Report details status
of women scientists and engineers
U-M will announce the results of a survey
to measure the working environment for
women on the science and engineering faculty
at the University at noon Thursday, Sept.
26, in the ballroom of the Michigan League.
Major research universities, including
the U-M, CalTech and MIT, have realized
that we have to improve the campus environment
for women faculty in these fields if were
going to attract and retain the brightest
and best for our respective institutions,
says Abigail Stewart, professor of psychology
and womens studies and associate
dean for academic affairs in LS&A, who
directs the project. The proportion
of women in the highest faculty rank,
full professor, is disappointingly low.
At the U-M, the overall proportion of
women on the faculty in natural science
departments in LS&A actually decreased
between 1990 and 2000.
U-Ms five-year program is supported
by a $3.7 million ADVANCE grant from the
National Science Foundation (NSF) to support
efforts to increase the participation
and advancement of women in academic science
and engineering careers. Our process
at U-M was distinctive in that we began
with rigorous baseline research that was
internally supported, even before we knew
NSF was funding our proposal. Now that
weve gathered it, well be
able to evaluate how much weve really
been able to improve things with the help
of the NSF award, Stewart says.
At the end of the project, the results
of this survey will provide hard data
that will allow the University to measure
its progress toward increasing the number
of women faculty in the science and engineering
disciplines and improving their career
satisfaction, Stewart says.
U-M is one of only a handful of research
universities to publicly announce the
results of such a study. MITs 1999
report, which looked at how marginalization
had frustrated the careers of many women
faculty, resonated with many women scientists.
One result was NSFs ADVANCE program,
which awarded nine institutional transformation
grants to ensure fuller participation
and advancement of women faculty in science
At U-M and nationally, the number of
women on the tenure track in science and
engineering fields has lagged far behind
gains made by women in non-science fields,
and female scientists have not achieved
the levels one would expect given the
number of women who have earned doctorates
in these fields.
Paul Courant, interim provost and executive
vice president for Academic Affairs, will
host the Sept. 26 event. Speakers include
U-M President Mary Sue Coleman; Pamela
Raymond, professor of cell and developmental
biology and senior counselor to the provost;
Alice Hogan, NSF project director for
ADVANCE; and Stewart. Light refreshments
will be served at 11:30 a.m., and a question-and-answer
session will follow the presentations.