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vention by deans when applicant or interview pools lack diversity, and systematically assessing past hiring efforts.

  • Improved institutional policies and practices. These might include inserting some flexibility into the tenure clock, providing child care facilities on campus, establishing policies for faculty leave for family or personal reasons, significantly stepping up efforts to accommodate dual career couples, and continuing to offer training at all levels to combat harassment and discrimination and to raise the awareness of all campus citizens.11

  • Improved position of candidates through career advising, networking, and enhancing qualifications.

While all the strategies above might have an impact on the proportion of women in applicant pools, it appears that only the last two might actually encourage more women to choose academia for their professional activity. The issue is not whether female applicants are treated fairly in the interviewing and hiring process; by several indications, they are. Where progress can still be made is in attracting more women to academia by encouraging more of them to apply for faculty positions at Research I institutions. It seems that refocusing resources to develop strategies to encourage female graduate students to pursue a career in academia has the potential for enormous impact.

Written policies and handbooks for faculty searches frequently note specific steps that can be taken to improve the diversity of applicant pools. These include:

  • Defining searches broadly to encourage a more diverse applicant pool;

  • Posting the job advertisement in a wide range of outlets;

  • Contacting professional associations that represent women (e.g., the Caucus for Women in Statistics, Society of Women Engineers, Association for Women in Science, etc.); and

  • Evaluating the applicant pool during the search to determine if sufficient numbers of women are applying.

Departments reported a variety of actions in response to our survey question, “What steps (if any) has your department or institution taken to increase the gender diversity of your candidate pool?” This was an open-ended question, and the most frequent responses are shown in Table 3-9. Four hundred seventeen departments responded. Departments wrote in with answers ranging from zero to 6 steps and citing anywhere from having zero to 15 policies in place. Targeted or special


However, analysis presented in this chapter does not find an effect of the number of family-friendly policies on the percentage of female applicants. The impact of such policies on applications may bear further study.

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