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Denial of tenure

Institutional funding

Personal affinity for teaching or research

Family circumstances

Institutional climate


Social factors

For those who remain in regular faculty positions, the report does include important and new information on their individual characteristics, family circumstances, professional activities, and outcomes, as well as institutional resources and climate. But even for this group, there are many factors affecting individual choices and institutional climate that we were unable to measure.

At the senior end of the academic career track, we know little about female full professors and what gender differences might exist at this stage of one’s career. This report does not include descriptions of special institutional programs or recognitions such as:

Salary adjustments

Research support

Named chairs or professorships

Leadership positions

Who and What Are Included

In addition to focusing on select factors affecting academic careers, the study has limited its scope to particular types of institutions, individuals, and disciplines. First, the focus of this study is primarily current, rather than historical or predictive. It is beyond the scope of the charge and the resources of the committee overseeing this report to estimate future trends for female faculty.

Second, there are thousands of higher education institutions in the United States. This study does not address any pipeline issues regarding educational preparation and training prior to application for a tenure-track position. As stated above, the study focuses primarily on doctoral-granting institutions, specifically the 89 Research I institutions (also know as research-intensive institutions) defined by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 1994 and listed in Appendix 1-2. These institutions were picked because of their prestige, the role they play in training future generations of scholars, their contribution to scholarship, and the amount of research they undertake.13 The data gathered


The National Science Foundation (2002:2-3) notes: “Research universities enroll only 19 percent of the students in higher education, but they play the largest role in S&E degree production. They produce most of the engineering degrees and a large proportion of natural and social science degrees

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