in science and engineering, including innate differences in cognition, implicit bias, and faculty diversity” and “provide recommendations … on the best ways to maximize the potential of women science and engineering researchers.” The committee considered all fields of science and engineering (including the social sciences) in a broad range of academic institutions, relying primarily on existing data and the experience and expertise of committee members. Its report provides broad policy recommendations for changes at higher education institutions.
In contrast, the current report examines new information on the career patterns of men and women faculty at RI institutions—with particular focus on key transition points that are under the control of the institutions. The findings and recommendations here are based primarily on the data from our two surveys, which were not available to the COSEPUP committee.
Like the COSEPUP committee, this committee found evidence of the overall loss of women’s participation in academia. That loss is most apparent in the smaller fraction of women who apply for faculty positions and in the attrition of women assistant professors before tenure consideration. Unfortunately, our surveys do not shed light on why women fail to apply for faculty positions or why they may leave academia between these critical transition points—underscoring the fact that our work is not done.
Our survey findings do indicate that, at many critical transition points in their academic careers (e.g., hiring for tenure-track and tenured positions and promotions), women appear to have fared as well as or better than men in the disciplines and type of institutions (RI) studied, and that they have had comparable access to many types of institutional resources (e.g., start-up packages, lab space, and research assistants). These findings are in contrast to the COSEPUP committee’s general conclusions that “women who are interested in science and engineering careers are lost at every educational transition” and that “evaluation criteria contain arbitrary and subjective components that disadvantage women.”
After providing a brief overview of the Status of Women in Academic Science and Engineering in 2004 and 2005 in Chapter 2, the report presents the results of the survey findings in the three areas: Academic Hiring (Chapter 3), Climate, Institutional Resources, Professional Activities, and Outcomes (Chapter 4), and Tenure and Promotion (Chapter 5). Chapter 6 provides an overall summary of key findings and recommendations, including questions for future research.
The surveys of academic departments and faculty have yielded interesting and sometimes surprising findings. For the most part, men and women 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. The findings below provide key insights on gender differences in Academic Hiring (Chapter 3), Climate,