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?’ “


  1. As of November 2010 we have analyzed most of the summer survey of UAF STEM faculty. We had an amazing 70% rate with 201 competed surveys, 62% male and 38% female. 82% held tenuretracks, 14% held research positions, 2% were term-funded, and 2% other. Of the TT faculty, 42% were in the College of Natural Sciences and Math, 16% in Engineering, 15% in School of Fisheries, 10% in School of Natural Resources & Ag Sciences, and remaining in CLA/CRCD.

    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. 86% of men held TT positions, 79 by women; equal numbers held research positions, but only women held term-funded positions. Of the 186 TT positions, 32% were assistants profs, 37% associates, and 32 full. 73% of men are tenured while 60% of women are tenured.

    Assistant Associate Professor
    Men 32 (27.1%) 37 (31.4%) 49 (41.5%)
    women 27 (39.7%) 31 (45.6%) 10 (14.7%)

  2. 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.