How Research, Teaching, and Leadership Roles are Recommended to Male and Female Engineering Faculty Differently

Abstract

Across disciplines, male faculty spend more time on research than female faculty. Yet, women tend to teach and mentor students more hours than men (Misra et al. in Glob J Eng Educ 14(1):119–131, 2011). These disparities play pivotal roles in tenure and promotion decisions wherein research and leadership roles are most valued (Green in J Soc Work Educ 44(2):117–128, 2008). There is considerable evidence suggesting that implicit biases underpin some of these faculty roles differences, particularly in male-dominated disciplines, such as engineering. At the same time, there is limited evidence that, once aware of gender inequity, individuals will engage in bias correction in order to rectify prejudice. This study was designed to evaluate if implicit bias or bias correction could be detected when faculty considered the most appropriate roles for other faculty. Faculty from 50 colleges of engineering completed an activity wherein they assigned five fictitious engineering faculty characters to five assignments (one research, one leadership, and three teaching/advising roles). One version of the activity contained only male names; the other version was identical except for the change of the middle character’s name from male (Charlie) to female (Cathy). Results indicated that both men and women were significantly more likely to select Cathy for both the leadership and research positions over Charlie. Regression analysis of the Cathy Group data indicated respondents’ gender did not predict selection of Cathy to the leadership role; however, women were significantly more likely than men to select Cathy to do research.

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Funding was provided by Division of Undergraduate Education (Grant No. 1524527).

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Correspondence to Eugene Judson.

Appendix

Appendix

Assignment of Research, Teaching, Advising and Leadership Activity (ARTALA)

[Cathy Version, does not include background questions]

Pretend you are Associate Dean in the Engineering & Computer Science College at State Research University (SRU). The Engineering College has 14,000 undergraduate students and 4,000 graduate students. Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering is the largest department in the college. There are several tasks and opportunities that need to be recommended to members of the Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering Department. Below are 5 faculty members who have room in their schedules. You are to make recommendations for the upcoming academic year. You must make recommendations based on the limited information below. Assume research interests of all people are similar.

Adam—is an Assistant Professor in his 2nd year. His dissertation, focused on computer-integrated processes and manufacturing methods, received an award from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME). He enjoys teaching his undergraduate engineering courses where he tries to limit lecturing and get students involved. Adam continues to develop his research agenda and his time has been fairly well protected and not taxed with many extra duties
Bob—is an Assistant Professor who submitted his tenure package 2 months ago and is waiting to hear back. He has a strong publication record focused on automation in the manufacturing process, and he co-authors with colleagues at other universities. He helped develop the Engineering Sciences minor for non-engineering students, focusing on the societal role of engineering
Cathy—has been an Associate Professor for 3 years. She is well liked by students and her student evaluations are above departmental average. She has an active research lab and is PI of a 5-year NSF research grant (now in year 3). In addition to a PhD, she also holds an MS in human systems engineering. She additionally worked at Ford on manufacturing process planning for 6 years
David—has been an Associate Professor for 6 years. His classes are known for being interactive and he received a college teaching award 2 years ago. Before coming to the university he worked in the Advanced Manufacturing Office of the U.S. Department of Energy where he was involved with research related to next generation electric machines. He has also managed teams of engineers working on advanced manufacturing projects
Eric—is a full Professor with ties to local manufacturing industry. He has often helped seniors and graduate students secure internships and entry-level jobs. Recently he has helped develop a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) project within the college. He has a consistent record of research that has led to publications, grants, and related patents. Eric plans to retire in 5 years

For each of the individuals above, indicate below ONE responsibility you recommend for them. Each person must be recommended to only one of the following responsibilities. Place the person’s first initial (A–E) next to your recommendations.

____ Advise incoming graduate students to help them find an advisor in their research area.

____Act as Department Co-Chair for the upcoming academic year with a full professor. The Department Chair will be on sabbatical.

____Be the faculty sponsor for the student chapter of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME).

____Work with professors from the Materials Science Department on an NSF research project focusing on materials processing and manufacturing research [a topic of interest to all 5 of these faculty members]

____Work with two other faculty members to develop a new Intro to Engineering course for freshmen. Course to focus on interdisciplinary nature of engineering and emphasize ethics and societal values.

Below, please let us know your reasons for selecting the tasks you selected for each person.

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Judson, E., Ross, L. & Glassmeyer, K. How Research, Teaching, and Leadership Roles are Recommended to Male and Female Engineering Faculty Differently. Res High Educ 60, 1025–1047 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11162-018-09542-8

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Keywords

  • Gender
  • Faculty
  • Engineering
  • Bias
  • Job-sorting
  • Bias correction
  • Implicit bias
  • Gender equity
  • Higher education