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Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty 2 Status of Women in Academic Science and Engineering in 2004 and 2005 Over the past 30 years, legislators, government agencies, professional societies, university administrators, and faculty have increasingly endeavored to raise the number of women pursuing higher education and careers in science and engineering (S&E). To a degree, these efforts have succeeded. Women have made substantial strides both in participating in postsecondary S&E education and in attaining careers in the academic workforce.1 This chapter provides an overview of the representation of women in academic science and engineering at approximately the time of the faculty and departmental surveys (2004 and 2005). In some cases, results from more recent studies have also been included. These data and analyses provide a context for understanding and assessing the results of the surveys, as well as ideas for further research. The findings and recommendations in this report, however, are based solely on the survey data. The information in this chapter has been compiled from multiple sources. The data are drawn primarily from the Survey of Doctoral Recipients (SDR), conducted every 2 years by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the National Survey of Postsecondary Faculty (NSOPF), which has been conducted every 5 years since 1988 by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) of the Department of Education.2 The SDR samples all doctoral scientists and engineers, and the present study focuses on the subset who are faculty. The 1 Marschke et al. (2007), write, however, that progress for female faculty has been “glacial” and “excruciatingly slow.” 2 Additional information on the surveys can be found at SRS Survey of Doctoral Recipients at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/showsrvy.cfm?srvy_CatID=3&srvy_Seri=5, accessed on June 13, 2006; and National Study of Postsecondary Faculty—Overview at http://www.nces.ed.gov/surveys/nsopf/, accessed on June 13, 2006.
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Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty NSOPF samples only faculty, and this report concentrates on the subset that is in the natural sciences and engineering. Both NSF and NCES release special reports, which were also consulted.3 Data from professional societies were also examined, including the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), which focuses on faculty, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which surveys its members.4 In addition, several discipline-oriented societies provided data from member surveys, for example, the Computing Research Association (CRA), the American Mathematical Society (AMS), the American Institute of Physics (AIP), the American Chemical Society (ACS), and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).5 Finally, the committee consulted studies conducted by individual universities (e.g., on gender equity, salary, or climate) and publications by individual researchers. An analysis of historical trends in the representation of women in academic science and engineering based on the SDR and NSOPF and a more extensive review of the research literature can be found in Appendix 3-1. DEGREES EARNED Evidence of women’s representation in science and engineering is often measured first in the attainment of undergraduate and graduate degrees.6 In 2004, 50.4 percent of all S&E bachelor’s degrees went to women.7 Women received the majority of bachelor’s degrees in the agricultural sciences, biological sciences, oceanography, and chemistry, and they were awarded more than 40 percent of the bachelor’s degrees in the earth sciences, mathematics and statistics, and atmospheric and other physical sciences, excluding physics.8 Of all S&E master’s degrees awarded in 2004, 43.6 percent went to women. They received the majority of master’s degrees in the agricultural and biological sciences and other physical sciences, excluding physics and astronomy. They were awarded over 40 percent of the master’s degrees in the earth sciences and oceanography, mathematics and statistics, and chemistry.9 3 See for example NSF (2004b). 4 For further details on the AAAS surveys, see Chander and Mervis (2001) and Holden (2004). 5 For further details see Byrum (2001), Ivie et al. (2003), Kirkman et al. (2006), Long (2000, 2002), Marasco (2003), and Vardi et al. (2003). 6 The percentage of women participating in science and engineering education, however, is lower than the corresponding percentage of women in the U.S. population of 18- to 30-year-olds. See Kristen Olson, Despite Increases, Women and Minorities Still Underrepresented in Undergraduate and Graduate S&E Education, NSF Data Brief, January 15, 1999 (NSF 99-320). 7 Note here S&E is defined as engineering, natural sciences, and the social and behavioral sciences. 8 Data tabulated by staff, derived from National Science Foundation WebCASPAR database. 9 Data tabulated by staff, derived from National Science Foundation WebCASPAR database.
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Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty In 2005, 37.7 percent of all S&E doctorate degrees went to women. Women were awarded almost 50 percent of Ph.D.s granted in the biological sciences (National Science Foundation, 2006). FACULTY REPRESENTATION Despite these encouraging numbers, the number and percentage of women faculty had yet to match these gains. While noticeably increasing throughout S&E disciplines, women continued to be underrepresented among academic faculty relative to the number of women receiving S&E degrees (Nelson and Rogers, 2005). As Table 2-1 shows, in 2003, women comprised between 6 and 29 percent of senior faculty (full and associate professors) in S&E. The largest percentage of full and associate professors was found in the life sciences, while the lowest was in engineering. Women were more likely to be assistant professors, and as shown in Table 2-2, comprised between 18 and 45 percent of assistant professors in S&E.10 Again, the largest percentage of female faculty was in the life sciences, and the lowest was in engineering. These aggregate proportions masked two noteworthy phenomena. First, some departments had greater success in recruiting, retaining, and advancing female faculty than others. Examinations of specific department rosters continued to turn up examples of departments with no female faculty (e.g., Ivie et al., 2003; Nelson and Rogers, 2005).11 Second, some types of higher education institutions had done better at recruiting, retaining, and advancing female faculty than others. Female science faculty were more likely to be employed by community colleges or institutions that did not offer a doctoral degree, rather than at the large research universities (Nettles et al., 2000; Schneider, 2000). For example, in mathematics in 2005, the percentage of female, full-time, tenured or tenure-track faculty at doctorate-granting institutions was 11 percent; at master’s-granting institutions it was 24 percent; and at bachelor’s-granting institutions it was 25 percent (Kirkman et al., 2006). 10 Other studies come to similar conclusions. For example, women comprised only 14 percent of all faculty in astronomy in 2003 (Ivie, 2004) and 13 percent of all faculty in physics in 2006 (Dresselhaus, 2007). In mathematics in 2005, only 11 percent of full-time, tenure-track or tenured faculty in doctoral departments were women, while 24 percent of non-tenure-track, full-time faculty were women (Kirkman et al., 2006). In engineering, only 11.3 percent of tenured or tenure-track faculty members were women in 2006 (Gibbons, 2007). It should be noted, though, that over time, these percentages are slowly rising. 11 In 2006, all of the top 50 chemistry departments had at least one woman on faculty (Marasco, 2006). Continuing the examination of chemistry, for 30 Research I institutions that hired at least five faculty during 1988 and 1997, the percentage of women among hires ranged from 50 percent in one case to zero percent in 8 cases. Some departments hired a greater proportion of women than might be expected in comparison to the proportion of women in the doctoral pool, though in most cases, the proportion of women hired was lower (NAS, NAE, and IOM, 2007).
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Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty TABLE 2-1 Science and Engineering Doctorate Holders Employed in Academia as Full-Time Senior Faculty by Sex and Degree Field, 2003 Field Total (thousands) Sex Female (percent) Male (thousands) Female (thousands) Natural Sciences 77.5 61.0 16.5 21.3 Physical sciences 17.0 15.3 1.7 10.0 Mathematics 10.2 9.1 1.2 11.8 Computer sciences 2.9 2.4 0.5 17.2 Earth, atmospheric, and ocean sciences 4.3 3.5 0.8 18.6 Life sciences 43.1 30.7 12.4 28.8 Engineering 17.2 16.1 1.1 6.4 SOURCE: Adapted from NSB, 2006. TABLE 2-2 Science and Engineering Doctorate Holders Employed in Academia as Full-Time Junior Faculty by Sex and Degree Field, 2003 Field Total (thousands) Sex Female (percent) Male (thousands) Female (thousands) Natural Sciences 31.6 19.6 11.8 37.3 Physical sciences 5.5 4.3 1.3 23.6 Mathematics 2.8 2.0 0.9 32.1 Computer sciences 1.3 1.0 0.3 23.1 Earth, atmospheric, and ocean sciences 1.8 1.3 0.5 27.8 Life sciences 20.1 11.1 9.0 44.8 Engineering 5.6 4.6 1.0 17.9 SOURCE: Adapted from NSB, 2006. According to Cataldi et al. (2005:3), “full-time faculty and instructional staff at public doctoral and private not-for-profit doctoral institutions were less likely to be female (32–33 percent) than those at public master’s, private not-for-profit baccalaureate, and other institutions (41 percent each), private not-for-profit master’s institutions (43 percent), and public associate’s institutions.” This was a long-standing trend, as noted in NRC’s (2001a:155) analysis of NSF data for 1979, 1989, and 1995, which found that women were “least represented among the faculty at Research I and Research II institutions.” Summarizing the landscape in an article titled “Where the Elite Teach, It’s Still a Man’s World,” Robin Wilson (2004)
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Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty wrote, “At the country’s big research universities, the vast majority of professors are men.” Related to this is the fact that female faculty tended to be clustered in positions that were part-time, untenured, or at lower ranks. The number of positions off the tenure track—both part- and full-time—had grown dramatically over the past few decades (Anderson, 2002; Bradley, 2004). Comparing full-time to part-time positions, women were less likely to be found in full-time positions. In mathematics, for example, during the fall term of 2005, 37 percent of the part-time faculty at doctorate-granting institutions were women, while only 11 percent of the full-time, tenured and tenure-track faculty were women, and only 24 percent of the full-time, non-tenure-track faculty were women (Kirkman et al., 2006).12 Women comprised a particularly small percentage of tenured scientists and engineers in universities and 4-year colleges in 2001 (NSF, 2006). In engineering, for example, the percentage of tenured faculty who were women was 6.2 percent (out of a total of 15,480 faculty). In mathematics and statistics, the percentage was 11.9 percent (of 10,610 faculty), and in the physical sciences, it was 11.1 percent (of 18,930 faculty). In computer and information sciences, the percentage was 17.7 percent (of 2,670 faculty). The biological and agricultural sciences had the highest percentage of tenured faculty who were women, with 21.7 percent (of 30,940 faculty).13 Finally, NSF noted in its biennial publication, Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering: 2000 (2000:59), that “within 4-year colleges and universities, female scientists and engineers hold fewer high-ranked positions than do their male counterparts. Women were less likely than men to be full professors and more likely than men to be assistant professors.” These findings were confirmed in the 2007 follow-up to that report (NSF, 2007). In a survey of the top 50 departments in several fields, Nelson (2005) found the percentages of women dropped off through the professorial ranks from assistant to associate to full professor in all fields except one.14 For example, in chemistry, women comprised 21.5 percent of assistant professors, 20.5 percent of associate professors, and 7.6 percent of full professors. In physics, 11.2 percent of assistant professors, 9.8 percent of associate professors, and 4.6 percent of full professors were women. In civil engineering, 22.3 percent of assistant professors, 11.5 percent of associate professors, and 3.5 percent of full professors were women (Nelson and Rogers, 2005).15 12 Doctorate-granting institutions are defined as Groups I, II, III, IV, and V. See Kirkman et al. (2006) for complete definitions. 13 Note these are small gains over 2001 data (compare with NSF, 2003b). The figures here do not agree with those in Table 1-1 due to differences in year of reference, sampling and nonsampling errors, and definitional differences. 14 The exception was computer science: 10.8 percent of assistant professors, 14.4 percent of associate professors, and 8.3 percent of full professors were women. 15 Data for chemistry are from 2003; data for physics and civil engineering are from 2002. Newer
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Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty Data for faculty at a wider range of institutions were consistent with Nelson’s findings (NAS, NAE, and IOM, 2007). For tenured or tenure-track engineering faculty in general in 2005, women comprised 6.3 percent of full professors, 13.2 percent of associate professors, and 19.5 percent of assistant professors (Gibbons, 2007).16 In physics, women comprised 6 percent of full professors, 14 percent of associate professors, and 17 percent of assistant professors (Dresselhaus, 2007). The explanation that female faculty on average tended to be younger and so were more likely to be at lower ranks did not completely explain their lower ranks according to the National Research Council (2001a:172), which found “that at any given career age men are more likely to be in a higher rank [emphasis in original].” For example, in 1995, in the 10th year since receiving a Ph.D., 8 percent of women and 12 percent of men were full professors; in the 15th year, 33 percent of women and 45 percent of men were full professors; and in the 20th year, 64 percent of women and 73 percent of men were full professors (pp. 172-173). Something other than career age appeared to be causing part of the observed gender differences in rank attainment. PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES AND CLIMATE In addition to the underrepresentation of female faculty, concerns persisted regarding gender differences in the treatment of faculty. Several studies suggested women were evaluated more harshly and were less likely to be hired into academic positions (Lewin and Duchan, 1971; Steinpreis et al., 1999; Trix and Psenka, 2003; Wenneras and Wold, 1997). The literature also suggested that once hired, women were treated differently than men. Women were less likely to receive tenure or a promotion—the major career milestones for academics—or they spent more time in a lower rank before tenure or a promotion, with negative consequences for their salaries (Long et al., 1993; NRC, 2001; NSF, 2004a). Ginther (2001) found women scientists, in general, were 12 percent less likely than men to be promoted. Long et al. (1993) reached a similar conclusion for women in biochemistry.17 Some writers suggested that female faculty received fewer resources than male faculty, with academic salaries being an obvious, much studied, example. Data from the Department of Education revealed that during the 2003 to 2004 academic year, male “faculty with 9/10-month contracts earned an average salary data are available in chemistry. See Marasco (2006) for percentage of female faculty at the nation’s top 50 chemistry departments from 2000 to 2006. See NAS, NAE, and IOM (2007) for numbers of male and female faculty in chemistry from 1966-1999. 16 This is a general trend. According to data collected by the AAUP, about 40 percent of men were full professors, compared to about 20 percent of women. In addition, a greater percentage of women were instructors, lecturers, or had no rank (Curtis, 2004). 17 Recent data have cast doubt on this position, suggesting significant differences might not occur (Ginther and Kahn, 2006).
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Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty of $68,000, and female faculty with contracts of the same length earned an average salary of $55,000” (Knapp et al., 2005). According to an AAUP survey, women’s salaries for the academic year 2003 to 2004 continued to remain lower than men’s salaries in every category (Curtis, 2005).18 Curtis explained that women were “still disproportionately found in lower-ranked faculty positions, including non-tenure-track lecturer or unranked positions, which tend to pay lower salaries,” and women were “more likely than men to be employed at associate degree and baccalaureate colleges, where salaries are lower” (p. 29). However, studies of salaries of science and engineering faculty, which controlled for such factors as career age, discipline, institution type, rank, and productivity still found disparities in salary (Ginther, 2001, 2004; NRC, 2001b). There was some evidence that the gender gap in academic salaries was shrinking over time (see, for instance, Holden, 2004). Other resources may not have been equitably held. The 1999 Massachusetts Institute of Technology study (MIT, 1999), for instance, noted women faculty had less laboratory space than men. University departments doled out a variety of resources, including access to research assistants, travel money, lab space and equipment, summer research money, etc. A third area where inequities were seen to exist was in academic workloads (Fogg, 2003a; Jacobs, 2004; Nettles et al., 2000; Park, 1996). As Park (1996) explained, “Though all university faculty are expected to teach and to serve, as well as to carry out research, male and female faculty exhibit significantly different patterns of research, teaching, and service. Men, as a group, devote a higher portion of their time to research activities, whereas women, as a group, devote a much higher percentage of their time to teaching and service activities than do men” (p. 54). An examination of fall 2003 full-time S&E faculty at Research I institutions in the Department of Education’s 2004 NSOPF found that men and women spent, on average, 35.8 percent and 30.3 percent of their time on research activities, respectively. Conversely, women and men spent 46.9 and 41.3 percent of their time on instruction, respectively.19 Men and women spent almost the same percentage of time on administrative and other activities.20 Disparities in research 18 Perna’s (2002) analysis suggested that female faculty were less likely to receive supplemental earnings, such as from institutional sources or private consulting. 19 Data were created using the Department of Education’s Data Analysis System (DAS), available online at http://www.nces.ed.gov/dasol/. Gender was used as the row variable. The column variables were mean percent time spent on research activities, mean percent time spent on instruction, and mean percent time spent on other unspecified activities. Filters were only Research I institutions, full-time employed, with faculty status, with instructional duties for credit, and with principal fields of teaching as agriculture and home economics, engineering, first-professional health sciences, nursing, other health sciences, biological sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, and computer sciences. 20 Administrative and other activities are defined as those that occur at the respondent’s institution such as administration, professional growth, service, and other activities not related to teaching or research.
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Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty time may have had critical consequences, as productivity is the most important component in deciding tenure and promotion cases21 and in determining salary. A final area where disparities may have occurred between female and male faculty was in job satisfaction and retention. In general, women were less satisfied in the academic workplace than males (Trower and Chait, 2002), which may have led to unhappiness with one’s profession and consequently lower productivity and decreased retention rates. Lawler (1999) noted an additional concern: “unhappiness gets transmitted to younger women starting out and may help scare a new generation away from academia,” thus potentially reducing the pool of future academics. Several studies found women had higher attrition rates than men both prior to and after tenure was granted (August, 2006; August and Waltman, 2004; Carter et al., 2003; Trower and Chait, 2002).22 Yamagata (2002), for example, found that the attrition rate for female faculty at medical schools was higher than the rate for male faculty from 1980 to 1999 (although the attrition rate for women was decreasing faster than the attrition rate for men and more women were becoming full-time faculty members, resulting in a shrinking gender gap). Johnsrud and Rosser (2002) catalogued a variety of reasons that may explain a faculty member’s decision to leave a particular position. These included a variety of individual characteristics, such as personal motivation and satisfaction, as well as institutional support.23 Against this backdrop of increasing women’s participation in science and engineering but persistent gender gaps, the committee fielded its surveys of faculty and academic departments in 2004 and 2005. Many of the issues and concerns raised by previous data collection and research formed the basis for the survey questions. Again, an analysis of historical trends from 1995 to 2003 and a more extensive review of the literature can be found in Appendix 2-2. 21 As Nettles et al. (2000:8) noted: “Some researchers have argued that most faculty reward systems are based on research performance” (Hansen 1988), and existing research supports this assertion (e.g., Fairweather 1995, 1996; Gomez-Mejia and Balkin 1992; Ferber and Green 1982; Lewis and Becker 1979; Tuckman and Hageman 1976). See also Fairweather (2002). 22 Although at least one study of 210 departments of computer science conducted in 2002 for the period 1995-2000 found that female faculty had lower turnover than men (Cohoon et al., 2003). 23 See also Amey (1996).