Advancement of Women

through the Academic Ranks:

 

Where are the Leaks in the Pipeline?

 

 

 

 

 

Interim report to the Columbia University Senate

on a study by the

Commission on the Status of Women

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April  27, 2001

 

 

Presenter:  Kim Kastens

Commission Chair:  Jean Howard

Staff Support:  Lucy Drotning

 


 

 

 

 

 

  Attrition of graduate students (PhD track)

-        in the first year

-        after seven years

 

 

  Hiring into the tenure-eligible ranks

 

 

  Entry into the tenured ranks

-        by promotion

-        by external hire

 

 

  Ten year trends & importance of microclimates

 

 

 

(all within the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences)

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

First Year Attrition of Doctoral Students

(Students who entered fall of 1999; Status as of  fall 2000)

 

Humanities

 

Women

Men

# entered

59

54

# attrition

11

4

% attrition

19%

7%

 

 

Social Sciences

 

Women

Men

# entered

52

59

# attrition

7

3

% attrition

13%

5%

 

 

 Natural Sciences

 

Women

Men

# entered

34

79

# attrition

5

3

% attrition

15%

4%

 

 

All Divisions

 

Women

Men

# entered

145

192

# attrition

23

10

% attrition

16%

5%

 


Ultimate Attrition of Doctoral Students

(Students who entered fall of 1993; Status as of  fall 2000)

 

Humanities

 

Women

Men

# entered

96

60

# attrition*

44

21

% attrition

46%

35%

 

 

Social Sciences

 

Women

Men

# entered

66

82

# attrition*

29

32

% attrition

44%

39%

 

 

 Natural Sciences

 

Women

Men

# entered

40

65

# attrition*

13

18

% attrition

33%

28%

 

 

All Divisions

 

Women

Men

# entered

202

207

# attrition*

86

71

% attrition

43%

34%

 

* students neither graduated nor registered, seven years post-matriculation

 


 

Influence of Funding Status on Attrition

(Students who entered fall of 1993; Status as of  fall 2000)

 

Humanities

 

Women

Men

# entered

96

60

# funded

37

31

% funded

39%

52%

% attrition* among funded students

32%

19%

% attrition* among unfunded students

54%

52%

 

 

Social Sciences

 

Women

Men

# entered

66

82

# funded

29

28

% funded

44%

34%

% attrition* among funded students

28%

25%

% attrition* among unfunded students

57%

46%

 

·        students neither graduated nor registered, seven years post-matriculation

 


 

Recommendations Concerning Graduate Student Attrition

 

 

• Ask students leaving the PhD program why they are doing so,  in either an exit interview or a survey questionnaire.  A standard set of questions should be asked, and the data should be tabulated in a way that can be compared across divisions and across cohorts.

 

 

• Examine the support structure for first-year PhD students, including orientation activities, first year course of study, and the mechanism for matching student with advisor. 

 

 

• Recompile the data on graduate student attrition into a form that will allow individual entering cohorts to be tracked longitudinally.

 

 

• Examine longitudinal data for pressure points:  are there points in the student trajectory where attrition of female students preferentially occurs, cohort after cohort?   

 

 

• Compare longitudinal data across cohorts for evidence of change over time: is there evidence that female students in more recent cohorts are faring better than the cohorts from  5 or 10 years ago? 

 

 


New Hires for Tenure-eligible Ranks

 

 

 

1999-2000

1996-1998

 

Current Tenure-Elig.

Faculty

 

New Hires

Current Tenure-Elig.

Faculty

 

New Hires

Total Arts & Sciences

33%

34%

28%

32%

Humanities

43%

45%

40%

46%

Social Sciences

36%

48%

24%

32%

Natural Sciences

23%

16%

20%

19%

 

 

 

1993-1995

1990-1992

 

Current Tenure-Elig.

Faculty

 

New Hires

Current Tenure-Elig.

Faculty

 

New Hires

Total Arts & Sciences

30%

31%

31%

29%

Humanities

42%

63%

44%

37%

Social Sciences

27%

25%

29%

31%

Natural Sciences

17%

11%

13%

16%


 

 

New Hires for Tenure-eligible Ranks

 

1999-2000

 

 

% Women

 

 

Current  Ten-El. Faculty

New Hires

 

Applicant Pool

 

National Availability Pool

Total Arts & Sciences

33%

34%

>

23%

<

43%

Humanities

43%

45%

<

48%

<

51%

Social Sciences

36%

48%

>

31%

<

42%

Natural Sciences

23%

16%

>

14%

<

39%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• Women applicants for Columbia tenure-eligible positions are successful in the competition for those jobs, disproportionately successful.

 

• However, women are not represented within the Columbia applicant pool in proportion to their abundance in the national availability pool. 

 

 

 

 

 


 



Why are women under-represented in our applicant pools?

Hypotheses to explore:

 

 

(1) New York City may be off-putting to some women (for example, women with children).

 

(2) Columbia’s long tradition as an educator and employer of men may be off-putting to some women.

 

(3) Women may tend to underestimate their own accomplishments and thus be less likely to apply for positions for which they are marginally qualified.    (Or conversely, men may tend to overestimate….) 

 

(4)  Advisors / mentors at other universities  may be, on average,  more likely to encourage men to apply for a challenging job than women.

 

(5) For candidates who are discovered through networking and encouraged to apply:  Male senior faculty may preferentially ask for tips from male colleagues, and/or male faculty elsewhere may preferentially recommend male candidates.

 

(6) Some women may choose to confine their job search to “easier” jobs which offer the possibility of a better work-life balance.

 

(7) On average, job-hunting women may apply for fewer jobs.  This could be the case, for example, for women who constrain their job search geographically. 

 


 

Entry to the Tenured Ranks

1990 – 2000

 

 

Women/Total

 

Tenured Faculty

Internal Promotions

External Hires

Targets*  of Opportunity

Total Arts & Sciences

1990: 13% 2000: 20%

33%

(29/88)

22%

(19/87)

27%

(8/30)

Humanities

1990: 17% 2000: 25%

40%

(15/38)

40%

(10/25)

50%

(5/10)

Social Sciences

1990: 13% 2000: 23%

40%

(10/40)

19%

(7/36)

33%

(3/9)

Natural Sciences

1990: 8% 2000: 11%

16%

(4/21)

8%

(2/24)

0%

(0/11)

* Applicant pool of one person, in Affirmative Action records

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


Ten year trend for English: Faculty numbers

(relabeled “A bad example”)

 

Ten year trend for English: Students & Faculty percentages

(label covered)

 

Ten year trend for Econ: Faculty numbers

(relabeled:  “A good example”)
Change in Representation of Women on Faculty

(1990 – 2000)

 

 

Improved substantially:

 

Anthropology

Classics

Economics

Italian

Philosophy

Psychology

Sociology

 

 

 

 

Least Improved:

 

English & Comparative Literature

Germanic Languages

Middle East & Asian Languages & Culture

 


Recommendations Concerning Faculty Pipeline

 

 

   Investigate hypotheses concerning low representation of women in Columbia’s tenure-eligible applicant pools:  comparison with other elite universities, other NYC universities. 

 

• Recruit women pro-actively for tenure-eligible positions.  Scrutinize the make up of the applicant pool, as well as considering whether women in the applicant pool were fairly considered.

 

• Scrutinize external hires to tenured positions, especially targets of opportunity.  

 

• Disseminate the department-by-department data on faculty and student gender balance over time, 1990-2000, to allow individual departments to evaluate their own standing and progress.

 

• Investigate the gender balance of fluxes out of the faculty:  by retirement/death and for other jobs,  at tenured and tenure-eligible levels.

 

• Extend pipeline study to other Schools.