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S cience and T echnology Recruiting to I mprove D iversity and E xcellence. (STRIDE). Mission Statement

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Mission Statement

"The STRIDE committee provides information and advice about practices that will maximize the likelihood that well-qualified female and minority candidates for faculty positions will be identified, and, if selected for offers, recruited, retained, and promoted at the University of Michigan. The committee works with departments by meeting with chairs, faculty search committees, and other departmental leaders involved with recruitment and retention."

the stride committee and what they learned
The STRIDE Committee and What They Learned

John Vandermeer, Samuel Mukasa, Pamela Raymond, Carol Fierke, Anthony England

Michael Savageau, Martha Pollack, Abigail Stewart, Melvin Hochster

myths and partial truths 1
Myths and Partial Truths #1

There just aren’t enough female Ph.D.’s – the problem is the pipeline

True, but only in some disciplines…the proportion of female faculty in science and engineering overall is much smaller than the proportion of female Ph.D.’s


* Source: NSF Report on Women, Minorities, and Persons With Disabilities in Science and Engineering, 2000


Pipeline Leakage: Women as a Percentage of Science and Engineering Graduate Students,

by Field in 1980 and 1997













Science and engineering total

Earth, atmosphericand ocean sciences

Computer science

Agricultural sciences

Biological sciences


Social sciences


Physical sciences


SOURCE: National Science Foundation/Division of Science Resources Studies, Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering.





Why This Problem Matters

  • We claim to be a meritocracy but when we fail to recognize women’s talents and energies we are practicing another form of inherited privilege.
  • Faculty demographics that differ significantly from student demographics carry implicit and unwelcome messages that discourage women from entering the academy. Unhappy women faculty further exacerbate this effect.
  • Denying the talents and energies of half our population negatively affects the potential quality of our future faculty.

Myths and Partial Truths #2

Discrimination is only practiced by a small set of ignorant people.

False! Research shows that everyone —males and females alike — perceive and treat women differently from men.

how it happens

*Webcast : www.rice.edu/webcast/speeches/20010329valian.html

** Based on findings reported in her book: Why So Slow: The Advancement of Women. Boston: MIT Press, 1999.

***See also Wenneras, C. & Wold, A. (1997). “Nepotism and sexism in peer-review.”Nature, 387, 341-343.

How It Happens

Virginia Valian (CUNY) speaking at Rice University, March 2000* **

  • video: gender schemas
  • video: fellowship applications***

Myths and Partial Truths #3

The problems will all be solved if we just recruit more women.

False… although we must recruit more female faculty to increase the numbers, we also need to be concerned with retention to avoid continued leakage in the pipeline.


Myths and Partial Truths #4

Since many of the problems encountered by female faculty are minor, this emphasis on remedies to improve retention of women is an over-reaction.

False... over time, small disadvantages accumulate into significant ones that have large impacts on career success and satisfaction.

accumulation of advantage and disadvantage
Accumulation of advantage and disadvantage

“Like interest on capital, advantages accrue. Like interest on debt, disadvantages also accumulate. Very small differences in treatment can, as they pile up, result in large disparities in salary, promotion, and prestige.”(Valian, 1999)

  • video: mountains out of molehills
these data give us a better understanding and an explanation of how it happens

Lack of Critical Mass

Gender schemas

Evaluation bias

Accumulation of disadvantage

These data give us a better understanding and an explanation of ‘How it Happens’
career success
Career success

We believe the academy functions as a meritocracy based on peer review


lowered career success rate

Performance is underestimated

Accumulation of disadvantage


Lack of critical mass

Gender schemas

Lowered career success rate

Myths and Partial Truths #5

There’s nothing I or my department can do about the under-representation of women in the science and engineering faculty.

False! There are lots of steps you can take to increase the likelihood of successfully recruiting and retaining highly qualified women.

some solutions search committee practices 1

Discuss potential role of evaluation bias

  • Think about implications of position description
  • Active recruiting for a diverse applicant pool
  • Email groups of women in the field
  • Job postings targeted at women and minorities
  • Personal contacts with potential candidates
Some Solutions — Search Committee Practices (1)*


* This presentation includes only a subset of the strategies described in the Faculty Recruitment Handbook.

some solutions search committee practices 2

Make multiple short lists using multiple criteria of quality (research grants, publication impact, teaching)

  • Widen the range of institutions from which the top candidates are selected
  • Consider women and minorities who are ‘underplaced’ (at lower-ranked institutions)
  • Revisit applicant pool if no women or minorities are on the final short list
Some Solutions – Search Committee Practices (2)
some solutions visits 1

Address climate issues in the department prior to recruitment

  • Invite women for informal visits (seminar presentations) before officially recruiting them
  • Interview more than one woman (Research shows that a woman is much more likely to be selected as the top candidate if she is not the only woman interviewed.)
Some Solutions — Visits (1)

Campus Visits

some solutions visits 2

Don’t let dual career issues eliminate a good candidate

  • Provide an opportunity for women to talk to another woman — but not the search committee — about gender and climate issues
  • Recruit women as scientists, not as “women”
Some Solutions — Visits (2)

Campus Visits


Some Retention Strategies (1)

  • Reach critical mass (break the ‘evaluation bias-gender schema loop’)
  • Support collaborations among women scientists/engineers across departments at UM, and nationally/internationally
  • Improve mentoring of women faculty
  • Develop transparent policies and promotion criteria

Some Retention Strategies (2)

  • Encourage inclusion of women in the academic life and decision-making of the department
  • Recognize and compensate women’s extra service

The UM Climate Survey found thatwomen faculty serve on more committees than men but do not chair more; women’s higher rate of service is not rewarded with a similar rate of opportunity for leadership.

some retention strategies 3
Some Retention Strategies (3)
  • Ensure that faculty, students and staff know how to recognize and discourage gender discrimination and sexual harassment
  • The ADVANCE 2001 climate survey revealed high rates (41% and 20%, respectively, in last 5 years) among women science and engineering faculty at UM
appoint women to leadership roles

Consider making senior hires - identify female candidates who may currently be underplaced (resources to assist can be requested from your Dean and from the Provost’s Office)

  • Invite women to chair important committees and provide women with academic leadership positions
Appoint Women to Leadership Roles
um resources college level

College of Engineering

    • Dean’s Advisory Committee on the Status of Female Faculty
  • College of Literature, Sciences, and the Arts
    • Discretionary Budget for ADVANCE in Dean’s Office
    • Dual Career Support Program in Dean’s Office

School of Medicine

  • Sponsors participation of women faculty in Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM)
UM Resources – College Level
university resources

Provost’s Faculty Initiative Program (PFIP)

  • Discretionary funds to assist in diversifying the faculty
  • Dual career program


  • Can provide specific pipeline and other data for disciplines
  • Available for consultation on climate and retention
University Resources




Advise chairs on search committee composition and search practices

  • Work with search committees throughout the process
  • Contact us via advanceproject@umich.edu or 647-9357

We Are Available to: