented at Research II institu- tions, with an average percentage of 15 percent. 11. What are the experiences of part-time and non-tenure track faculty? A significant but necessary limitation of this study is that it focused on full-time tenure-track and tenured faculty. Given that the population of non-tenure track and part-time faculty is growing, and that a good portion of these faculty are women, it would be very valuable to have data and information on the careers of these faculty.