The University Record, January 10, 1994

Work on increasing presence of women must continue

By Jane R. Elgass

While some progress has been made in recent years in increasing the presence of women on campus, the University must travel a considerable distance before it achieves an equitable representation of women at all levels, according to a report prepared for President James J. Duderstadt.

Volume II of Women at the University of Michigan: A Statistical Report on the Status of Women Students, Faculty and Staff on the Ann Arbor Campus augments information presented in a 1992 report with an in-depth examination of selected issues.

The 1992 report, prepared by a committee of the President’s Advisory Commission on Women’s Issues, analyzed the academic pipeline from the undergraduate level through the ranks of the faculty and academic administration. It also provided data on degree completion, faculty salaries, student/faculty ratios by gender, and staff composition.

That report concluded that “with few exceptions, the number of women decreases at each successive level of the University’s academic and administrative hierarchies. Women comprise nearly one-half of the student body and three-quarters of the staff, but only one-fifth of the faculty and one-twelfth of the academic administration.”

The 1993 report examines the following issues:

  • The history and gender composition of academic and executive leadership of the University.

  • The gender composition of the faculty in 1980, 1990 and 1992.

  • A cohort analysis of outcomes for faculty hired between 1984 and 1986, as well as data on faculty hired at senior ranks between 1987 and 1992.

  • Staff hired in professional/administrative and technical positions in 1992.

  • Rackham graduate student enrollments compared with graduate student assistant appointments in fall term 1991.

    “This report provides clear documentation that our progress to date on improving the representation of women in the faculty and in senior administration positions is at best inadequate,” says Provost Gilbert R. Whitaker Jr. “In particular, I believe major attention must be given to the recruitment of faculty at the assistant professor level. This pool is available, and only through growth at this level will we truly be able to eventually increase the representation of women on the faculty at all levels. Search committees must redouble their efforts to make sure that qualified female candidates are considered and hired.”

    Among the highlights of the findings of the 1993 report:

  • The proportion of women in senior administrative positions decreased from 30 percent to 22 percent between 1990 and 1992.

  • Women represent 20 percent of the tenured and tenure-track faculty, but 53 percent of the lecturers.

  • Women of color represent only 3.1 percent of the tenured and tenure-track faculty.

  • In the past 12 years, the proportion of women in tenured and tenure-track positions has increased from 17 percent to 20 percent, while the proportion of women lecturers has grown from 43 percent to 53 percent. This represents a net increase of 91 women in tenured and tenure-track positions and 178 in the rank of lecturer.

  • Women represented only 18 percent of the faculty hired in senior ranks (associate and full professors) between 1987 and 1992.

  • In the cohort of new junior faculty hired between 1984 and 1986, women hired as assistant professors were promoted to tenured associate professor in roughly the same proportion as their male colleagues. Women hired as instructors were less likely than their male counterparts to achieve tenure.

  • In the same cohort, the proportion of women of color who achieved promotion to the rank of associate professor was lower than either men of color or white women and men.

  • Overall, male students are more likely than female students to hold graduate student research assistant appointments.

    Much of this gender difference is due to the fact that men are more likely to be enrolled in programs where GSRA appointments are more available, e.g., engineering and the sciences.

  • With few exceptions, recent hiring patterns in the professional/administrative and technical staff ranks follow historical patterns of occupational segregation by gender.

    “Thus,” the report notes, “the data contained in this and the 1992 report reflect progress in some areas, but also underscore the distance we must travel before we achieve an equitable representation of women at all levels of the University.”