Archive for Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Female faculty still in minority at KU

Report shows university among tops in Big 12 for gender equity among senior professors

October 31, 2006


Despite progress, women continue to be a minority in senior faculty positions at Kansas University and major universities across the nation, according a recent report.

Women make up about a quarter of tenured faculty at KU - the second-highest percentage in the Big 12 behind the University of Missouri, according to a gender equity report by the American Association of University Professors.

And 19 percent of KU's full professors are women - the third-highest percentage in the Big 12. Only MU and Texas Tech University had higher percentages.

"We've really made a concerted effort to hire and promote women," said Kathleen McCluskey-Fawcett, senior vice provost for academic affairs at KU. "It hasn't just happened. It's been a very conscious effort."

The report also found that men make more money, on average, than women at KU. It said KU female professors, on average, make 92.5 percent of what their male counterparts earn.

Numbers are rosier for tenure-track faculty at KU, where women make up 48.4 percent. KU ranks first in the Big 12 for that figure.

KU administrators say they're continually working on recruiting women and making sure they have support to grow in their careers.

"I think we stack up pretty well," McCluskey-Fawcett said of how KU fares when compared with other institutions.

McCluskey-Fawcett said she needed to look at the report further but thought the pay disparity between men and women could be attributed in part to men holding their senior positions longer than women. She said KU closely monitors pay equity to ensure there are no problems.

Lisa Wolf-Wendel, KU associate professor of teaching and leadership, said she thought a major factor behind the statistics is the challenge of pursuing an academic career while starting or raising a family.

"One of the things about higher-education faculty positions, for example, is that it's built on this sort of ideal worker norm and in order to be an ideal worker, one needs to be married to one's job" and work 80 to 90 hours a week, Wolf-Wendel said. "Ideal worker norms exist and are very prevalent at research universities, and when people have lives outside of work, it's hard to be the ideal worker."

Wolf-Wendel said universities could improve the number of female faculty by having good policies for family leave, offering affordable day care for infants and young children, educating department leaders of gender matters and continuing dialogue about the issue.

"If you don't talk about it, you'll just replicate the status quo," she said.

Some women say that while they love their jobs, their families come first.

Belinda McSwain, a new assistant professor in KU's department of civil, environmental and architectural engineering, said her main concern before taking the position was whether she could juggle a career and a family.

"I struggled with how I was going to balance family, because the academic career is very demanding," she said. "My career is very important to me, but it's not necessarily the most important to me."

And juggling career and family, though difficult, is possible, said JoAnn Browning, KU associate professor of civil, environmental and architectural engineering.

Browning had two children before she earned tenure at KU. She said the key was setting priorities and having a supportive department and husband.

"When you love your job, you find ways to make things work," she said.


Nathan Anderson 11 years ago

"It said KU female professors, on average, make 92.5 percent of what their male counterparts earn."

Umm....well is this comparison based on comparable positions or just an across-the-board average. If it's the latter, and I'm betting it is, it's worthless.

This seems to be another pitty-party piece. How come they didn't mention in the article that the gender of professors on a tenure track are split evenly? Sheesh.

And if you want to stay home to start a family, do it. Or have your husband stay home. It doesn't matter to me. Just relieve me of the "burden of motherhood" BS.

MyName 11 years ago

Isn't any group that isn't the "majority" by default in the "minority"? Is there something I'm missing here?

Yes, how about the fact that there are actually more women in America then men, and that more women enroll in University than men, yet women have a dispropotionately low number of professorships than men, and they make less money.

Either alot of women are just too stupid to be a professor, and that's why they make up less than 20% of the professors, or there are other reasons for this (like being forced to choose between an Academically rigorous schedule, and starting a family).

Nathan Anderson 11 years ago

Oh ya, and one more thing. Since this is one of those equality pieces, I'd like to ask all of you women out there to start raising hell for not having to register with the Selective Service. Face it, women want equality, but with the old perks.

Harry_Manback 11 years ago

Ummm, okay jhawk... I take it you're not a woman.

compmd 11 years ago

I only had three female professors at KU, all of them in mathematics. Of those three, I can only say that one was really good. She was a very effective instructor and did an excellent job teaching.

The others were a hippie that had someone else teach the class half the time because she wasn't there, and (imho) someone who had no place teaching above the high school level. The hippie was just indifferent and kinda spacey. The "high school teacher" on the other hand was infuriating. She had a clear bias against men in the class, as well as against people who were taking her classes but not majoring in her field, and especially engineers. Three strikes for me.

I did have a very nice experience with a lecturer for English 211. That was a very enjoyable class.

In conclusion, Bozenna Pasik-Duncan is awesome. :)

Nathan Anderson 11 years ago

Another real beauty by Ms. Maines:


The sarcasm thing is way overdone on the internet. If you've got a point, just make it. And yes, I have external plumbing.

compmd 11 years ago

tolawdjk, the better question is, "Does it really matter?" I mean, who cares if a professor is male or female? Isn't the goal of a professor to be a good teacher and good researcher? Why is the gender relevant?

james bush 11 years ago

Are there any male faculty in the "women's studies" curriculum?

tolawdjk 11 years ago

I'm confused.

Isn't any group that isn't the "majority" by default in the "minority"?

And, given that there are only two classifications..."innies" or "outties", wouldn't it stand that if the other group is the majority, then your group would be the minority?

Is there something I'm missing here?

Nathan Anderson 11 years ago

Saying that women make less than men overall as a result of gender inequality is a non sequitur. Overall, I'm guessing that men go into careers that: a) pay more since they are the traditional bread winners, b) go into careers that are traditionally male dominated, and c) stay away from careers that are female dominated. The reverse is true for women. So it's no surprise when I read many, many times about the "wage gender gap" without any apples to apples comparison. I wouldn't be surprised if there still is a gap and that needs to be addressed, but making an overall comparison and chalking the gap to gender inequality is ridiculous. If women generally choose to be teachers, nurses, psychologists, etc., that's not gender inequality. That's women choosing for whatever reason to go into lower paying professions.

And MyName, your generalizations are BS. That's 19% of FULL professors. Tenure track faculty is about 50/50 so give it a few years. And given the ratio of male to female college students, it will soon reverse. If the issue is child care and discrimination based on motherhood, I'll care when fathers aren' discriminated against in child custody cases for having external plumbing.

I'm not too keen on the notion that a plurality of the voting public can vote for a "war" president when this plurality has no military obligation should a draft be necessary. Until then, if progress is too slow, kiss off toots.

All in all, we're on the right track. Culture is always a long time in changing. You can legislate all you want but these issues take time for cultures to adjust. We'll get there eventually.

don_burgess 11 years ago

Women can have jobs?

.....and get paid?

MyName 11 years ago

No that's less than 50% of people on tenure track at KU are women, and KU is #1 in the Big 12. Everybody else in that graphic is at around 40%. And how is it a generalization to point out the fact that over 50% of the population in both universities and nationwide are women, but most of the people who teach and who make the most money in our society aren't women?

And I love how, on one hand you say that the times are changing and things are getting better, but on the other hand you say that women are "choosing" to make less money than men. The only reason why things are getting slightly better at Universities is because they've made a concious decision to do so. That hasn't been happening in most of the business world.

And can you think of any other demographic breakdown where someone "chooses" to make less money?

I'm not too keen on the notion that a plurality of the voting public can vote for a "war" president when this plurality has no military obligation should a draft be necessary.

Well I'm not too keen on allowing people who are total idiots to vote, but that's not the way it works in this country. And until more than 15% of the people in the US Congress and 0% of the US Presidents are women, I wouldn't worry too much about what women think about whether or not we should go to war.

Nathan Anderson 11 years ago

Message garbled in transmission. Please resend.

bearded_gnome 11 years ago

here's a shocking concept: instead of quotas or representative proportions...what if we simply put in the best applicants, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, or handicap? that way, there aren't stigmatizing preferences.

now, there's a shocking concept?

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