The ADVANCE IT-Catalyst project, “Establishing the Foundation for Future Organizational Reform and Transformation at Rochester Institute of Technology” Establishing the Foundation for Future Organizational and Reform at RIT or simply EFFORT @ RIT (#0811076, 8/1/08 – 7/31/12, $199,770). The EFFORT @ RIT research objective is to identify barriers for current women faculty at RIT in regards to rank, tenure, career advancement, leadership role progression, and resource allocation in order to establish how well the university addresses issues that have been found to be important in the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women faculty.
During the study, the research team sought answers to six primary research questions:
What is the distribution of STEM faculty by gender, rank, and department?
What are the outcomes of institutional processes of recruitment and advancement for men and women?
What is the gender distribution of faculty in leadership positions?
What is the allocation of resources for faculty?
Are there barriers to the recruitment and advancement of women?
How successful are existing structures at addressing these barriers?
The study focused on six colleges including computing, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines and where possible and practical, extended the focus to the two remaining colleges (liberal arts and business) and other non-STEM departments due to the integral role each serve within this technologically focused university.
Climate survey results, in conjunction with the objective data review and benchmarking information, led to the identification of barriers to the recruitment and advancement of women faculty involving career navigation, climate, and flexibility/options for managing the work/life balance. Issues related to career navigation could be caused by women’s self-agency and negotiation skills, coupled with a lack of “sponsorship” from more seasoned faculty and/or administration, hinder the success of female faculty in obtaining more advantageous starting packages, assignments, compensation, and promotion. Climate issues are exacerbated by female’s view of the workplace in personal terms, as opposed to a more male process-oriented view, meaning that issues of connectedness, support, and interpersonal relations, are important to their success. Overall satisfaction for men and women seems to be tied to faculty perception of value and influence, and to a lesser extent to one’s view of the department climate and work/life balance. Finally, managing work/life balance through flexible work arrangements, available and convenient child care, and tenure clock adjustments, may lower stress and increase satisfaction, and potentially aid in the retention of female (and male) faculty.
This study sought answers to each research question and the following report summarizes evidence-driven results and conclusions for each. Based on the findings, a list of detailed recommendations are offered which will afford RIT the opportunity to systematically track and report on data related to the representation, advancement, and recruitment of women faculty at RIT. To promote the success and advancement of women faculty at RIT, other recommendations are aimed at enhancing or implementing new programs and policies which stem from the study’s findings. Recommendations that follow seek to address barriers to the recruitment, representation, and advancement of women faculty at RIT by building on existing institutional structures as well as developing and integrating new structures.
Career Life Survey
Over the course of the 2008 academic year, the Survey Group developed a comprehensive career-life survey focusing on gender issues in STEM. The team reviewed climate surveys previously developed and administered at other NSF ADVANCE institutions, primarily the survey developed at the University of Michigan and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
They survey titled the "RIT Faculty Career Life Survey" was administered at RIT in the fall of 2009. Questions from these surveys were composed based on existing RIT culture and background. The survey was structured around four primary areas:
Teaching, Resources, and Service
Career Satisfaction, Work Load, Recognition
Climate, Mentoring, Tenure, Promotion
Balancing Personal and Professional Life
Four individuals with experience in assessment and evaluation, but not involved in this study as investigators or survey participants, tested the final survey instrument in a paper format for clarity of questions and categories, formatting and time requirements. Minor updates were made based on their feedback.
Using data from the Human Resources Information System, counts of STEM tenured and tenure track faculty were developed for the periods of October 2004 through October 2010 to examine trends. Where more in-depth data was readily available, it was used to study areas including leadership, applicants, hires, attrition, promotion, and tenure.
In addition to the objective data review and analysis of HR data, a salary study was conducted using a statistical analysis methodology. A modeling effort was undertaken to evaluate the following research question, Is there pay inequity related to gender? A series of linear regression models were developed using male faculty data then fitted to all faculty. Chi Square comparisons were run to see if female faculty tended to have more below the predicted salary than male faculty. Comparisons were generated for the entire population, by rank, by college, and by rank within college. Salary equity analysis was generated using available variables such as time in rank, college, terminal degree, gender, ethnicity, and length of service.
The policy benchmarking activity was one of the earliest activities in the grant, providing a starting point for identifying areas that should be investigated further in the survey activity.
Methodology: A literature review identified several policy areas that are typically associated with cultural and gender diversity. These include:
Procedures/Benefits considered relevant to women seeking an academic position
Tuition support for family
RIT’s policies and procedures were researched to determine whether or not these policies were in place. RIT’s thirteen benchmark schools, as defined on the Human Resources website, were then investigated to identify if they had the policies in place. Four of the benchmark schools are also ADVANCE schools, which provided another comparison.
COACHE Faculty Survey
The Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) survey was first administered at RIT in 2013 through the collaborative efforts of Academic Affairs, Human Resources, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Faculty Career Development, and the RIT AdvanceRIT project. Since then, the AdvanceRIT team, the COACHE Taskforce and the RIT Administration has continued to analyze, review, discuss, and present the data across campus.
The overall response rate was 51%. The response rates for women and faculty of color were 59% and 46%, respectively. The AdvanceRIT team members participated in webinars presented by COACHE in November 2016 to better understand the data and how to disseminate it effectively. Continued dialogue with COACHE has occurred over the past several years to strengthen and develop understanding of faculty data trends and implications.
Data-informed discussions with deans, chairs and directors, associate deans, and the Academic Senate have occurred. College-level data is shared with individual colleges. AdvanceRIT analyzes the data, specifically focusing on subpopulations (hearing status, gender, and race). Surveys are conducted triennially (2013, 2016, 2019, etc.).
2019 COACHE Faculty Survey
RIT will be participating in the third cycle of COACHE in February 2019. Provost Granberg and the COACHE 2019 Task Force will be sending details to faculty in late January. Faculty participation in the survey is important -- based on initiatives resulting from data collected during the past two COACHE surveys, RIT has revised tenure and promotion policies, initiated workshops for tenure and promotion committees, and developed resources for candidates going through the evaluation process. Feedback also revealed the need for greater attention to faculty needs within senior administration and as a result, a new position was created for an Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs. Data collected from the 2019 survey will help us continue to identify areas of strength and areas of concern for RIT and give us the information necessary to work toward thoughtful, tangible solutions.
2016 COACHE Survey Results
Results from the 2016 COACHE faculty survey highlight faculty perspectives on institutional strengths, areas for improvement, and job satisfaction across twenty themed question categories. A total of 491 of 958 full-time faculty (pre-tenured, tenured, and non-tenure track) responded, including 198 of 338 women faculty (59%) and 292 of 619 men faculty (47%).
Data analysis included comparisons among campus groups by tenure status, rank, gender, and race (white faculty vs. faculty of color). Differences are reported by effect size: small (between 0.1 and 0.3), medium (between 0.3 and 0.5), and large (greater than 0.5). COACHE defines effect size as measuring differences between paired subgroups within a campus.
Compared with pre-tenured male faculty, pre-tenured female faculty gave lower mean ratings on several items related to the tenure process. These items are highlighted in the list and figure below.
Large effect size by gender was found for female faculty on the following items: Clarity of Tenure Process, Clarity of Tenure Criteria, Clarity of Body of Evidence for Deciding Tenure, and Tenure Decisions Are Performance Based.
Medium effect size by gender was found for female faculty on the following items: Clarity of Tenure Standards, Clarity of Whether I Will Achieve Tenure, Clarity of Expectations: Scholar, Clarity of Expectations: Broader Community, and Consistency of Messages About Tenure.
Although the effect sizes were small, female faculty gave lower mean ratings than male faculty on the following items related to promotion: Priorities Are Stated Consistently, Priorities Are Acted on Consistently, and Changed Priorities Negatively Affect My Work.
Key Results by Hearing Status and by Gender/Ethnicity
The recruitment and management of talented faculty, as well as of their leadership and career development, are vital to a university's success. What are the best strategies to improve the effectiveness of each? Senior academic officers who lead the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education believe that sound data provides the foundation for a search for best practices. Since 2005, COACHE has surveyed faculty at over 200 colleges and universities. In the fall of 2012, RIT administered the COACHE Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey to its entire full-time faculty. This report highlights key differences in the satisfaction levels among RIT tenure-track faculty, when grouped by hearing status and by gender/ethnicity. Below is a list of key findings based on the faculty groupings with more detailed information following.
Significant differences by gender, hearing status, and ethnicity
Female faculty were less satisfied than male faculty in: Tenure Reasonableness. Male faculty were less satisfied than female faculty in: Mentoring (effectiveness of mentoring outside the department and institute, and importance of mentoring)
Hearing faculty were more satisfied than Deaf/HH faculty in: Nature of Work - Research, Health and Retirement Benefits, and Division Leadership. Deaf/HH faculty were more satisfied than hearing faculty in: Tenure Clarity and Promotion.
White faculty were less satisfied than all other ethnic groups in: Tenure Policy (clarity of process, criteria and standards) and Tenure Clarity (clarity of expectations - scholar)
Find more information on the survey at the following links:
Discussions continue with Institutional Research (IR) and HR to determine best practices for institutionalizing routine faculty data collection and reporting. With the introduction of Tableau data visualization software in HR and IR, there is an opportunity to create reports that summarize and visualize the indicator data and would be available on demand to appropriate campus leadership to be used in decision-making processes.
AdvanceRIT PI's have worked closely with a cross-divisional team that includes Human Resources, the Office of Faculty Recruitment and Retention, and Academic Affairs for several years while developing a survey instrument and protocol for a faculty exit interview process for full-time RIT faculty. The committee finalized and launched, in May of 2013, a faculty exit survey instrument and associated protocol, and the faculty exit process kicked off in June 2013. It is conducted annually through Human Resources and will continue into the future. It is now a system within the RIT Human Resources and Academic Affairs units with annual dissemination to key members of the upper administration and the AdvanceRIT team.
Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Research
RIT is home to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID). During the first year of the grant there were 31 Deaf/Hard of Hearing (D/HH) women faculty at NTID (likely the highest number in the U.S.). Two faculty subgroups were identified as playing a specific role within the grant - Women of Color (WoC) faculty and Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) women faculty. This update focuses on DHH Women at RIT.
The DHH Women's ADVANCE effort is organized within two teams:
The Connectivity Series Team focused on creating opportunities for professional/career development and networking for DHH women faculty at NTID, RIT and at events off campus such as professional conferences.
The Social Science Research Team focused on designing, conducting and disseminating results regarding the career navigation and challenges facing DHH women who pursue careers at mainstream universities.
The summary below includes past efforts and projected future work in each team area.
Social Science Research
In 2013-2014, the Social Science Research team designed, conducted and analyzed two focus group interviews with DHH women faculty. Opt-in and snowball strategies used to recruit participants yielded a total of 13 interviewees who were divided into two interview groups. Each interview lasted approximately 90 minutes and was recorded via voice interpreters. Transcripts were analyzed using a grounded theory approach in which data are systematically reviewed and organized in ways that reflect existing theory or suggest new theory regarding the phenomena under study (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). Main topics covered included descriptions of career their career pathways, including barriers and strategies to overcome barriers, the influence of both formal and informal mentoring/support, and the importance of opportunities for peer networking. Deeper analysis revealed that DHH women academics developed alternative approaches and strategies to overcome barriers, including resilience/persistence, independent learning, and self-reflection. Additionally, a survey was administered to all NTID faculty to learn their concerns and suggestions regarding career development.
The research efforts have resulted thus far in the development of several papers, all of which have been presented one or more times at national conferences. A subset of the papers have been submitted to journals.
The DHH team has worked the past several years (2016-present) with defining the elements of the project that should continue into the no-cost extension and beyond the end of the grant. Areas under consideration include a permanent speaker series, focused workshops and supports for DHH faculty, and targeted areas for improvement such as the establishment of funding sources for DHH faculty who attend primarily hearing events and conferences.
The DHH project team continue to meet regularly for their Connectivity Series gatherings and formal speaker sessions. Based on National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) faculty feedback and with the support of NTID President Buckley, the DHH Connectivity Series is now offered in two (DHH and ALL faculty) session formats for all faculty to have the opportunity to attend. The DHH research team’s focus group findings uncovered themes of career pathways, mentoring, and networking. A February 2017 workshop was presented for deaf women in administration, and a session for all faculty regarding the past, present, and future of deaf education. The DHH team has defined the elements of the project that should continue beyond the end of the grant. Elements under consideration include a permanent speaker series, focused workshops and supports for DHH faculty, and targeted areas for improvement such as the establishment of funding sources for DHH faculty who attend primarily hearing events and conferences.