Tag Archives: public policy

Reprinted from the Cornell Chronicle, May 22, 2017.

By Stephen D'Angelo

For decades, higher ed administrators have talked about the need for more female professors in science, technology, engineering and mathematics departments.

But what is the best way to recruit and retain those professors?

On that point, men and women sometimes disagree, according to new Cornell research.

A national study of college and university administrators has found that female department chairs, deans and provosts have different attitudes and beliefs than their male counterparts about how to retain women professors in STEM fields. It also supports the assertion that placing women in administrative roles creates greater emphasis on the importance of enacting policies to attract and retain women in STEM.

Female administrators gave higher ratings to many policies and strategies designed to improve the lives of women in science, the study found. And they disagreed with men about the value of some policies and strategies designed to retain female STEM professors and enhance their work lives.

Wendy Williams

“Most typical strategies for retaining women professors in STEM are seen as higher quality by women administrators than male counterparts,” said Wendy M. Williams, professor of human development at Cornell’s College of Human Ecology and lead author on the study. “Topics of disagreement between female and male administrators are important focuses of future policy and planning, because female administrators may have insights into how to retain women professors that male administrators do not share.”

The study, “Does Gender of Administrator Matter? National Study Explores U.S. University Administrators’ Attitudes About Retaining Women Professors in STEM,” was published May 22 in Frontiers in Psychology.

“Women further endorsed greater flexibility with federal grant funding to accommodate mothers with young children, and they placed more emphasis on devoting university resources to conduct and disseminate gender-equity research than did their male peers,” the study said.

And women were more supportive of requests from partners for shared tenure lines that enable couples to better balance work and personal/caretaking roles, and saw it as more feasible than men did for men to stop the “tenure clock” for one year due to childrearing demands, the study found.

Over the past two decades, women have made substantial progress in most STEM fields, though inclusion in the senior ranks of all fields and in professorships in mathematically intensive fields is lagging. This has motivated administrators and gender-equity advocates to lobby for policies to increase female representation.

Stephen Ceci

For the study, the authors, which included two other human development professors, Stephen Ceci and Felix Thoemmes, reviewed research on female administrators in STEM and designed a database of 44 potentially effective policies to recruit, retain and promote female administrators in STEM. They asked provosts, deans, associate deans and department chairs of STEM fields at 96 U.S. research-intensive universities to rate the quality and feasibility of each policy.

Felix Thoemmes

According to Williams: “When people lobby for women and people of color in high-level administration, they often state that diversity will bring new priorities for attracting professors from underrepresented groups and advancing their careers. Our data support this assertion, although male administrators did endorse many of the same priorities to a lesser extent.”

Other notable data from the survey showed female administrators believed it was not feasible for female faculty to be called upon to chair search committees to the same extent that male administrators did – reflecting women’s belief that female professors are overburdened by service demands.

In addition to favoring potential remedies, female faculty also rated strategies for retaining women as higher in quality overall, while male administrators saw these strategies as lower in quality.

But the administrators did find some common ground, according to the study. Men and women agreed most of the time on the relative ranking of strategies, with both genders basically agreeing on what constituted the best or worst strategies among the 44 they evaluated. Top-rated strategies were to provide on-campus child care centers, offer equal opportunity for women and men to lead committees and research groups, develop mentoring programs to reduce isolation of female faculty, and stop the tenure clock for raising children for up to one year. Also highly rated were strategies to provide one semester of fully paid leave for giving birth and to train department chairs on helping faculty manage work-life issues. The two lowest-rated strategies were setting gender quotas for hiring and promotion.

“This is heartening news,” the researchers wrote, “since agreement about what constitutes a good strategy generally makes it simpler to get the strategy actually introduced as a policy.”

Stephen D'Angelo is assistant director of communications for the College of Human Ecology.

Reprinted from the Cornell Chronicle, May 5, 2016

Moreno

Marcus Moreno '17

Marcos Moreno ’17 has received a 2016 Udall scholarship, which supports undergraduates with excellent academic records and who show potential for careers in environmental public policy, health care and tribal public policy.

Moreno, a human development major concentrating in neuroscience in the College of Human Ecology, was one of five health care scholars selected to receive the award. Overall, he was among the 60 candidates selected out of 482 candidates from 227 colleges and universities. The scholarship provides $7,000 for one year.

Moreno is a member of the Pascua Yaqui tribe, born and raised on the Pascua Yaqui reservation in southern Arizona. He is a pre-med student, studying neuroscience and American Indian studies, with extensive experience as a researcher.

He is currently working in two Cornell laboratories: the child development lab of Gary Evans, the Elizabeth Lee Vincent Professor in the Departments of Design and Environmental Analysis and of Human Development, and the integrative neuroethology lab of Alexander Ophir, assistant professor of psychology. Moreno has also been a part of a public health project for his tribe’s reservation in 2014, has participated in medical brigades in West Africa and has spent time volunteering in his tribe’s affiliate health clinics.

At Cornell, he is a resident adviser at Akwe:kon and a First in Class mobilizer with the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives program to support first-generation students. He also volunteers as a tutor for Native American students from the Onondaga Nation at Lafayette Junior and Senior High School in Lafayette, New York.

Upon completion of medical school, he intends to return to his Arizona reservation as a primary care physician with a focus on the interconnections between physical and mental health.

The 2016 Udall Scholars will assemble August 9-14 in Tucson, Arizona, to meet one another and program alumni, learn more about the Udall legacy of public service and interact with community leaders in environmental fields, tribal health care and governance.

The Udall Foundation is an independent federal agency established by Congress to honor Congressman Morris K. Udall and Secretary of the Interior Stewart L. Udall. Its programs promote leadership, education, collaboration and conflict resolution in the areas of the environment, public lands, natural resources and Native nations.