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U.S. Postsecondary Faculty in 2015; Diversity In People, Goals And Methods, But Focused On Students

February 25, 2015 Comments off

U.S. Postsecondary Faculty in 2015; Diversity In People, Goals And Methods, But Focused On Students (PDF)
Source: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Our work aimed to fill important gaps in the knowledge by developing a greater understanding of postsecondary faculty, and their attitudes and beliefs as they affect pedagogical choices and impact student outcomes. We believe this is crucial, as faculty are the key interface between the system and students, often the first to see student needs, and in any event, are crucial in developing and adopting approaches to meet these needs. At the same time, U.S postsecondary faculty are diverse personally, both within and across institutions. Consequently, while many conjectures and hypotheses exist with respect to faculty goals, objectives, and behaviors, there is not a systematic understanding of how these may differ across the professoriate, and how any differences affect the faculty behaviors which most affect student outcomes.

The investigation focused on both the intrinsic and extrinsic motivational factors associated with perceptions of education held by postsecondary faculty in the United States. The research illuminates how different internal and external factors (motivational, behavioral, contextual enablers/barriers, values, beliefs, and demographics) come together to influence faculty members’ willingness to learn about new pedagogies, incorporate new ideas in their work, and spread new ideas regarding teaching and learning to peers and campus leaders

Systematic inequality and hierarchy in faculty hiring networks

February 23, 2015 Comments off

Systematic inequality and hierarchy in faculty hiring networks
Source: Science

The faculty job market plays a fundamental role in shaping research priorities, educational outcomes, and career trajectories among scientists and institutions. However, a quantitative understanding of faculty hiring as a system is lacking. Using a simple technique to extract the institutional prestige ranking that best explains an observed faculty hiring network—who hires whose graduates as faculty—we present and analyze comprehensive placement data on nearly 19,000 regular faculty in three disparate disciplines. Across disciplines, we find that faculty hiring follows a common and steeply hierarchical structure that reflects profound social inequality. Furthermore, doctoral prestige alone better predicts ultimate placement than a U.S. News & World Report rank, women generally place worse than men, and increased institutional prestige leads to increased faculty production, better faculty placement, and a more influential position within the discipline. These results advance our ability to quantify the influence of prestige in academia and shed new light on the academic system.

Sociology Faculty Salaries Appear to Be Better Off 2013 – 2014: Faculty Salary Brief for Sociology and Other Social Science Disciplines

February 2, 2015 Comments off

Sociology Faculty Salaries Appear to Be Better Off 2013 – 2014: Faculty Salary Brief for Sociology and Other Social Science Disciplines (PDF)
Source: American Sociological Association

For the first time since the end of the Great Recession, sociology faculty salaries (across ranks) in current dollars increased faster than the rate of inflation, according to annual surveys by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and surveys by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR). In fact, the average sociology faculty salary in AY 2013-2104 increased by 2.7% from the previous year (AY 2012-2013) in current dollars. This average increase was 1.2 percentage points above the rate of inflation, the highest since the AY 2009-2010 recession years, and was higher than the 2.2% increase in current dollars for all full-time faculty members across disciplines, according to the annual AAUP survey (Curtis and Thornton 2014; Flaherty 2014) and the 2.1% raise as measured by CUPA-HR (CUPA-HR 2014). Although the percent increase in salaries was higher than average, when compared to other social science disciplines, sociology faculty had the lowest salaries, on average.

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.

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.

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