New initiative looks to bring equity to academic service culture
- Women and minorities are overrepresented in the total amount of faculty work being done on academic service committees, out-of-classroom mentoring and larger teaching loads.
- As part of a pilot program funded by the National Science Foundation, researchers are examining the distribution of faculty service in STEM departments across public systems of higher education in Maryland, North Carolina and Massachusetts to promote institutional transparency of service commitments.
- Minorities and women are being asked to serve on committees in the name of promotional consideration at disparate rates, which in many cases, is actually harming their chances for tenure and promotion because it is compromising their publication productivity.
Colleges and universities seeking to communicate to their stakeholders that diversity is an institutional priority will need to demonstrate this commitment in faculty and administrative recruitment and retention. These individuals are part of the institutional product which attracts and retains students, earns research funding, and ultimately dictates the viability of the academic business model. Cultivating the happiness of professors translates to success in most areas of higher education business.
In a growing culture of faculty and executives being lured away by competing institutions, anything which makes a current position better than any other they could receive is a win for a campus working to build a faculty roster of stars without interpersonal resentment.