Berit Brogaard at NEW APPS made me aware of this January 2011 AAUP study in relation to women in academia—particularly those working in larger institutions and/or research-oriented schools. Here are the relevant passages from Brogaard’s entry:
1. Women do more service work than men in academia. One of the effects of this additional service work appears to be that women are stuck in associate professor positions several years longer than their male colleagues.
2. A 2006 report of the Modern Language Association’s Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession, Standing Still: The Associate Professor Survey, showed that women professors in the association were less likely to be promoted than their male counterparts, and it took women from one to three and a half years longer than men to advance to full professorships, with women at doctoral universities lagging farthest behind.
If this is truly a problem (and I think it is) across academic disciplines, how do we change the situation? Here’s what the AAUP report suggested (bolds mine):
What policies might help alleviate the stress associate professors, and particularly women associate professors, experience? We recommend two policy changes that would require university investment and three that would require shifting the culture of work.
First, at many universities, economic hard times have led to fewer full-time faculty appointments and greater reliance on non-tenure-track instructors, who may also be less involved in faculty governance and leadership. For universities to thrive, they must replace lost tenure-line faculty members, increase tenure-line faculties along with student enrollment, and ensure that all faculty members are involved in and compensated for governance activities. Secondly, we urge that greater resources be focused on mentoring to support promotions to full professorships, particularly for women faculty. We believe that workshops that emphasize the “pathways” to full professorship may be particularly instructive.
Cultural changes also matter. Deans and department chairs or heads need to examine teaching, advising, mentoring, and service responsibilities to ensure that all faculty members pull their weight and are rewarded accordingly. Department chairs should review service, teaching, and mentoring expectations with their department members and ensure that women do not disproportionately carry their departments’ service burdens.
We also believe that cultural changes are needed to stress the value of the work of the professoriate more broadly. Too many faculty members and administrators devalue the importance of “institutional housekeeping,” even though it is crucial for the institution’s ongoing health. Universities need to recognize, reward, and publicize their faculty’s service, mentoring, and teaching accomplishments, in addition to their research accomplishments, and ensure that promotions recognize the wide range of contributions faculty make.
We could of course improve this analysis with an interrogation of gender roles. But, in superficial way, I’m 100 percent on board. I’m sure there are plenty “non-woman” faculty members who would be open to assessments based on less-than-“standard” (a loaded term, I know) research work. No one should be prevented from obtaining a full professor rank because she/he desires to be, or emphasizes being, a positive facilitator and manager of her/his department, or participate fully in shared governance programs. The problem, of course, is how many faculty members in any one department can follow this route before the overall scholarship of the department breaks down? – TL