Family leave policies.
Few institutions seem toacknowledge that when job pressures are highest,family pressures and needs are also high. Policies forsupporting women faculty in their childbirth decisionsvary widely. For example, although all institutionsmust abide by the federally mandated Family andMedical Leave Act and offer employees up to 12weeks of unpaid leave, institutional policies regardingpaid leave are much more uncertain. Only a handfuloffer paid leave, with most women relying on a fewweeks of sick leave for pay. Even when a paid leave isoffered, such as by Harvard University, the Universityof California, and the University of North Carolina, thedepartment head typically determines how muchteaching relief is offered. Untenured women facultymay ﬁnd that it is difﬁcult to negotiate, given their vul-nerable position. “Because the decision making is sodecentralized, you are at the mercy of your chair,” saysan associate professor at a research university, whoasked not to be named. “I don’t think as a juniorwoman you can go in and start raising the roof”(Wilson 1999, p. A15). Despite the fact that someinstitutions strive to create a family-supportive envi-ronment, it can be perceived as a career interruptionfor a woman faculty member to take time off for child-birth and child rearing. This situation affects morewomen than men, with almost 30 percent of womenreporting that they have had to interrupt their careerfor more than one year for family reasons, versus only5.9 percent of their male colleagues (Higher EducationResearch Institute 1999).•
Various stress factors.
The HERI study also surveyedfaculty members’ perceptions, attitudes, and issuepriorities. Among the issues rated as a high prioritywere the need to hire more women and minorityfaculty and administrators, the need to recruit moreminority students, and the desire to create morediverse multicultural campus environments. Whileboth male and female faculty members rated theseissues as high priority, there were differences in thestress factor ratings among males and females.Figure 2 illustrates these differences and providesinsight into the sources of stress for female facultymembers.•
Undersupply of minority Ph.D.s.
Faculty of Color inAcademe: Bittersweet Success
(Turner and Myers1999), the authors examined several issues thataffect minority faculty. Numerous data sources wereexamined and original qualitative and quantitativeresearch was conducted. The authors concluded that,regardless of data interpretation, African Americans,American Indians, and Latinos are substantiallyunderrepresented in U.S. universities. One of themost common conceptions is that the lack of minori-ty faculty members stems from the perceived under-supply of minority Ph.D.s. However, the authorsfound that an undersupply has a statistically signifi-cant but small impact on minority faculty representa-tion; rather, market wages exert a far greater impacton the underrepresentation of minority faculty inhigher education (Turner and Myers 1999). In otherwords, minority Ph.D.s are often presented withhigher-paying job opportunities outside academe.•
Coolness toward minorities.
Compounding the inabili-ty to attract minority faculty members is the reputa-tion of a “chilly climate” for minorities at many insti-tutions. Universities in eight Midwestern states wererecently studied, and the findings revealed a persist-ent environment of exclusion, isolation, alienation,and racism for faculty of color in predominately whiteuniversity settings (Turner and Myers 1999). A majorfactor contributing to this uninviting climate is theassumption exhibited by some that minority facultymembers are hired without the appropriate creden-tials or qualifications. Further, ifthe minority facultymember chooses to study atopic associated with his or herown ethnic group, the researchinterest is often dismissed asself-serving or too narrow. Evenafter earning tenure, manyminority faculty members
Summer 2002Figure 2
Faculty Members’ Sources of StressFemale FacultyMale Faculty
Review/promotion process51.9%43%Subtle discrimination (prejudice, racism, sexism)34.9%17.1%Time pressures91.5%82.2%Lack of personal time 88.1%74.9%Managing household responsibilities80.8%65.7%Source: Higher Education Research Institute, 1999