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Predictors of depression, stress, and anxiety among non-tenure track faculty

August 26, 2014 Comments off

Predictors of depression, stress, and anxiety among non-tenure track faculty
Source: Frontiers in Psychology

Nationwide in the United States, 70% of faculty members in higher education are employed off the tenure-track. Nearly all of these non-tenure-track (NTT) appointments share a quality that may produce stress for those who hold them: contingency. Most NTT appointments are contingent on budget, enrollment, or both, and the majority of contingent faculty members are hired for one quarter or semester at a time. Significant research has investigated the effects of contingency on teaching, students, departments, colleges, and universities; however, little research has focused on the psychological experiences of NTT faculty. The current study examined perceptions of workplace stressors and harm, organizational commitment, common coping mechanisms, and depression, anxiety and stress among NTT faculty using a longitudinal design that spanned 2–4 months. Results indicate that NTT faculty perceive unique stressors at work that are related to their contingent positions. Specific demographic characteristics and coping strategies, inability to find a permanent faculty position, and commitment to one’s organization predispose NTT faculty to perceive greater harm and more sources of stress in their workplaces. Demographic characteristics, lower income, inability to find a permanent faculty position, disengagement coping mechanisms (e.g., giving up, denial), and organizational commitment were associated with the potential for negative outcomes, particularly depression, anxiety, and stress. Our findings suggest possibilities for institutional intervention. Overall, we argue that universities would be well-served by attending to the needs of NTT faculty on campus in order to mitigate negative outcomes for institutions, students, and faculty.

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What Happens Before? A Field Experiment Exploring How Pay and Representation Differentially Shape Bias on the Pathway into Organizations

August 13, 2014 Comments off

What Happens Before? A Field Experiment Exploring How Pay and Representation Differentially Shape Bias on the Pathway into Organizations
Source: Social Science Research Network

Little is known about how discrimination against women and minorities manifests before individuals formally apply to organizations or how it varies within and between organizations. We address this knowledge gap through an audit study in academia of over 6,500 professors at top U.S. universities drawn from 89 disciplines and 259 institutions. We hypothesized that discrimination would appear at the informal “pathway” preceding entry to academia and would vary by discipline and university as a function of faculty representation and pay. In our experiment, professors were contacted by fictional prospective students seeking to discuss research opportunities before applying to a doctoral program. Students’ names were randomly assigned to signal gender and race, but messages were otherwise identical. Faculty ignored requests from women and minorities at a higher rate than requests from Caucasian males, particularly in higher-paying disciplines and private institutions. Counterintuitively, the representation of women and minorities and discrimination were uncorrelated.

The One Percent at State U

May 21, 2014 Comments off

The One Percent at State U
Source: Institute for Policy Studies

State universities have come under increasing criticism for excessive executive pay, soaring student debt, and low-wage faculty labor. In the public debate, these issues are often treated separately. Our study examines what happened to student debt and faculty labor at the 25 public universities with the highest executive pay (hereafter “the top 25”) from fall 2005 to summer 2012 (FY 2006 – FY 2012). Our findings suggest these issues are closely related and should be addressed together in the future.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, executive pay at “the top 25” has risen dramatically to far exceed pre-crisis levels. Over the same period, low-wage faculty labor and student debt at these institutions rose faster than national averages. In short, a top-heavy, “1% recovery” occurred at major state universities across the country, largely at the expense of students and faculty.

  • The student debt crisis is worse at state schools with the highest-paid presidents. The sharpest rise in student debt at the top 25 occurred when executive compensation soared the highest.
  • As students went deeper in debt, administrative spending outstripped scholarship spending by more than 2 to 1 at state schools with the highest-paid presidents.
  • As presidents’ pay at the top 25 skyrocketed after 2008, part-time adjunct faculty increased more than twice as fast as the national average at all universities.
  • At state schools with the highest-paid presidents, permanent faculty declined dramatically as a percentage of all faculty. By fall 2012, part-time and contingent faculty at the top 25 outnumbered permanent faculty for the first time.
  • Average executive pay at the top 25 rose to nearly $1 million by 2012 – increasing more than twice as fast as the national average at public research universities.

What Happens Before? A Field Experiment Exploring How Pay and Representation Differentially Shape Bias on the Pathway into Organizations

May 14, 2014 Comments off

What Happens Before? A Field Experiment Exploring How Pay and Representation Differentially Shape Bias on the Pathway into Organizations
Source: Social Science Research Network

Little is known about how discrimination against women and minorities manifests before individuals formally apply to organizations or how it varies within and between organizations. We address this knowledge gap through an audit study in academia of over 6,500 professors at top U.S. universities drawn from 89 disciplines and 259 institutions. We hypothesized that discrimination would appear at the informal “pathway” preceding entry to academia and would vary by discipline and university as a function of faculty representation and pay. In our experiment, professors were contacted by fictional prospective students seeking to discuss research opportunities prior to applying to a doctoral program. Names of students were randomly assigned to signal gender and race (Caucasian, Black, Hispanic, Indian, Chinese), but messages were otherwise identical. We found that faculty ignored requests from women and minorities at a higher rate than requests from Caucasian males, particularly in higher-paying disciplines and private institutions. Counterintuitively, the representation of women and minorities and discrimination were uncorrelated, suggesting that greater representation cannot be assumed to reduce discrimination. This research highlights the importance of studying what happens before formal entry points into organizations and reveals that discrimination is not evenly distributed within and between organizations.

What Happens Before? A Field Experiment Exploring How Pay and Representation Differentially Shape Bias on the Pathway into Organizations

May 9, 2014 Comments off

What Happens Before? A Field Experiment Exploring How Pay and Representation Differentially Shape Bias on the Pathway into Organizations
Source: Social Science Research Network

Little is known about how discrimination against women and minorities manifests before individuals formally apply to organizations or how it varies within and between organizations. We address this knowledge gap through an audit study in academia of over 6,500 professors at top U.S. universities drawn from 89 disciplines and 259 institutions. We hypothesized that discrimination would appear at the informal “pathway” preceding entry to academia and would vary by discipline and university as a function of faculty representation and pay. In our experiment, professors were contacted by fictional prospective students seeking to discuss research opportunities prior to applying to a doctoral program. Names of students were randomly assigned to signal gender and race (Caucasian, Black, Hispanic, Indian, Chinese), but messages were otherwise identical. We found that faculty ignored requests from women and minorities at a higher rate than requests from Caucasian males, particularly in higher-paying disciplines and private institutions. Counterintuitively, the representation of women and minorities and discrimination were uncorrelated, suggesting that greater representation cannot be assumed to reduce discrimination. This research highlights the importance of studying what happens before formal entry points into organizations and reveals that discrimination is not evenly distributed within and between organizations.

Changing the academic culture: Valuing patents and commercialization toward tenure and career advancement

May 2, 2014 Comments off

Changing the academic culture: Valuing patents and commercialization toward tenure and career advancement (PDF)
Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

There is national and international recognition of the importance of innovation, technology transfer, and entrepreneurship for sustained economic revival. With the decline of industrial research laboratories in the United States, research universities are being asked to play a central role in our knowledge-centered economy by the technology transfer of their discoveries, innovations, and inventions. In response to this challenge, innovation ecologies at and around universities are starting to change. However, the change has been slow and limited. The authors believe this can be attributed partially to a lack of change in incentives for the central stakeholder, the faculty member. The authors have taken the position that universities should expand their criteria to treat patents, licensing, and commercialization activity by faculty as an important consideration for merit, tenure, and career advancement, along with publishing, teaching, and service. This position is placed in a historical context with a look at the history of tenure in the United States, patents, and licensing at universities, the current status of university tenure and career advancement processes, and models for the future.

Why do academics blog? An analysis of audiences, purposes and challenges

November 5, 2013 Comments off

Why do academics blog? An analysis of audiences, purposes and challenges
Source: Studies in Higher Education

Academics are increasingly being urged to blog in order to expand their audiences, create networks and to learn to write in more reader friendly style. This paper holds this advocacy up to empirical scrutiny. A content analysis of 100 academic blogs suggests that academics most commonly write about academic work conditions and policy contexts, share information and provide advice; the intended audience for this work is other higher education staff. We contend that academic blogging may constitute a community of practice in which a hybrid public/private academic operates in a ‘gift economy’. We note however that academic blogging is increasingly of interest to institutions and this may challenge some of the current practices we have recorded. We conclude that there is still much to learn about academic blogging practices.

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