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14 2 Recruiting Women Students Recruitment of students into science and engineering (S&E) pro-grams is an interactive process, reflecting the intersection of auniversityâs efforts to enroll students and studentsâ desires to at- tend a particular institution. Two assumptions underlie strategies de- signed to attract women to undergraduate and graduate education in S&E: first, the group of female S&E college applicants is larger than the number that actually enroll (i.e., there is a gap between interest and en- rollment); and, second, following the first assumption, there are obstacles to recruiting additional women. Both of these assumptions emerged in the meetings held at the four universities visited. This chapter addresses the challenges confronting universities as they try to recruit more female undergraduates and graduates, and it examines the recruitment strate- gies adopted by the universities visited and other institutions. CHALLENGES In 2001 women comprised 48.9 percent of 20- to 24-year-olds and 49.3 percent of 25- to 29-year-olds in the United States (NSF, 2004c). Women are more likely than men to enroll in postsecondary education immedi- ately after completing high school. In 2001, 64 percent of womenâcom- pared with 60 percent of menâdid so (NSB, 2004). Women constitute a majority of undergraduate students, and many choose to major in S&E programs. The two assumptions that underlie strategies designed to attract
RECRUITING WOMEN STUDENTS 15 women to undergraduate and graduate education in S&E can be assessed by means of information that compares female high school students inter- ested in S&E with female undergraduates in S&E. The working hypoth- esis is that while both groups are likely growing, the ratio of the former to the latter remains larger. Undergraduates Interest in S&E among high school students is clearly rising. Accord- ing to recent data from the U.S. Department of Education (2004:70): Since the early 1980s, when states began to increase the number of re- quired courses to receive a high school diploma, the percentage of high school graduates completing advanced coursework in science and math- ematics has increased. In 1982, 35 percent of high school graduates had completed advanced science coursework (i.e., at least one course classi- fied as more challenging than general biology); this percentage had in- creased to 63 percent by 2000. Most of this increase is attributable to increases in the rates at which graduates completed chemistry I and/or physics I because the percentage who had completed at least one course of either chemistry II, physics II, or advanced biology increased only from 15 to 18 percent between 1982 and 2000. The percentage of high school graduates who had completed courses in advanced academic mathematics (i.e., completed at least one course classified as more challenging than algebra II and geometry I) increased from 26 percent in 1982 to 45 percent in 2000. Moreover, the percentage that had completed advanced level II (i.e., precalculus or an introduction to analysis) more than tripled (from 5 percent to 18 percent). The percent- age that had completed advanced level III (i.e., a course in calculus) doubled (from 6 percent to 13 percent). Female studentsâ interest in science, as reflected in the percentages of male and female high school students taking math and science classes, has also increased (Table 2-1). Womenâs interest in the lower-level mathematics classes has consis- tently been higher than that of male students, and has been growing. For the higher-level mathematics classes, womenâs participation has clearly grown, although the percentage of females taking these courses lags a bit behind the percentage of male students. Likewise, a greater percentage of women are taking biology and chemistry. Additional evidence of female high school studentsâ interest in S&E can be gleaned from the percentage of women taking advanced place- ment (AP) subject exams in high school. In general, women are more likely to take AP exams than men: in 2004, 56.2 percent of AP participants were women (College Board, 2005). In selected fields, it is clear that women are quite interested in S&E (Table 2-2).
16 T A B L E 2 -1 P er ce nt ag e of H ig h Sc ho ol G ra d u at es T ak in g Se le ct ed M at he m at ic s an d S ci en ce C ou rs es in H ig h Sc ho ol , b y Se x: 1 99 0, 1 99 4, a nd 1 99 8 19 90 19 94 19 98 C ou rs e T ot al M al e Fe m al e T ot al M al e Fe m al e T ot al M al e Fe m al e M at h em at ic s G eo m et ry 63 .2 62 .1 64 .2 70 .0 64 .3 72 .2 75 .1 73 .7 77 .3 A lg eb ra I I 52 .9 51 .0 54 .6 61 .1 57 .7 61 .6 61 .7 59 .8 63 .7 T ri go n om et ry 9. 6 9 .8 9 .4 11 .7 11 .1 12 .3 8 .9 8 .2 9 .7 P re ca lc u lu s 13 .4 14 .0 12 .8 17 .3 16 .3 18 .3 23 .1 23 .0 22 .9 C al cu lu s 6 .5 7 .5 5 .6 9 .3 9 .5 9 .1 1 1. 0 11 .2 10 .6 Sc ie n ce B io lo gy 90 .9 89 .4 92 .3 93 .2 91 .8 94 .5 92 .7 91 .4 94 .1 A P / H on or s B io lo gy 10 .1 9 .4 10 .8 11 .9 10 .9 12 .8 16 .2 14 .5 18 .0 C h em is tr y 48 .9 47 .7 50 .0 55 .8 52 .9 58 .5 60 .4 57 .1 63 .5 P h ys ic s 21 .5 25 .4 18 .0 24 .5 27 .0 22 .2 28 .8 31 .7 26 .2 E n gi n ee ri n g 4 .2 4 .4 4 .1 4 .5 3 .9 5 .0 6 .7 7 .1 6 .5 N O T E S: N u m be rs h av e be en r ev is ed f ro m p re vi ou sl y pu bl is he d f ig u re s. T he se d at a on ly r ep or t th e pe rc en ta ge o f st u d en ts w ho e ar ne d c re d it in ea ch c ou rs e w hi le in h ig h sc ho ol a nd d o no t c ou nt th os e st u d en ts w ho to ok th es e co u rs es p ri or to e nt er in g hi gh s ch oo l. In cl u d ed in th e to ta ls b u t no t sh ow n se pa ra te ly a re g ra d u at es w ho se s ex w as n ot r ep or te d . SO U R C E : N SF ( 20 03 :1 03 ).
RECRUITING WOMEN STUDENTS 17 Tables 2-1 and 2-2 suggest that a large and growing proportion of female secondary students appear to be interested in S&E. Overall enrollments in both public and private secondary schools have risen over time, suggesting that greater numbers of females are en- rolling in secondary education (US DOE, 2004). This finding should trans- late into greater numbers of women majoring in S&E as undergraduates. Evidence for that conclusion can be found in the number of S&E baccalaureate degrees awarded to women (Figure 2-1). The number of TABLE 2-2 Percentage of AP Examinees Who Are Female, by Subject, 2004 Percentage of Examinees Subject Who Are Female Biology 58 Calculus AB 48 Calculus BC 40 Chemistry 46 Computer science A and AB 15 Physics B 35 Physics C 25 Statistics 50 SOURCE: NAE and NRC (2005). FIGURE 2-1 Number of baccalaureate degrees awarded, by field and gender, 1966-2001. SOURCE: NSF (2004c).
18 TO RECRUIT AND ADVANCE WOMEN STUDENTS AND FACULTY TABLE 2-3 Percentage of Bachelorâs Degrees Awarded to Women, by Field, 2001 Field Percent All fields 57.4 S&E 50.6 Sciences 55.9 Biological/agricultural sciences 57.3 Computer sciences 27.6 Earth, atmospheric, and ocean sciences 40.9 Mathematics/statistics 48.0 Physical sciences 41.7 Psychology 77.5 Social sciences 54.8 Engineering 20.1 Non-S&E 60.5 SOURCE: NSF (2004c). women receiving baccalaureate degrees in S&E has risen substantially and is now equal to or above the number of men. Women and men pursue particular S&E disciplines to different ex- tents. A greater portion of degrees in biological and agricultural sciences, psychology, and the social sciences went to women in 2001 (Table 2-3), whereas most degrees in engineering were awarded to men. When the evidence of womenâs interest in S&E is compared with the intentions of college freshmen to major in S&E, one might expect many more female S&E majors. However, womenâs interest in majoring in S&E has not changed very much. The percentage of freshmen intending to major in S&E between 1977 and 2002 has risen (Table 2-4): â¢ For white females, the percentage has risen slightly since 1977, from about 20 percent to about 24 percent in 2002, but has dropped slightly from a high in the early 1990s. â¢ For Asian American females, the percentage has risen from about 30 percent to about 34 percent and, like the data for whites, is lower in 2002 than it was in the 1990s. â¢ For black females, there has been a noticeable increase from about 21 percent to about 33 percent. â¢ For Mexican American/Chicana and Puerto Rican American females, there has been an increase from about 25 percent to about 31 percent.
RECRUITING WOMEN STUDENTS 19 â¢ For American Indian/Alaskan Native females, there has been a slight increase from about 26 percent to about 27 percent. For all races or ethnicities, male freshmen are more likely than female freshmen to intend to major in S&E, generally defined, and in specific fields such as engineering. Female freshmen, however, are more likely than male freshmen to intend to major in biological and agricultural sci- ences along with social and behavioral sciences, regardless of race or ethnicity. The proportion of women freshmen intending to major in S&E is fairly consistent across all S&E disciplines. More men are choosing com- puter science, whereas fewer men are choosing the physical sciences and the biological/agricultural sciences (Table 2-5). Women are increasingly choosing the biological/agricultural sciences, social/behavior sciences, and engineering over the physical sciences, mathematics/statistics, and computer sciences. The combination of these data on high school interest in S&E, enroll- ment data, degree data, and freshmen interest in S&E suggests that more women are receiving degrees in S&E because the number of women at- tending postsecondary institutionsârather than the proportion of colle- giate women interested in S&Eâis rising. In fact, female freshmen are not much more interested in S&E than they used to be, nor has the distribu- tion of womenâs interest in particular disciplines changed much. Women still prefer the biological sciences over engineering. Ultimately, it is the studentâs decision to apply and enroll in a college program. One can simply portray this decision as a binary choice to pur- sue an S&E program in college or not. Universities are increasingly chal- lenged in their recruiting efforts as prospective students see lower ben- efits or higher costs in pursuing an S&E degree. Some costs, such as paying for college, affect both male and female students.1 However, other factors affect male and female students differently. Two obstacles sometimes encountered in recruiting more women to undergraduate study in S&E are differences in preparation for such study and negative attitudes about S&E. As for differences in preparation, women face more of an uphill battle to succeed in an S&E programânot because of a difference in aptitude, but because they have to absorb more information in less time. Both men and women take S&E courses in high school, but there is a slight but important difference in the kinds of courses they take. Women are more likely to take mathematics courses 1For example, if S&E degrees take longer to achieve than non-S&E degrees, students concerned about financing college might be tempted to enroll in non-S&E programs.
20 TO RECRUIT AND ADVANCE WOMEN STUDENTS AND FACULTY TABLE 2-4 Freshmen Intending to Major in S&E, by Race/Ethnicity, Sex, and Field: Selected Years, 1977-2002 (percentage distribution) Race and Ethnicity/Sex/Field 1977 1981 1984 White 30.0 32.7 32.8 Men 39.5 43.9 42.9 Physical sciences 4.5 3.8 3.2 Biological/agricultural sciences 8.2 6.7 6.3 Mathematics/statistics 1.3 0.9 1.1 Computer sciences 2.1 7.2 6.5 Social/behavioral sciences 6.6 5.8 6.3 Engineering 16.8 19.5 19.5 Women 20.3 22.5 23.2 Physical sciences 1.5 1.3 1.3 Biological/agricultural sciences 6.2 4.8 5.0 Mathematics/statistics 1.1 1.0 1.3 Computer sciences 1.2 4.5 3.0 Social/behavioral sciences 8.4 7.6 9.2 Engineering 1.9 3.3 3.4 Asian American 43.1 49.4 49.6 Men 55.6 60.7 61.0 Physical sciences 6.3 5.4 5.2 Biological/agricultural sciences 10.0 7.9 10.9 Mathematics/statistics 1.6 1.2 1.1 Computer sciences 3.5 6.3 6.1 Social/behavioral sciences 4.5 3.4 5.1 Engineering 29.7 36.5 32.6 Women 29.8 37.2 37.9 Physical sciences 3.4 2.7 3.2 Biological/agricultural sciences 9.3 9.2 10.6 Mathematics/statistics 1.3 1.6 1.2 Computer sciences 3.6 7.2 5.6 Social/behavioral sciences 7.0 7.0 6.9 Engineering 5.2 9.5 10.4 African American 26.5 33.0 30.9 Men 34.7 40.5 37.0 Physical sciences 2.0 1.6 1.1 Biological/agricultural sciences 5.2 4.1 5.0 Mathematics/statistics 0.7 0.8 0.5 Computer sciences 2.7 10.5 10.5 Social/behavioral sciences 9.0 6.0 7.1 Engineering 15.1 17.5 12.8 Women 20.8 27.9 26.8 Physical sciences 0.9 1.0 0.9 Biological/agricultural sciences 3.8 3.8 4.9 Mathematics/statistics 0.7 0.8 0.7 Computer sciences 1.9 9.3 8.9 Social/behavioral sciences 11.1 8.3 7.6 Engineering 2.4 4.7 3.8
RECRUITING WOMEN STUDENTS 21 1987 1990 1993 1996 1999 2002 27.8 29.3 31.7 32.3 31.7 31.3 35.6 37.3 39.8 40.4 40.0 39.6 2.8 3.2 3.3 2.7 2.4 2.8 5.3 5.8 8.1 8.4 7.1 6.2 1.0 1.0 0.9 0.8 0.7 0.9 3.3 2.9 3.2 5.6 7.7 5.5 7.0 7.6 7.6 6.7 6.3 7.2 16.2 16.8 16.7 16.2 15.8 17.0 20.9 22.7 25.2 25.7 24.9 23.9 1.2 1.3 2.0 1.6 1.6 1.5 4.3 4.9 7.3 9.3 8.8 7.6 0.9 0.8 0.7 0.7 0.6 0.7 0.9 0.9 0.6 0.8 1.1 0.5 11.2 11.9 11.2 10.5 10.4 11.1 2.4 2.9 3.4 2.8 2.4 2.5 47.5 42.8 42.8 48.0 47.5 43.2 56.0 52.7 51.1 58.0 60.0 55.0 3.2 3.4 2.8 2.0 2.0 2.2 11.1 10.9 13.4 11.3 8.9 10.2 0.7 1.0 0.6 0.7 0.6 0.9 4.6 4.3 4.2 11.6 19.4 8.1 5.4 6.6 6.5 4.3 4.8 6.1 31.0 26.5 23.6 28.1 24.3 27.5 38.1 33.2 34.5 37.5 35.9 33.5 2.4 1.6 2.2 2.3 1.4 1.6 13.0 9.4 13.5 14.1 13.3 13.5 1.2 0.8 0.8 0.6 0.6 0.8 2.6 1.8 1.4 3.4 6.2 1.6 11.3 12.2 10.7 10.0 8.5 9.9 7.6 7.4 5.9 7.1 5.9 6.1 31.0 31.5 37.9 36.9 37.2 35.4 36.8 35.1 44.6 40.8 41.7 40.2 1.3 1.2 2.0 1.2 1.4 1.3 4.1 4.5 6.8 6.6 5.8 5.8 0.7 0.4 0.6 0.5 0.6 0.4 6.3 6.7 6.6 8.8 13.2 8.2 6.9 7.5 7.4 6.2 7.4 8.0 17.5 14.8 21.2 17.5 13.3 16.5 26.8 29.6 34.0 34.3 34.0 32.5 0.9 0.7 1.7 1.5 1.0 1.3 3.9 5.0 7.8 9.9 9.2 10.0 0.6 0.5 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.5 4.4 5.1 4.6 5.0 5.3 2.5 11.2 13.4 11.7 12.5 13.8 14.5 5.8 4.9 7.6 4.8 4.1 3.7 continued
22 TO RECRUIT AND ADVANCE WOMEN STUDENTS AND FACULTY Mexican American/Chicano and Puerto Rican American 31.7 36.4 33.8 Men 39.4 44.1 43.1 Physical sciences 1.7 3.0 2.5 Biological/agricultural sciences 6.1 7.0 6.1 Mathematics/statistics 1.7 0.6 0.6 Computer sciences 2.9 5.9 9.3 Social and behavioral sciences 10.9 5.4 7.5 Engineering 16.1 22.2 17.1 Women 24.6 28.9 25.7 Physical sciences 0.7 1.7 1.4 Biological/agricultural sciences 5.8 6.6 5.9 Mathematics/statistics 0.3 0.3 0.8 Computer sciences 2.6 5.8 5.6 Social/behavioral sciences 13.1 9.4 7.8 Engineering 2.1 5.1 4.2 Other Latino NA NA NA Men NA NA NA Physical sciences NA NA NA Biological/agricultural sciences NA NA NA Mathematics/statistics NA NA NA Computer sciences NA NA NA Social/behavioral sciences NA NA NA Engineering NA NA NA Women NA NA NA Physical sciences NA NA NA Biological/agricultural sciences NA NA NA Mathematics/statistics NA NA NA Computer sciences NA NA NA Social/behavioral sciences NA NA NA Engineering NA NA NA American Indian/Alaskan Native 32.7 30.0 29.6 Men 37.9 39.5 32.8 Physical sciences 3.8 3.2 1.1 Biological/agricultural sciences 9.1 5.8 8.3 Mathematics/statistics 2.4 0.7 0.1 Computer sciences 1.5 4.0 3.3 Social/behavioral sciences 9.3 6.2 6.0 Engineering 11.8 19.6 14.0 Women 25.8 16.4 22.3 Physical sciences 1.3 1.1 0.8 Biological/agricultural sciences 5.9 3.5 8.3 Mathematics/statistics 0.7 0.1 1.0 Computer sciences 1.3 1.4 2.6 Social/behavioral sciences 11.8 8.1 7.5 Engineering 4.8 2.2 2.1 NA = not available. NOTE: The physical sciences include physics, chemistry, astronomy, and the earth, atmospheric, and ocean sciences. SOURCE: NSB (2004:Appendix Table 2-6). TABLE 2-4 Continued Race and Ethnicity/Sex/Field 1977 1981 1984
RECRUITING WOMEN STUDENTS 23 35.1 33.9 33.2 35.5 36.2 34.7 41.9 40.0 38.8 42.0 45.0 40.8 1.9 2.6 2.2 1.4 1.1 1.8 6.8 6.2 7.4 7.5 7.3 6.8 0.8 0.7 0.5 0.7 0.8 1.0 3.2 2.7 3.1 6.3 6.8 5.2 9.7 8.6 9.8 8.4 6.9 7.9 19.5 19.2 15.8 17.7 22.1 18.1 29.4 29.7 28.2 30.7 28.7 30.7 1.0 1.1 1.1 1.2 0.8 1.5 6.6 5.1 6.5 8.7 9.4 9.2 0.3 0.8 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.5 2.2 1.6 1.1 1.7 1.4 0.6 14.9 16.5 14.7 14.3 13.8 16.7 4.4 4.6 4.4 4.4 2.9 2.2 NA NA 38.0 41.3 37.2 35.4 NA NA 40.4 51.4 45.4 42.2 NA NA 1.8 1.6 1.9 2.0 NA NA 8.7 8.6 5.3 6.9 NA NA 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.9 NA NA 2.9 6.9 9.4 4.8 NA NA 9.0 7.9 9.7 10.0 NA NA 17.7 26.0 18.7 17.6 NA NA 35.4 32.2 31.3 31.1 NA NA 2.0 1.1 1.1 1.5 NA NA 9.9 7.8 9.4 8.3 NA NA 0.2 0.4 0.3 0.6 NA NA 1.5 1.8 1.7 0.9 NA NA 17.0 14.9 15.5 16.6 NA NA 4.8 6.2 3.3 3.2 31.5 31.8 31.9 33.6 35.4 32.0 39.7 35.8 35.9 40.1 39.0 36.8 3.6 4.9 2.0 3.0 2.9 2.2 7.2 7.4 9.5 8.1 7.9 5.3 0.8 0.9 0.8 0.6 0.7 0.8 2.6 1.3 1.9 5.5 5.4 4.0 7.2 7.3 8.2 7.7 7.0 8.6 18.3 14.0 13.5 15.2 15.1 15.9 23.4 26.2 26.5 27.8 30.0 27.2 0.9 1.7 1.0 2.2 2.4 1.4 5.6 7.5 6.7 9.3 10.4 8.8 1.2 0.1 0.6 0.4 0.5 0.4 0.7 1.1 1.6 1.2 1.3 0.5 11.3 12.4 12.4 11.4 12.7 13.3 3.7 3.4 4.2 3.3 2.7 2.8 1987 1990 1993 1996 1999 2002
24 T A B L E 2 -5 Fr es hm en I nt en d in g to M aj or in S & E , b y Se x an d F ie ld : S el ec te d Y ea rs , 1 97 7- 20 02 ( pe rc en ta ge d is tr ib u ti on ) Se x/ Fi el d 19 77 19 81 19 84 19 87 19 90 19 93 19 96 19 99 20 02 M en 10 0. 0 10 0. 0 10 0. 0 10 0. 0 10 0. 0 10 0. 0 10 0. 0 10 0. 0 10 0. 0 P h ys ic al s ci en ce s 10 .3 7. 9 6. 9 7. 0 7. 4 7. 5 5. 9 5. 4 5. 9 B io lo gi ca l/ ag ri cu lt u ra l sc ie n ce s 20 .1 15 .1 14 .8 14 .8 15 .6 20 .4 18 .4 15 .5 15 .0 M at h em at ic s/ st at is ti cs 3. 2 2. 2 2. 5 2. 4 2. 4 2. 0 1. 8 1. 8 2. 2 C om p u te r sc ie n ce s 5. 5 16 .9 16 .1 9. 7 8. 8 8. 5 15 .5 21 .9 14 .6 So ci al / be h av io ra l sc ie n ce s 17 .5 13 .0 14 .9 19 .7 20 .5 18 .5 16 .1 15 .5 18 .1 E n gi n ee ri n g 43 .0 44 .9 44 .8 46 .4 45 .4 42 .9 42 .4 39 .9 44 .0 W om en 10 0. 0 10 0. 0 10 0. 0 10 0. 0 10 0. 0 10 0. 0 10 0. 0 10 0. 0 10 0. 0 P h ys ic al s ci en ce s 7. 3 5. 9 5. 3 4. 9 5. 1 6. 9 6. 2 5. 4 5. 7 B io lo gi c a l/ ag ri c u lt u ra l sc ie n ce s 28 .8 20 .1 21 .7 21 .1 21 .0 28 .2 32 .6 32 .0 31 .1 M at h em at ic s/ st at is ti c s 5. 0 4. 2 5. 2 3. 8 3. 4 2. 8 2. 5 2. 3 2. 6 C om p u te r sc ie n ce s 6. 6 21 .5 15 .7 6. 1 6. 3 4. 2 5. 6 7. 0 3. 2 So c i al / be h av io ra l sc ie n ce s 42 .4 33 .3 37 .3 51 .0 50 .5 43 .5 40 .7 42 .3 45 .8 E n gi n ee ri n g 9. 9 15 .0 14 .6 13 .2 13 .8 14 .4 12 .6 11 .2 11 .5 N O T E : P hy si ca l s ci en ce s in cl u d e ph ys ic s, c he m is tr y, a st ro no m y, a nd e ar th , a tm os ph er ic , a nd o ce an s ci en ce s. SO U R C E : N SB ( 20 04 :A p p en d ix T ab le 2 -6 ).
RECRUITING WOMEN STUDENTS 25 such as geometry, algebra II, and trigonometry, whereas men are slightly more likely to take precalculus and calculus. Men tend to take more mathematics earlier in their education. This may give them an edge in preparation. Furthermore, men are more likely to take physics and engi- neering, whereas women are more likely to take biology and chemistry (NSF, 2003:Appendix Table 1-1).2 Other studies have suggested, however, that women are not under- prepared compared with men. In its study of beginning postsecondary students, the U.S. Department of Education states: âThe low S&E enroll- ment by women implies that a very stringent selection mechanism might be at work in S&E program entry. The selection mechanismâeither by women themselves or by institutional forces or by a joint effect of bothâ probably filters out all but a small group of highly resilient women for S&E programs. These women who enter S&E fields are likely to have strong family support, high expectation, healthy self-confidence, and solid academic preparationâ (US DOE, 2000:88). However, these students were successfully recruited. The challenge lies in recruiting other studentsâ and they may have less preparation. As for the second obstacleânegative attitudes toward S&Eâwomen tend to have less interest, expectations for success, and confidence regard- ing S&E than men (Xie and Shauman, 2003). Therefore, they may perceive fewer benefits to S&E education and careers. In the past, the culture of S&E was male-dominated. Now, even though the field is more open to a more diverse set of students and practitioners, many young people still view S&E as something men do. According to data collected by the U.S. Department of Education for the year 2000, female 4th, 8th, and 12th graders were less likely than men to agree with the statements âI like mathematicsâ and âI am good at mathematicsâ (NSF, 2003). Similar re- sults were found for the statement âI like scienceâ and âI am good at science.â Prospective female students also may hear stories about harass- ment, âglass ceilings,â lower salaries, and the marginalization of women in college (i.e., being excluded from more powerful or relevant positions or organizations). Indeed, the satisfaction or the return on the investment that a female student expects to receive may be lower. Graduate Students Women are increasingly filling the graduate education ranks in S&E (Figure 2-2). Over the 1990s the number of women enrolled in U.S. gradu- 2Peter and Horn (2005) argue, however, that women have closed the math gap in the highest mathematics course taken.
26 FI G U R E 2 -2 F em al e sh ar e of S & E g ra d u at e st u d en ts , b y fi el d : 1 99 1 an d 2 00 1. SO U R C E : N SF ( 20 04 c) .
RECRUITING WOMEN STUDENTS 27 ate schools increased from 133,737 to 168,468, and the percentage of fe- male graduate students in science and engineering increased from 34 percent to 41 percent (NSF, 2003). And like undergraduates, women are not distributed evenly across all S&E fields. A significant drop-off, however, may occur between the number of women who receive a baccalaureate degree and the number who enroll in a graduate program. The numbers and percentages fall off with each successively higher degree (Figure 2-3). The gap between bachelorâs de- grees and masterâs degrees appears to have narrowed somewhat over the past 35 years; but overall the number of women who receive masterâs or doctoral degrees do not seem to be closing in on the level for women receiving bachelorâs degrees (Figure 2-4). Many studentsâboth men and womenâchoose to go into employ- ment, rather than continue in higher education after receiving their bachelorâs degrees. Some evidence suggests that women are no more likely to leave the pathway than are men. According to the National Sci- ence Foundation (NSF), âLongitudinal data show that there is no more attrition for female bachelorâs degree recipientsâregardless of degree fieldâthan for males between baccalaureate receipt and graduate enroll- ment. Among S&E bachelorâs degree recipients, women are more likely than men to pursue additional study. In 1999, 33 percent of the women and 28 percent of the men who had received an S&E baccalaureate in academic year 1996-1997 or 1997-1998 were enrolled in an educational program either full or part timeâ (NSF, 2003:35). At the graduate level, at least three challenges confront present efforts to enhance recruitment of women: departmental culture, a lack of female- friendly policies, and negative attitudes toward graduate education or career. As for departmental culture, most prospective female graduate students are fresh from the experiences of their undergraduate programs, which may bolster their views of marginalization, particularly in ad- vanced undergraduate coursework. The male professors who dominate S&E departments may feel more comfortable working with male gradu- ate students. Both male faculty and male graduates may unintentionally signal to women candidates that they would be less welcome. Family-friendly policies are important for graduate students, espe- cially for women who did not begin graduate school immediately after receiving a baccalaureate degree. Time spent on graduate study outside of the classroom is much more demanding and much more likely to be both during and outside the nine-to-five time frame. At this stage of their education, women, as the primary caregivers, begin to face the work- family conflicts so often described in the context of faculty women. Finally, women may have a negative view of graduate education or career. Women may be less comfortable, and be less interested, in areas
28 TO RECRUIT AND ADVANCE WOMEN STUDENTS AND FACULTY 0 50,000 100,000 150,000 200,000 250,000 19 66 19 68 19 70 19 72 19 74 19 76 19 78 19 80 19 82 19 84 19 86 19 88 19 90 19 92 19 94 19 96 19 98 20 00 Bachelor's Degrees Master's Degrees Doctoral Degrees FIGURE 2-3 Number of women receiving bachelorâs degrees, masterâs degrees, and doctoral degrees in science and engineering, 1966-2001. NOTE: Data for 1999 unavailable. SOURCE: NSF (2004b). 0.0 20.0 40.0 60.0 80.0 100.0 19 66 19 68 19 70 19 72 19 74 19 76 19 78 19 80 19 82 19 84 19 86 19 88 19 90 19 92 19 94 19 96 19 98 20 00 Bachelor's Degrees Master's Degrees Doctoral Degrees FIGURE 2-4 Percentage of women receiving bachelorâs degrees, masterâs degrees, and doctoral degrees in science and engineering, 1966-2001. NOTE: Data for 1999 unavailable. SOURCE: NSF (2004b).
RECRUITING WOMEN STUDENTS 29 that are primarily seen as âmale,â a view that may be reinforced in a prospective female graduate student when visiting a campus where no faculty members in the department of interest are female, and there are few female graduates. An additional challenge for graduate recruiting lies in the potential for employment for individuals with baccalaureate degrees. Women and men with bachelorâs degrees may question the value of continued education. Postdocs The number of postdoctoral positions in S&E has increased over time (Figure 2-5). In 1979 postdoctoral men outnumbered women by a ratio of about four to one. By 2002 that ratio had dropped to about two to one. In 1979 women made up about 18 percent of all postdocs, but by 2002 that number had risen to about 34 percent. Four factors may explain the slightly greater drop in females becom- ing postdocs, relative to females receiving Ph.D.âs: (1) insufficient advis- ing or mentoring during the graduate program; (2) negative experiences during the graduate program; (3) individual preferences about career goals and views on the relevance of higher education; and (4) biases against female applicants for postdoctoral positions. 0 5,000 10,000 15,000 20,000 25,000 30,000 35,000 40,000 45,000 50,000 19 79 19 81 19 83 19 85 19 87 19 89 19 91 19 93 19 95 19 97 19 99 20 01 Male Female FIGURE 2-5 Postdocs in science and engineering, by gender, 1979-2002. SOURCE: NSF, WebCASPAR.
30 TO RECRUIT AND ADVANCE WOMEN STUDENTS AND FACULTY A fuller discussion of challenges for postdocs in general is presented in the National Research Council publication, Enhancing the Postdoctoral Experience for Scientists and Engineers: A Guide for Postdoctoral Scholars, Advisers, Institutions, Funding Organizations, and Disciplinary Societies. RECRUITMENT STRATEGIES Undergraduate Student Recruitment In general, three principal strategies are used to recruit greater num- bers of female undergraduate students: increasing preparation in second- ary school, replacing the negative views and attitudes about S&E educa- tion (and careers) with positive ones, and creating a more female-friendly educational environment. Recruitment efforts are very important at the undergraduate level, because this is the beginning of the S&E pipeline that leads to employment as a scientist or engineer (including in academia as a faculty member). The approaches adopted by institutions that have enjoyed success in bringing women into science and engineering include introducing previ- ously unconsidered disciplines to potential students, acclimating students to science, engineering, and college-level academics, and altering the cur- ricular and admission characteristics to fit the needs of new students. BOX 2-1 Summary of Challenges Undergraduate Recruiting â Female students are less likely to take higher levels of mathematics prior to enrolling in college and are more likely to concentrate on the biological sciences or chemistry. â Female students have a less positive view of science and mathematics. Graduate Recruiting â Departmental cultures are more of an obstacle for women than for men. â Universities often lack female-friendly policies. â Students have negative perceptions of academic careers. Postdoctoral Recruiting â Universities provide insufficient advising and mentoring during the graduate program. â Postdocs had negative experiences during their graduate careers. â Postdocs have individual preferences about career goals and views on the relevance of higher education. â There may be bias against female postdoctoral candidates.
RECRUITING WOMEN STUDENTS 31 Long-standing programs have evolved with successive iterations. The four institutions visited found that the introduction and success of a pro- gram often led to the development of another program that met different needs, which, in turn, led to still greater percentages of women. The pro- grams and curricula often had feedback/feed-forward effects. At each point of the undergraduate degree processâthe period prior to enrollment in college, introduction to college-level academics, declara- tion of a major, undergraduate research, consideration of career pathâ the programs had the same general themes, although the execution or deployment of concepts varied at different institutions. Actions taken by different members of the academic institution, from undergraduate stu- dents up to the provost and president, had significant impacts at each of these points. Some institutions took a comprehensive approach to recruiting women, starting with outreach programs for K-12 students, recruiting events for prospective undergraduate students, and targeted efforts to retain women students through graduation. Some programs became very elaborate and large; others maintained a small, more informal atmosphere. At times, outreach programs proved to be beneficial to the institution in ways beyond just recruiting female students. Elementary school outreach programs, for example, promoted good relations with the local commu- nity, which is positive for public institutions. Approaches adopted by the four universities ranged from those fairly low cost (several thousand dollars for student-run programs) to those with significant costs (a women in science and technology program incor- porating a designated womenâs dormitory and a dedicated class section with teaching assistant, faculty, and administrative coordinators). Some actions, such as facilitating increased interaction between students and faculty, cost almost nothing and yet can have large impacts. BOX 2-2 Undergraduate Recruitment Strategies â Have the institution signal the importance of women. â Enhance science, engineering, and mathematics education at the K-12 level. â Reach out to students at the K-12 level. â Develop better methods for identifying prospective students. â Create alternative assessment methods for admissions. â Organize/improve on-campus orientations. â Develop bridging programs.
32 TO RECRUIT AND ADVANCE WOMEN STUDENTS AND FACULTY Signaling the Importance of Women At the institutional level, many different indicators, both direct and indirect, can set the climate and signal that the institution as a whole is committed to valuing and recruiting women. For prospective under- graduate students, an obvious indication is the willingness to commit significant resources to supporting women students such as dedicated space in a dormitory for women students in science and engineering. Presidents, provosts, and deans can demonstrate their commitment to encouraging a diverse student bodyâincluding womenâthrough their speeches, conversations, and writings. Top-level administrators can also set targets for diversity to encourage recruitment. Both top administrators and chairs should meet with students. Institutional signals need not require a substantial commitment of resources. One university moved the office of the program for women in engineering next to that of the dean of engineering. This uncomplicated move accomplished several things: it brought visibility and status to the program because of its proximity to the deanâs office; it increased interac- tion between the deanâs office staff and the program staff, facilitating collaboration on events; and it kept the issue of women in engineering in the forefront, less likely to be overlooked in the multitude of tasks facing the dean. Indirectly, campuses can take various steps to show support for women on campus. One approach is establishing a committee on the status of women, including those who are undergraduate students. At one institution visited, the president formed and chaired a diversity advi- sory council and made a personal commitment to its activities. The coun- cil organized a campus-wide survey on gender issues and created several working groups to look at different aspects of diversity. An initial assess- ment concluded that the university was not promoting diversity, and the council made recommendations accordingly. Because the council had broad representation from across the campus, the recommendations were viewed as coming from the community rather than as an edict from above. The working groups monitored the success of specific practices imple- mented by a particular department or college, so that the successful prac- tices could be used as models by colleagues in other departments. Incen- tive mechanisms also were developed at various levels. Central to the success of the effort were the accountability mechanisms put in place. For example, each department reported its diversity plan to its dean, who reported it to the council. Departments were therefore able to discuss issues and compare activities. Such committees exist at many higher edu- cation institutions. They indirectly improve the climate on campus and may make it easier to recruit women into S&E majors.
RECRUITING WOMEN STUDENTS 33 In summary, institutional signaling can be demonstrated through â¢ communications from top administrators; â¢ highlighting gender inclusiveness as a goal of the institution; â¢ creating an office or committee charged with promoting gender inclusiveness; and â¢ monitoring student concerns through such things as climate sur- veys and focus groups. Enhancing S&E Education and Outreach Efforts at the K-12 Level One theme that resonates throughout this guide is the idea that the education-to-career pathway is interconnected, and that improvements at earlier stages can lead to improvements at later ones. One way to con- vince more women (and men) to enter science and engineering at the university level is by enhancing and improving S&E education at the elementary and secondary levels. Universities can play a role in such an effort for several reasons. First, they may have a much clearer idea of what skills employers want. Teaching those skills requires certain prereq- uisites. Universities can help secondary schools to develop the appropri- ate curricula. Second, universities teach secondary teachers. For example, one insti- tution visited approached the gatekeepersâhigh school teachersâwho could identify good students interested in computer science and direct them to university. Prompted by impending revisions in an advanced placement computer science exam, the National Science Foundation is- sued a call for proposals to prepare high school teachers for the change. A dean saw a recruiting opportunity and planned a program with dual objectives: to prepare high school teachers for the advanced placement change and, simultaneously, to discuss gender gap issues with them. The result was a summer institute attended by about 16 percent of all ad- vanced placement high school teachers in computer science in the United States. The teachers that participated learned about the need for more women in computer science and the enthusiasm of this university to re- cruit them. As a result, the percentage of women entering the universityâs computer science program increased to 18 percent during a four-year period. Examples of programs from schools not visited include project ASPIRE (Alabama Supercomputing Program to Inspire Computational Research in Education). This program âprovides 1-week and 2-week pro- fessional development programs for high school and middle school teach- ers to help them instruct students in solving problems using a computa- tional science approach to problem solvingâ (US DOE, 2001). EQUALS, a
34 TO RECRUIT AND ADVANCE WOMEN STUDENTS AND FACULTY similar project, is also directed at educators at the K-12 level, in this case to enhance mathematics courses (US DOE, 2001). Overall, elementary and secondary school teachers can view universities and colleges as a valu- able resource. Aside from curricular issues and teacher preparation, secondary edu- cation must do everything it can do to combat the perception that S&E is something that only men do. Universities can assist secondary teachers by offering counterexamples: their own female students, who should be tapped to give presentationsâalong with female facultyâto secondary students. Third, universities have developed various outreach efforts to enter the world of secondary students. The programs and efforts used to intro- duce K-12 graders to science and engineering are quite varied. They ex- tend from programs that are simple, short term, and low cost, to those which are lengthy and require significant time and institutional resources. A coordinated series of events allows a department or college to offer outreach to students from kindergarten through high school. Some of the programs developed to increase childrenâs interest in science and engi- neering have even received national attention.3 Career day events at local schools are venues for introducing science and engineering research problems to students who, throughout their school years, may not have been exposed to such projects nor have had an opportunity to interact with scientists and engineers. These events are most successful when they have a demonstrated objective and some ap- plication to real-world problems. For the younger grades, toys that dem- onstrate scientific principles are used successfully. For older students, a visit to the university or college can be the basis of an interest in science. On one of the site visits, a department chair described how faculty from his department went into the elementary schools on a Saturday to talk to groups of fourth graders, parents, and teachers about engineering. They spiced up their presentations with demonstrations of small rockets, Jiggle Jelly, and other tools of interest to youngsters. Later they offered a day on engineering for female high school students, taught by female engineering graduate students. These strategies suggest that universities can help elementary and secondary education institutions to improve the quality of their S&E edu- cation, reach more women, and combat negative views about women in science and engineering by 3The National Science Foundationâs Program for Gender Equity has funded various ef- forts to elicit interest from K-12 girls in science and engineering. Information about these programs is available at http://www.nsf.gov.
RECRUITING WOMEN STUDENTS 35 â¢ including respect for diversity in science teacher training; â¢ offering a resource to elementary and secondary schools, which want to ensure that course and ancillary materials present a positive pic- ture of women in S&E; and â¢ having female college students and faculty interact with secondary students by means of visits, guest lectures, and judging science fairs, among other things. Alumni can also be an outreach resource. Broadening the Search for Applicants Higher education institutions must make sure that they are not miss- ing any potential S&E undergraduates. As noted earlier, one strategy for doing so is to form connections with secondary schools from which the potential undergraduates would be drawn. Two other pools of students are transfer and returning students who have interrupted their education. Transfer students enter a college or university from another institu- tion such as a community college or another four-year institution.4 But students may not transfer into the freshmen level. For example, students transferring from a community college may possess an A.S. degree and may transfer into a four-year institution as juniors. To successfully recruit students already enrolled in a postsecondary institution, institutions must form connections with one another. These connections may be formal articulation agreements or informal relationships between engineering faculty at a community college and at a neighboring four-year institution (NAE and NRC, 2005). A second group of prospective students comes from the pool of can- didates who finish secondary school and then halt their education for a period of time. Universities cannot identify these potential students by simply peering into secondary institutions. Some strategies used by uni- versities to identify these students include â¢ outreach activities to community colleges, including visits and lec- tures by four-year faculty, coordination of curricula, and the establish- ment of transfer offices at four-year institutions; â¢ articulation agreements to encourage the transfer of community college students (including women) to four-year institutions; and 4According to data from NSFâs National Survey of Recent College Graduates 2001, 47 percent of women with bachelorâs or masterâs degrees in S&E had attended a community college compared with 41 percent of men (based on weighted data taken from NSFâs SESTAT database on March 17, 2005; a table was constructed of the count for each âgenderâ by âattended community collegeâ).
36 TO RECRUIT AND ADVANCE WOMEN STUDENTS AND FACULTY â¢ outreach to high school students who do not go immediately into college programs. Revising the Admissions Process One way to recruit a greater number of female undergraduates is to consider a broader range of factors in deciding on admissions and to reexamine the gatekeeper requirements. One universityâs computer sci- ence program required all incoming students to have prior programming experience for admittance to the program, something women were less likely to have. The dean examined data for the institution and concluded that prior experience in programming and related skills were not corre- lated with future academic performance, thus programming experience should not dominate the admissions criteria for computer science majors. Any discussion of entry into programs immediately raises the specter of lowered admissions criteria and a dilution of the quality of admitted students. However, the institutions visited, rather than experiencing a diminution in student quality, found that the quality of students in- creased. At these institutions, admissions standards were not âloweredâ in the traditional sense of the word, but examined to determine how they contributed to student quality and success in the program. Organizing On-Campus Orientation At another university visited, an early deanâs decision to promote the participation of minorities and women in engineering led to a career day for middle and high school girls, a novel approach at the time. By 1980 the total engineering enrollment was 25 percent women and 12 percent Afri- can American, higher than the national average. Many of this universityâs departments devoted generous portions of their budgets to bringing prospective graduate students for weekend vis- its, including hotel stays. Prospective students were encouraged to spend a lot of time with women graduate students during visits. Finally, the school worked closely with the Society of Women Engi- neers in various activities, including a Career Day for Girls, a Bring Your Daughter to Work Day, and a Women Professionals from Industry pro- gram. At such recruiting events, female students can play an important role in the recruitment of prospective female students by voicing their views on the schoolâs climate and curriculum. One of the colleges of engineering visited brought 140 middle school students to campus for one week to interest them in careers in S&E. An- other program, modeled on Upward Bound, brought in female and mi- nority students from grades 9-12 who may have been talented but were
RECRUITING WOMEN STUDENTS 37 disadvantaged in math and science. The program sponsored a mentor for them in their own schools. A summer engineering program offered sopho- more and junior high school women and minorities several weeks of exposure to university faculty and students. This program has been suc- cessful; more than 30 percent of attendees have enrolled at the university. Yet another program begins by bringing sixth-graders to campus in groups from the same city. By bringing the students back each year, the university hoped they will form a cohesive group and eventually enroll in the universityâs science and engineering program. According to the dean of engineering, successful programs are those that stress repeated experi- ences and interaction with inspiring faculty. The president of one university decided to promote special events to recruit diverse undergraduate students. In what has become a longtime special event, several hundred female, African American, and Asian stu- dents are invited to spend the weekend on campus to meet with current students and faculty and to visit labs and other areas. The immediate goal of the university in initiating the program was to increase the female S&E student population. Such programs may be very useful for highly qualified applicants who are able to choose among many undergraduate institutions. To nurture and sustain initial interest and present more in-depth views of science and engineering, some institutions have opted for longer events. These can take the form of a week-long âcamp,â incorporating different areas of science or engineering, or multi-week sessions, typically held during the summer. These events familiarize students with science and engineering topics. An example of a summer camp from a school (not visited) was a week-long mathematics camp held twice, in 1999 and 2000, by the Department of Mathematics at the University of Southern Colo- rado. Chacon and Soto-Johnson (2003) note that the process of holding the camp involved, among other steps, identifying the purpose of the camp; securing funding; determining course curriculum; identifying and plan- ning ancillary activities; identifying instructors; identifying who would be invited to participate, how the admissions process would work, and how prospective invitees would be located; and program evaluation. In a similar effort, the chair of an engineering institute at one of the institutions visited brought high school and middle school students, as well as college freshmen, to the institute for a hands-on, week-long camp focusing on robotics and featuring LEGOs, motors, computers, and other devices. The students worked with PowerPoint presentations and a web site, set up contests, and watched demonstrations. Most programs of this type center on an on-site visit, meetings with faculty and graduates of the program, visits to labs that offer demonstra-
38 TO RECRUIT AND ADVANCE WOMEN STUDENTS AND FACULTY tion projects, and interaction with students. These events are designed to pique the interest of students who are considering attending the institu- tion. Such events are also geared toward identifying students who may not have considered pursuing a degree in science or engineering or who have never been introduced to the concept of pursuing science and engi- neering as a career. These programs address the following critical issues: â¢ Many middle and high school students have never been in a re- search lab and do not know what goes on in âresearch.â â¢ An introduction to women faculty drives home the point that women are experts in technical fields. â¢ Interaction with current students and degree graduates demon- strates the different levels of success possible. Younger students can more easily identify with speakers closer to their age than with senior faculty. â¢ Giving women undergraduate and graduate students the opportu- nity to teach younger students or K-12 teachers about their discipline helps these student feel that their knowledge is useful, which is highly motivating for them. These events are most frequently hosted by a department or a col- lege, because they can offer a range of lab visits and demonstration projects. The events do not need to be costly, nor do they always require a significant faculty or administration presence in the organization. One of the most successful events was hosted by a student organization at one of the universities visited. The organization recruited all of the speak- ers and the participants in demonstration projects (e.g., students and faculty) and undertook outreach to local high schools. The limited finan- cial outlay was provided by the dean of engineering. Some events even included parents, offering them parallel programming so that students and parents could meet separately with university representatives. On-campus orientations complement outreach efforts: instead of go- ing to the secondary schools, the secondary students are brought to cam- pus. Specific strategies have taken a number of forms, including â¢ science and engineering competitions or contests; â¢ visits with students and faculty; â¢ visits to labs or allowing prospective students to use major equip- ment such as telescopes or a scanning electron microscope; â¢ career day; and â¢ âbring your daughter to work day.â The length of strategies has also varied: day visits, weekend visits, or week-long or longer programs.
RECRUITING WOMEN STUDENTS 39 Developing Bridging Programs Bridging programs are held in the summer for students who have just graduated from high school and are preparing to enter a university or college in the fall. Such programs are intended to acclimatize students to the college level and to offer then a chance to brush up on certain sub- jectsâall to ease the transition from high school to college. Bridging pro- grams serve two primary functions: orientation and a jump-start on edu- cation. An example of a related program is a student exchange program between Princeton University and Smith College (the nationâs first womenâs college to have an engineering school). Designed for juniors, the exchange program is designed to help students succeed in graduate school and in engineering careers (Anonymous, 2005). Graduate Student Recruitment Because graduate students are recruited at the departmental level, faculty advisers and departments play a much bigger role in the environ- ment surrounding graduate students than surrounding undergraduate students. Indeed, the institutional setting for graduate students is in real- ity the department, and many aspects of graduate student training and life, such as stipends, may vary from department to department. Some disciplines follow a certain pattern of training and curriculum, in which an incoming graduate student may undertake a series of rotations through various faculty labs before choosing one in which to pursue a thesis. The process of qualifying examinations from the masterâs to doctoral level, the thesis proposal defense, and the thesis committee composition require- ments all may vary from department to department, even within the same school at a university. Within this setting, those at the highest levels in the institution must establish an environment supportive of women. Better academic preparation is less of a concern for graduate students BOX 2-3 Graduate Student Recruitment Strategies â Have the institution and S&E departments signal the importance of recruit- ing women. â Enhance science, engineering, and mathematics education at the under- graduate level. â Develop better methods for identifying prospective students. â Organize on-campus orientations. â Offer financial aid.
40 TO RECRUIT AND ADVANCE WOMEN STUDENTS AND FACULTY than for undergraduate students. Rather, the focus is on combating any negative views or experiences of undergraduates toward further study in science and engineering. Universities are also competing with employers at this point. The overall goal for universities is to show female students that they can be capable scientists and engineers and that they would benefit from the additional educational experience. Signaling the Importance of Women The university as a parent institution can provide some general struc- ture for graduate students such as uniform health insurance, housing, child care (if available), and parking. For most other things, graduate students look to their departments. General approaches to improving the recruitment and retention of graduate students are implemented by an institution, but often it is the tone set by an administration that actually facilitates change. A dean of engineering who came from a position in industry was supportive and outspoken about the value of graduate women and minorities in science and engineering. The ânational crisisâ in scientific and engineering talent cannot be resolved, he pointed out, without educating more women and minorities. He then praised the decision in 2000 by the âBig Ten Plusâ deans to quickly address the âpipeline problemâ and to share best prac- tices. According to the dean, the universityâs âindustrial partnersâ are making it clear that they highly value diversity and want to see more women and minorities among university graduates. âIf a company wants to sell a car to as many people as possible,â he said, âthey want a design team that represents all those people.â A diverse workforce requires a diverse student body. The role of the department chair in setting the tone of the department is also critical. A department chair can signal support in many ways, as was demonstrated at some of the institutions visited. The chair sets policy and procedure within the department and allocates resources to support various activities. The chair also has influence at various stages of the graduate program. Because graduate recruiting is conducted primarily at the department level, a chair can have a significant influence on how recruiting is conducted. For example, the chair can call for recruiting materials to be sent to a diverse group of universities and colleges. Like- wise, the chair can encourage faculty to ask their colleagues at peer insti- tutions to recommend diverse candidates for graduate study. During the degree program, the chair can decide what approach and tone will be adopted by the department when issues arise and provide support to activities aimed at helping women students. The chair can support and reinforce institutional policies on sexual harassment, provide funds for
RECRUITING WOMEN STUDENTS 41 refreshments at a lunchtime seminar series or journal club, or support a group that simply gets together to network and mentor one another. Finally, faculty support is important. As thesis advisers and lab direc- tors, faculty members are central figures in the daily lives of graduate students. They set the conditions of work in the lab or research group, determine the funding stream, and supervise studentsâ research. For many students the research group is also the center of social interaction and serves as their community. For this reason, faculty members, by setting the tone for the working environment, have more influence than anyone else. For faculty with less experience working with women graduate stu- dents, some issues that arise may not be anticipated. For example, per- sonal safety issues may be different for women working alone at night in a lab. One faculty member commented that whereas general safety issues had been âbackground noise,â as he put it, the issue of personal safety became a much higher priority when women students joined the lab. Similarly, safety issues also are a factor in housing arrangements for women; on-campus housing may be more important for women who may want to live closer to limit the distance to and from the lab at odd hours. A final resource for departments interested in better reaching pro- spective female graduate students is the departmentâs web site. âDepart- mental web sites are sometimes designed to emphasize the participation of womenâ (Whitten et al., 2003:253), which is an important step because the site may be the first entrÃ©e the student sees at an institution. Accord- ing to Bozeman and Hughes (2004:243), âA glance at the photographs on the web site of any large U.S. mathematics department leads to an unmis- takable conclusion: Almost all of the faces belong to men. Inevitably, there is a cluster of female faces, but these in all likelihood belong to the non-tenure-track faculty and staff members. From the vantage point of a student at a womenâs college or a minority-serving institution, this rev- elation is jarring.â An additional measure is for departments to specifi- cally reference the importance of diversity in admissions policies and practices (Cuny and Aspray, 2001). Thus institutional signaling can take the form of â¢ communications from deans and department chairs about the im- portance of inclusiveness: use of the departmentâs web site to inform women; departmental publications that promote inclusivenessâthat is, include pictures of female students, faculty, or scientists; â¢ monitoring student concerns through climate surveys and meet- ings with students; and â¢ developing female-friendly or family-friendly policies to support students on issues such as campus security or child care.
42 TO RECRUIT AND ADVANCE WOMEN STUDENTS AND FACULTY Enhancing and Improving Undergraduate S&E Programs Just as improvements in secondary school make it easier to recruit prospective undergraduates, improvements in womenâs experiences in undergraduate school make it easier for universities to recruit graduates. Strategies might entail establishing programs to give female S&E students greater access to research projects, which can better acclimate them to the kind of work expected in graduate school. In general, departments could encourage graduate students and faculty to work more with undergradu- ates. Steps taken by departments and institutions to combat any negative attitudes female students might have about continuing in higher educa- tion also would be helpful in recruiting women as well as men. Identifying Prospective Students Any efforts by faculty to advise undergraduates about the possibili- ties of going to graduate school and to bring especially talented under- graduates to the attention of departments would help graduate student recruitment. Bringing undergraduates together on campus for a confer- ence hosted by the university, for example, also could be beneficial. In 2000, the Computing Research Associationâs Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research held a workshop on recruiting and re- taining women graduate students that echoed these points and is rel- evant to the range of S&E disciplines. The first recommendation of the workshop was to âbroaden the recruitment pool beyond students with undergraduate CSE [computer science and engineering] majorsâ (Cuny and Aspray, 2001:3). âStudents without traditional backgrounds can suc- ceedâand indeed flourishâin CSE graduate programs. Departments should go beyond the traditional applicant pool to recruit and admit strong students without undergraduate degrees in CSE. The potential of such students can be judged on academic records, difficulty of electives, successful research experiences, leadership roles, involvement in computing-like activities in their work or volunteer efforts, and intern- ship experiencesâ (p. 4). Other recommendations from the Cuny and Aspray report suggest broadening the criteria used in admissions. Schools should also encour- age the reentry of students who have interrupted their education. Schools would therefore have to think more broadly about the relevance of broader criteria for admissions such as work experience. Organizing On-campus Orientations In a review of enculturation practices at a large public research uni- versity, Boyle and Boice (1998:88) noted that âthe departments that excel
RECRUITING WOMEN STUDENTS 43 at enculturating graduate students supplement the general orientation [held by the institution] with a departmentally sponsored orientation. These departments realize that it is the departmental culture, not neces- sarily the university culture, to which their incoming students will need to adjust.â Orientations could be held to introduce undergraduates to graduate students or faculty and to a departmentâs labs and research projects. Orientation also could take the form of bridging programs, simi- lar in purpose to those held between high school and the start of under- graduate education. Such programs could assess studentsâ skills and pro- cedures for remedying deficiencies such as reading lists and summer courses or mentoring (Cuny and Aspray, 2001). Offering Financial Aid Research assistantships are very valuable in promoting the careers of graduate students. Thus departments should ensure that they offer these positions in similar numbers to male and female candidates, and make the positions as flexible as possible. As one academic noted, âWhen gradu- ate aid comes in the form of teaching assistantships, as it does in my university, there is far less flexibility for taking time off. That especially affects womenâ (Kerber, 2005). Postdoctoral Recruiting Postdoctoral recruitment and the recruitment of new, tenure-track assistant professors involve many of the same issues (see Chapter 4 for additional discussion). Although institutional policies such as child care are likely to be important to both postdocs and new junior faculty, the hiring for these positions is conducted differently. BOX 2-4 Postdoctoral Recruitment Strategies â Have the institution and S&E departments signal the importance of recruit- ing women. â Enhance science, engineering, and mathematics education at the graduate level. â Develop better methods for identifying prospective postdocs. â Establish female- and family-friendly policies and practices. â Increase postdoctoral salaries.
44 TO RECRUIT AND ADVANCE WOMEN STUDENTS AND FACULTY 5Because postdocs were not a focus of this guide, readers are encouraged to refer to other reports that have addressed the postdoctoral experience in depth. See, for example, COSEPUP (2000), Davis (2005). Signaling the Importance of Women As with graduate students the university as a parent institution can provide some general structure for postdoctoral students such as uniform health insurance, housing, child care (if available), and parking. For most other things, postdoctoral students look to their departments, and espe- cially their labs. Approaches to improving the recruitment of postdoctoral students are implemented by an institution, and the tone set by an administration can facilitate change. A department chair can signal support in many ways, by setting policy and procedure within the department and allocat- ing resources to support various activities. Faculty support is paramount. Because postdoctoral recruiting is con- ducted primarily at the individual faculty or laboratory level, the role of the faculty member is critical. At this stage, faculty are no longer instruc- tors and advisers but peers and colleagues. How postdoctoral students are treated informs the perceptions and preferences of all involved, such as the considerations extended to women graduate students. Faculty members set the conditions of work, determine the funding source, and guide postdoctoral research. The research group is the social center and community for the postdoc. Another form of institutional signaling is creation of an organiza- tional mechanism for oversight of departmental practices regarding postdocs. At a minimum, deans, provosts, and departmental chairs can remind the faculty involved in postdoctoral searches that one component of the search is diversity. Because postdocs tend to be older than graduate students, they are likely to face the same kinds of challenges faced by junior faculty: two- body problem in finding jobs, child-bearing, family responsibilities, and financial issues.5 Enhancing and Improving the Graduate Experience Just as improvements in undergraduate education facilitate recruit- ment for graduate school, improving the graduate experience for women can ease the transition for women from predoctoral status to postdoctoral status. The process of learning about postdoctoral positions is partly for- mal (e.g., advertisements in the journal Science) and partly informal. As a resultâand perhaps more so than for junior facultyâwomen graduate
RECRUITING WOMEN STUDENTS 45 students need to engage in networking and plug into their S&E discipline. Moreover, having a well-known mentor or adviser is likely to improve dramatically the chances that a recent Ph.D. will land a postdoctoral posi- tion. Finally, women graduate students, as part of the process by which they earn a Ph.D., also need to obtain the skills that lab directors and other faculty desire in postdocs. Department chairs and faculty should encour- age all graduate students to develop good research, management, grant- writing, organizational, and time management skills, and ensure that women and men receive such training or mentoring equally. Identifying Prospective Students Faculty should advise their graduates about the possibilities and ben- efits of postdoctoral appointments and bring especially talented gradu- ates to the attention of departments. Establishing Female- and Family-Friendly Policies and Practices By adopting various institutional policies and practices, universities could make themselves more attractive to prospective postdocs of either gender. These policies and practices include: â¢ Establishing parental leave policies and child care. Postdocs should be eligible for such benefits, which are often given to faculty. A recent survey of postdocs found that 34 percent were raising children (Davis, 2005). â¢ Instituting sexual harassment sensitivity programs. During the site vis- its, many people pointed out that within each discipline certain academic departments have reputations for being receptive or not receptive to women. At each institution, the issue of sexual harassment was raised. Most institutions responded that they have policies against sexual harass- ment and programs designed to educate employees. To improve the cli- mate of a department for current faculty and to aid in recruiting women faculty, some institutions have taken steps to combat sexual harassment. At some institutions the policies were buttressed by personal meetings with a dean or other member of the administration. â¢ Instituting regular studies to determine the equity of salaries and re- sources. â¢ Offering housing subsidies and access to medical and dental benefits. Sigma Xi recently conducted a multi-campus survey of postdocs, and the preliminary results suggested that housing costs are a particular burden for many postdocs because their host institutions tend to be concentrated in pricey areas. More than 46 percent of respondents work in one of the 15 most expensive cities in the United States. It helps that most of the mar-
46 TO RECRUIT AND ADVANCE WOMEN STUDENTS AND FACULTY ried postdocs (who, in all, constitute almost 70 percent of our sample) have spouses who are gainfully employed. On the flip side, at least 28 percent of the married postdocs do not have spouses bringing home a paycheck. The statistic is worse for international postdocs with spouses, 43 percent of whom do not work outside the home, in some cases because of visa restrictions. Of the many single-earner households, nearly half (49 percent) spend more than a third of their income on rent (Davis, 2005:7). Today the costs of health care are quite high. It may not be well known that postdocs who receive independent funding may not be auto- matically eligible for health insurance. Postdocs also are seeking greater access to retirement benefits (Davis, 2005). Increasing Postdoctoral Salaries A majority of postdoctoral positions are federally funded, and the majority of those are funded by the National Institutes of Health (Brainard, 2005). According to Kreeger (2004:178), âThe salary levels of the National Research Service Awards (NRSA) given by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) are being used as de facto guidelines by postdocs and their supporters in university administration in seeking pay rises. . . . Adminis- trators both inside and outside the United States take note of the NRSA scales, but these are not official guidelines and have no teeth.â One solu- tion would be to set minimum salary standards at each institution. Uni- versities could set postdoctoral salaries against peer institutions or con- sider the NRSA salary level as a minimum threshold. At a minimum, administrators could survey postdocs at their institutions to determine whether postdocs in similar positions are paid similarly or could make salary guidelines more transparent.
RECRUITING WOMEN STUDENTS 47 BOX 2-5 Summary of Strategies for Recruiting Women Undergraduate, Graduate, and Postdoctoral Students What faculty can do: â¢ Advise and mentor prospective and current female undergraduate and grad- uate students and postdocs. â¢ Conduct outreach to K-12 institutions to help prepare women for college and to combat negative attitudes about the place of women in science and engineering. â¢ Network with faculty at community colleges and other four-year institutions to broaden the search for prospective recruits. â¢ Invite female students to participate in research opportunities. â¢ Participate in bridge programs, campus visits, lectures, and seminars. â¢ Broaden admission criteria and cast a wider net in recruiting students. What department chairs can do: â¢ Create an image of the department as female friendly and feature this im- age in promotional materials and on the departmentâs web site. â¢ Communicate with faculty about the importance of diversity in recruiting. â¢ Support and reinforce a faculty memberâs commitment to advising and en- couraging female students and postdocs through service awards and recognition during tenure and promotion reviews. â¢ Monitor the allocation of resources to students and survey studentsâ opinions. What deans and provosts can do: â¢ Communicate with department chairs about the importance of diversity in recruiting. â¢ Sponsor competitions, contests, career days, bridge programs, campus ori- entations, and other efforts to bring prospective students to campus. â¢ Monitor departmentsâ progress in increasing the percentage of female stu- dents and postdocs. â¢ Conduct school-wide assessments of status of women. What presidents can do: â¢ Publicly state the institutionâs commitment to diversity and inclusiveness whenever possible. â¢ Create an institutional structure, such as a standing committee, to address diversity issues within the student body. Charge that committee with monitoring diversity across the institution and with making recommendations to increase diversity. â¢ Demonstrate the institutionâs commitment by meeting with female students and postdocs and devoting resources to programs that assist them.