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Doctoral Scientists and Engineers in the United States Focus on Academe The following is a more detailed look at the 44 percent of employed science and engineering doctorates who were working in academe in 1995, excluding those on postdoctoral appointments. 4 (Academe includes 2-year and 4-year colleges, universities, medical schools, university-affiliated research institutes, and “other” educational institutions. It does not include elementary, middle, or secondary schools.) This section examines the rank and tenure status of scientists and engineers, how quickly they moved through the ranks, and whether this progress differed by field or gender. Academic Rank In 1995, 38 percent of science and engineering Ph.D.s employed in academe were full professors, 24 percent were associate professors, 20 percent were assistant professors, and 3 percent were instructors or lecturers. The remaining doctorates employed in academe were adjunct faculty members (2 percent), held some other position (2 percent), or responded that rank was not applicable to their position or at their institution (12 percent) (see Table 21 ). The highest proportion of full professors was in mathematical sciences (46 percent); the lowest was in computer sciences (10 percent). Since 95 percent of the computer sciences doctorates graduated within the past 15 years, it is not surprising that the proportion of full professors in this field was low. Concentrations of associate and assistant professors were highest in computer sciences (82 percent) and health sciences (62 percent) and lowest in physics/astronomy (29 percent). Doctorates in physics/astronomy and earth/atmospheric/marine sciences said rank was not applicable more frequently than doctorates in any other field (25 percent and 20 percent, respectively). This might be explained by the fact that higher than average proportions of Ph.D.s in these two fields were working in university-affiliated research institutions. Of those with 5 years or less since the Ph.D., only 2 percent were full professors and 61 percent were assistant professors. Between 6 and 15 years since the doctorate, 14 percent were full professors and 41 percent had become associate professors. After 16 to 25 years, 59 percent were full professors and after 25 years more than three-quarters (76 percent) had attained that rank (see Table 22 ). 4 Those doctorates holding postdoctoral appointments in April 1995 in the academic sector, as well as those on postdoctoral appointments in other sectors, are examined in more detail in Chapter 4 .
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Doctoral Scientists and Engineers in the United States Women, however, did not achieve the rank of full professor in the same proportions as men. At 5 years or less since the doctorate, women actually had a slight edge in the full professor category (2 percent, compared with 1 percent for men). For the cohort 6 to 15 years since degree, the proportion of men who were full professors was nearly twice that of women (16 and 9 percent, respectively). The gap widened with time and after 25 years, only 55 percent of women were full professors compared with 78 percent of men. It should be noted that these comparisons are made by years since doctorate, rather than years in the work force. Women are likely to have more career interruptions than men, which could account for some of the observed disparities. FIGURE 9. Faculty status of academically employed science and engineering Ph.D.s, by field, 1995.