Thursday, January 14, 2010

Leaky pipeline

Here is another article in the Chronicle today about the pipeline at Penn.

The main point was that just putting women and minorities into the pipeline as starting assistant professors is not sufficient.  Without some changes in the way academia operates, we will continue to lose more than our fair share of women and minorities along the way and the impact on the full professorship and administrative roles will still remain far lower than those hired at junior levels.  Has some very interesting comments about the role of pay, time (read domestic responsibilities), emotional resources, and recognition on women and minorities.

The best line was "we need to model livable lives for our students".  This for me was the kicker when I though about going into academia.  I looked at the female faculty in the department where I did my undergraduate work (granted a major pressure cooker) and thought, I don't want their lives.  Many of them were single or divorced and childless.  I don't want to say that those things are bad for everyone, but for me they were deal breakers.  I didn't want a job that meant not being able to sustain a marriage or a family.  So modeling a life style that others might want (and actually having it too) is key to getting more women and minorities into STEM.  Making tenure and beyond a more "sustainable" process will make life better for everyone in academe.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. I thought the same thing in grad school, as I saw what working at an R1 did to the female (and even male) faculty. Teaching/researching at a PUI was definitely a more appealing lifestyle to me.