However, according to the new report, the amount of female staff has almost doubled in science (from 30 to 52) and engineering (from 32 to 60), in addition there are more women in senior administrative positions. In fact, since 2004 the President of MIT is neuroscientist Susan Hockfield who has earlier worked at Yale Universityas the William Edward Gilbert Professor of Neurobiology and provost.
While the earlier reports emphasized that the women in MIT felt professionally marginalized, the new report indicates progress. The MIT site cites Lorna Gibson, who is a professor of Materials Science and Engineering and chair of the School of Engineering study, who said that: “I chaired the study 10 years ago for engineering, and if you had asked me then how much better I thought it could get for women faculty, I never would have thought that we would get this far in 10 years“. (more…)
Earlier phases of the project had highlighted the need for a more nuanced way of rewards in academe, that would amongst else not be so focused on quantitative publishing metrics. The report also highlights some of the eminent issues for peer reviewing at this point of time, such as: assessing interdisciplinary scholarship, hybrid disciplines, the development of new online forms of edition making and collaborative curation for community resource use, heavily computational subdisciplines, large-scale collaborations around grand challenge questions, an increase in multiple authorship, a growing flood of low-quality publications, and the call by governments, funding bodies, universities, and individuals for the open access publication of taxpayer-subsidized research, including original data sets.
This indicates new types of challenges and opportunities – leading to a new type of environment for existing peer review practices. Provided that peer review does form the basis for most judgments in academe, both with respect to publishing but also with respect to evaluations – it is indeed extremely important to shed more light into the practices.
The report covers five aspects:
an overview of the state of peer review in the Academy at large
a set of recommendations for moving forward
a proposed research agenda to examine in depth the effects of academic status-seeking on the entire academic enterprise
proceedings from the workshop on the four topics noted above
four substantial and broadly conceived background papers on the workshop topics, with associated literature reviews
The fact that women still are underrepresented in the academia in tenured positions, is probably not a surprise to anyone. There are, of course, significant differences between disciplines, and there is variety between various countries and contexts, where fields related to natural sciences are often used as an example where the gap has been especially persistent.
Historically there was an assumption that provided that one gets more women into post-graduate education, the gap would disappear by itself over time as these women gradually enter the tenured positions. However, thirty and forty years later, the gap is still there. How can this be explained? The gap has been called many things – the glass ceiling and the boys-club being one example. In 1994, Louise Morley called it the “iron cage”, taking a starting point in the situation in the UK, and indicates that even in 1988-1989, only 3% of professors in the UK were women.
Arguably, the gap has remained especially strong in natural sciences and technology related fields. A recent Nature article reviews a study by Ceci and Williams from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York (US), and argues that the time has come to not call it a glass ceiling or a old-boys club: “the metaphor that best describes the challenge facing women in science today is the invisible web.” Indeed, the study also indicates that there has been a huge increase in the amount of PhDs awarded to women: for example, in life sciences the number rose from 13% in 1970 to 52% today. On the other hand – they also indicate that only 8.8–15.8% of the tenure track holders in math-intensive fields are women. So what happens underway? (more…)
A recent study by the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), featured in both Times Higher Education news and University World News, surveyed higher education institutions in Australia, Canada, Malaysia, New
Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. The survey indicated that when living costs were taken into account, it was Australian universities that pay top salaries, followed by South Africa. It is notable that South Africa was in the bottom of the list during the last survey in 2006-2007, having had a 51% increase in academic salaries since.
In this seminar, the three speakers address national as well as joint NAFTA higher education issues. Their presentations are based on their recent research projects, which include an international project on The Changing nature of the Academic Profession (CAP-project); a project comparing Mexican higher education, and the Mexican science and innovation systems with a number of other Latin American countries; and a project on International Graduate Education. In addition, the speakers discuss the similarities and differences between higher education developments in NAFTA and the EU together with Prof. Peter Maassen (University of Oslo).