The University Record, May 21, 1996

Third report on women at the U-M finds areas of 'modest progress,' cites lack of women in tenure ranks

By Deborah Gilbert
News and Information Services

The third report on Women at the University of Michigan, which tracks the status and progress of women on the Ann Arbor campus, will be released today by the Office of the President.


Percentage of women staff by job family, Ann Arbor campus, 1995


The report identifies some areas of "modest progress," but also notes that, in general, as in past years, "the higher the rung on the academic ladder, the fewer women are to be found." The 1996 report augments the information presented in 1992 and 1993, and is the most comprehensive to date.

"These reports provide an accurate measure of the relative standing of women in the University, identify inequities, and provide a benchmark for the future," says Carol S. Hollenshead, chair of the committee that prepared the report and director of the Center for the Education of Women (CEW).

"While the 1996 report demonstrates some progress," she says, "it also makes it clear that we must increase our efforts on behalf of women at all levels at the University."

"The report is a critical benchmark for the University against which we can measure gains for the Michigan Agenda for Women," adds Lisa A. Tedesco, professor and associate dean in the School of Dentistry, and a member of the President's Advisory Commission on Women's Issues.

"The gains identified in the report, while modest, are important because they demonstrate what can be accomplished when attention is paid to the academic environment," she stresses.

President James J. Duderstadt is encouraged as well. "The proportion of women faculty on the tenure track has in creased, and 10 women scholars have been hired through the 'New Lines' program as part of the Michigan Agenda for Women, launched in 1994.

"Also, although this development is not part of the report, I am pleased that this September Michigan will become the first major university in America to achieve gender equity in intercollegiate athletics, with 47 percent female participation.

"However," he adds, "I am concerned that women are still underrepresented in the tenure and tenure-track ranks and that the University continues to experience occupational segregation by gender. This very detailed report supports the first-hand experiences of many women at U-M, particularly women of color who live with inequity every day.

"I hope this information will help us recommit to programs, policies and, perhaps most important, changes in attitudes that will create a more positive climate in which women can excel at the University."

J. Bernard Machen, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, agrees. "While we are doing a better job of increasing the proportion of women on our faculty at all ranks, women, especially women of color, continue to be underrepresented in tenured and tenure track positions.

"Also, women are still underrepresented in the upper ranks of administrators and staff, and women of color continue to be clustered in the maintenance and office job families.

"This [the findings of the report] is, overall, a disappointing result," he adds. "Vigorous continuing efforts will be needed to accelerate our progress."

Lester P. Monts, vice provost for academic and multicultural affairs, notes that women of color continue to lag disproportionately.

"When we look at specific programs, such as the Target of Opportunity Program, it seems that we are making some progress toward increasing the number of faculty women of color.

"Yet when we look at the University's numbers in the aggregate, it becomes clear that one program alone cannot accomplish our institutional goals. We must have a concerted hiring and retention effort that addresses opportunity for the faculty, student and staff women of color," Monts says.

The report includes data for each school, college and unit, and for staff and administration across the University.

Key findings in the report include:


Between 1990 and 1995, the proportion of women assistant professors grew from 30 percent to 36 percent. Similarly, the proportion of women associate professors rose from 23 percent to 26 percent and the proportion of full professors rose from 9 percent to 12 percent.


In 1994­95, women represented 38 percent of new faculty hired into tenured positions.


Although women represent nearly half of the U-M undergraduate degree recipients and about a third of U-M doctoral degree recipients, just 22 percent of the tenured and tenure-track faculty are women while 53 percent of the lecturers are women.

Nationally, 35 percent of all and tenure-track faculty are women, according to the American Council on Education.


Women of color, who encounter the double jeopardy of race and gender discrimination, make up just 4 percent of the tenured and tenure-track faculty while they make up 10 percent of the lecturers.


An extensive analysis of tenure attainment for faculty hired between 1982 and 1988 revealed that women were less likely to attain tenure than men. For instance, 52 percent of men hired as assistant professors in that cohort attained tenure compared with 42 percent of the women.

Similarly, 53 percent of the male faculty of color in that cohort attained tenure in contrast with 38 percent women of color.


Occupational segregation by gender still thrives. For instance, 94 percent of the office staff on the Ann Arbor cam pus are women but only 2 percent of the more highly paid skilled tradespersons and operating engineers are women.


Some 73 percent of professional/administrative positions in salary grades 1­5 are filled by women while 30 percent of the employees in grades 16 and above are women. [These figures do not include U-M Hospitals staff.]


Among women researchers in the primary research ranks, 16 percent are in the highest ranks while 34 percent are in the lowest ranks.


The proportion of women assistant deans jumped from 34 percent in 1990 to 50 percent in 1995. The proportion of women associate and senior deans, however, dropped from 41 percent in 1990 to 27 percent in 1995.


In the archivist, curator and librarian ranks, the proportion of women decreased from 74 percent in 1990 to 63 per cent in 1995.


Since 1992, the proportion of women hired into faculty positions compared to their availability in national Ph.D. pools has improved in a number of fields, but gaps remain in others. The largest gaps between the available Ph.D. pools and the proportion of women hired are in the schools of medicine, pharmacy, law and art.


The report also noted that Ph.D. completion by men and women varies according to field. There is little difference in the biological and social sciences and only slight ones in the humanities and the arts, but there are greater disparities by gender in the physical sciences and engineering.

Copies of the report can be obtained by e-mailing Merta Trumble at or by calling CEW at 998-7080.