Conclusions and Recommendations

1. Male and female STEM faculty perceive their work place differently.

•Male faculty perceive more gender equity and less need to make efforts to increase women in the STEM disciplines.

•Female faculty perceive themselves as having to work harder and having fewer resources available as their male colleagues.

2. Male and female STEM faculty agree on some issues.

•See men and women as equally productive and driven to succeed, but men as more competitive.

•Feel supported by their Dean or Director.

•See Alaska as a good place for women STEM faculty

3. Women STEM faculty seem to be advancing through the ranks but are underrepresented at the Associate and Full Professor ranks. UAF continues to hire fewer women in the higher ranks.

4. Women STEM faculty earn less than their male colleagues but that is mainly due to time in rank.


1. Training for search committees for STEM faculty positions.

2. Gender-balance for search committees, if necessary asking women faculty members from different STEM departments to serve on hiring committees.

3. UAF’s Faculty Senate Committee on the Status of Women should take up the salary differentials.

4. The Chancellor’s Task Force on Work-Life Balance needs to push for provision of adequate, affordable daycare for all faculty.

5. Office of Faculty Development will survey all associate professors in Fall 2011 to assess the level and quality of mentoring.



Two hundred eleven STEM faculty responded to the online survey but 10 of those faculty did not complete the survey and were omitted from the final sample. Of the remaining 201 participants 124 (62%) were male and 77 (38%) were female. One hundred ninety-two STEM faculty provided information about their appointments at UAF: The majority of responding faculty had tenure track appointments (82%); 4 (2%) had term-funded appointments; 28 (14%) had research appointments; 2 (1%) had some other type of appointment. All four of the term-funded faculty were women working in three different colleges. Of the 188 tenure-track and research professors, 60 (32%) were Assistant Professors, 69 (37%) were Associate Professors, and 59 (31%) were Professors. Not surprisingly, the largest number of participating faculty (85 or 42%) were in the College of Natural Sciences and Math (CNSM). This was followed by the College of Engineering and Mining (CEM) with 33 respondents (16%), the School of Fish and Ocean Science (SFOS) with 30 respondents (15%), and the School of Natural Resources & Agricultural Science with 20 respondents (10%). Several faculty from the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Community and Rural Development participated (11 (5.4%) and 6 (3%) respectively).

One hundred sixteen faculty reported also being affiliated with one of the research institutes. Almost half (48%) of those faculty were affiliated with The Institute of Arctic Biology (IAB) (34 or 17%), the Institute of Northern Engineering (INE) (31 or 15%)), and the Geophysical Institute (GI) (32 or 16%). In addition, 10 faculty (5%) were affiliated with the International Arctic Research Center and 5 faculty (3%) were affiliated with the Museum of the North. One hundred and two faculty had joint appointments (i.e., a college or school and an institute).

The survey consisted of 28 statements about a variety of aspects of the academic experience including work climate, differences between men and women, salary, mentoring, and access to resources.

A majority of faculty hold TT appointments (87% men; 80% women) with equal numbers in research positions. All term-funded faculty are women. Gender and rank is shown below.





32 (27.1%)

37 (31.4%)

49 (41.5%)


27 (39.7%)

31 (45.6%)

10 (14.7%)

Gender Differences on the Survey

Men and women faculty disagreed on 16 of the 29 survey questions. T-tests on the survey questions indicate statistically significant differences between means on items that:

1. Relate to ability and suitability to be a scientist (Men are generally better at mathematics and sciences than women. Men and women have the same innate abilities to be successful in the sciences. Women are not suited to become academic scientists. Women are sometimes bad investments for departments to make because they are not as committed to their profession as men.).

2. Relate to what it takes to be successful as a scientist (Women have to work harder than men to have successful careers in the sciences. Women find it more difficult to balance their home and work life. Childcare and other family issues present difficulties for faculty.

3. Relate to favoratism and work climate (My Dean or Director unfairly favors men faculty [women higher]. Women and men faculty in the STEM disciplines are provided the same resources. In general, the climate for women STEM faculty is good at UAF. On average, men and women get paid equally in the STEM disciplines.).

4. Relate to the importance of gender equity on campus (UAF should be concerned about gender equity in the STEM disciplines. Some women faculty in STEM fields were hired because UAF wanted to increase faculty diversity, not because they are qualified. Hiring committees in STEM disciplines do everything they can to include women int eh initial candidate pools. Hiring and promoting more women in the STEM disciplines will have a negative impact on excellence at UAF.).

Some key items on which there was no significant disagreement between male and female faculty are:

1. Men are naturally more competitive than women.

2. Men and women have equal drive to succeed in academic science, technology, math , and engineering positions.

3. My Dean or Director is generally supportive of me.

4. I am comfortable working with male/female colleagues.

5. In general, women STEM faculty are as productive as men STEM faculty.

6. Alaska is generally a good place for women in the STEM disciplines.

Some themes emerging from the correlations between survey items include:

1. The idea that men are generally better at math and science than women was positively correlated with the notion that there are psychological differences that women less suited for a career in the sciences, that women are sometimes bad investments for departments to make because of their lack of commitment, that some women faculty have been hired merely to increase gender diversity, and that this will have a negative impact on the academic standards at UAF. In addition there is a negative correlation with the statement that UAF should be concerned about gender equity.

2. The statement that women have to work harder than men to have successful careers in the STEM disciplines was positively correlated with perception that a Dean or Director unfairly favors men and that UAF should be concerned about gender equity.

The item was negatively correlated with perceptions of fairness (men and women are provided the same resources, men and women are paid the same), the institution’s attempts to recruit women faculty, the negative effects hiring women will have on the institution, the work climate for women STEM faculty at UAF, and Alaska being a good place for women faculty.

3. Faculty who generally get along with male colleagues also tend to get along with female colleagues.

4. The notion that women can be a bad investment for a department to make was related to the perception that there are psychological differences that make women less successful, that at least some women were hired to increase diversity and that this will have a negative effect on UAF, and that UAF should not be concerned about gender equity. But respondents who thought that female faculty are as productive as their male counterparts disagreed.

5. The perception that women are provided the same resources to succeed was negatively related to Deans favoring men and positively related to Deans being supportive of women faculty.

6. Perceptions of the work climate for women STEM faculty were positively correlated with women being provided with the same resources and hiring committees doing everything they can to recruit women. The item was negatively correlated with the statement that UAF should be concerned about gender equity.

7. Alaska being a good place for women STEM faculty was mainly related to a supportive Dean/Director, being provided the same resources, having a positive work climate for women, and being comfortable with one’s colleagues (male and female).

Some findings

Survey results are in and are being analyzed by Dr. Cecile Lardon of the Psychology Department.

We held a meeting of the Advisory Board (Dr. Anupma Prakash, UAF; Dr. Stephanie Pfirman, Barnard College; and Dr. Barbara Hacker, Cal-Poly Pomona) on Thursday, August 12 and 13 to discuss findings and how best to present the data.

The focus groups transcripts are being content analyzed but here are some interesting excerpts:


“There are too many senior white men who don’t really care, or act against, their junior women colleagues. And the administration just goes along with it.”

“I don’t think there has ever been a study that has shown creativity differences between genders.”

“Women faculty need to be less accommodating, less helpful to senior faculty, and be a little more selfish and think about their own careers.”

“I think women should be more like men, be congenial without being helpful. They tend to be congenial and helpful. Successful men say ‘I need to succeed in research so I am not going to make time for this or that’.” “I disagree. I don’t think women should change; I think men should change and become more like these women faculty.”

“One way women might change is to be more assertive and demand that the work they do is recognized, whether the tenure clock is stopped for two years or not.”

“We’ve got a lot of men around here who are very good at communicating their needs, and women should do that too.”

“It seems to me that faculty who have good relationships with their mentors seem to have reasonably lower stress in dealing with all of this.”

“Men can open their eyes to what’s going on around them, they can be aware of the needs of their colleagues, male or female, they can stop being so GD self-centric, and be a little more caring about the world they live in.”

“If you are invested in mentoring, if you’re invested in the conversations that happen in your department about how it runs, I think those departments that meet regularly and have those processes, I see as being better places for working through those kinds of things, and making progress in these areas.”

“Men should accept that assertiveness is good, and not decide that a women is a difficult faculty member or student. Listen to what’s being said and not impeach them as difficult which we wouldn’t do with our male colleagues.”

“Male faculty need to be more open, recognize the talent around them and learn to work with it.”

“Men need to be more selfish about work-life balance, about policies like paternity leave and mentors should be encouraging junior faculty to take advantage of them instead of them saying ‘I don’t want to be the only guy taking paternity leave’. If men aren’t consciously trying to deal with these same issues, then there is not gender equity. If we aren’t trying to find those same balances in our lives than women have to, then no progress is being made.”

“I don’t know that UAF is systematically treating men and women faculty differently, beyond that which is already inherent in our very male-dominated society.”

“In my area we have a demographic that spans two ends of feminism, where you have primarily older men with stay-at-home wives, and younger faculty who are balancing dual career couples. Those are different realities.”

“Every women candidate was examined in detail where the male candidates just breezed through the T&P process.”

Excerpts from the women’s groups:

“It’s appalling that maternity leave has to be taken as sick leave.”

“Part of the problem I see is that the search committees are frequently very male-dominated.”

“I was considered a high risk hire because I was a single female.”

“I knew I was well-qualified when I was hired but the men in my department all the feeling I was hired because I was a woman.”

“We should have more females in leadership positions and more mentoring.”

“In my department men have been told informally that they should ask for a raise on a regular basis.”

“Being pregnant I had to deal with male student fear. ‘Do we have to deal with your hormones?’ “

ADVANCE focus groups

Four focus groups were held on campus in April 2010 - two with male STEM faculty and two with women. When the transcripts of these groups have been analyzed we will post findings.

A survey is currently being conducted with all UAF STEM faculty. So far we have a 60% response rate and hope to get this higher before we close it at the end of April. Summary results will be posted to this blow as soon as possible.


What is the situation like for women STEM faculty at UAF? This is what we set out to discover. We wrote an NSF grant to get a clear picture of the climate for women in the sciences, technology, engineering, and math disciplines at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Our project--the GetPix project--is, in essence, an institutional ethnography of UAF focusing on women in the STEM disciplines. Over the next two years, we will be gathering data and sharing what we discover with faculty, staff, administrators, students, and interested community members. Please keep visiting our blog for updates on the project.

You can read a news blurb about the NSF grant, called a catalyst grant, here on the Fairbanks Daily News Miner.

Thanks to the National Science Foundation ADVANCE-IT Start grant program for its support of the project, entitled "Getting a Clear Picture: Women in the STEM Disciplines at the University of Alaska Fairbanks."

photo above: Barbara Taylor conducts neurobiological research in her lab at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Photo courtesy of Todd Paris.

Gendered wage differentials

Women STEM faculty at UAF earn significantly less than their male colleagues do. On average, women STEM faculty earn 80.3% of what men earn. The mean annual salary for male STEM faculty at UAF is $73,990.81, while women STEM faculty earn a mean annual salary of $59,383.19. The gendered pay gap is not unique to UAF. Women in the STEM disciplines across the nation on average earn markedly less than men do, and women in other academic fields also earn less than men. STEM faculty do tend to earn higher annual salaries than other disciplines at UAF. Among all faculty, women's mean salary is $57,674.90, while men's mean salary is $71,472.28.

We applied for the GetPix grant because we wanted to get a clear picture of what's going on at UAF for women STEM faculty. Most other studies of women faculty focus on the individual characteristics of women that cause them to earn less than men, to be promoted later than men, and to be hired less often than men. But our study takes a different approach. We are examining UAF as an institution with an eye towards discovering and documenting the characteristics of the institution that create an inequitable situation for women. Please visit the blog repeatedly, as we will share our data with you as they emerge.

Thanks for visiting!

Raw data courtesy of PAIR, and reflect a snapshop taken on 10-22-08. Figures are standardized to 9-month salaries to enable comparison. Included in the data are all non-adjunct faculty, e.g. tenure-track and term-faculty are included, while adjunct faculty and graduate students are not included.


The bad news is that UAF hires more male STEM faculty than it hires women STEM faculty. The chart illustrates that there are 113 women and 257 men among the regular faculty in the STEM disciplines here at UAF. This means that just 30.5% of UAF's STEM faculty are women, while 69.5% of its STEM faculty are men. This picture is markedly similar to the picture at other universities. It is even common at other universities to have departments that have no women at all. We have a couple of them here at UAF. The good news is that UAF has been on a upward pattern in terms of hiring women STEM faculty for a few years now. In fact, the assistant professor ranks looks pretty positive: 44% of UAF STEM faculty are women. That doesn't look too bad, does it? Especially compared to a few years ago! As expected, there are proportionately fewer women at the associate professor rank: only 29.% are women. At the professor rank, the number is downright dismal: only 9.6% of UAF STEM faculty are women. That's only 11 women, compared to 104 men. Still, the GetPix project team is optimistic, because we sense a growing understanding among STEM faculty that achieving gender equity is important for everyone.