Study Finds Women and Minority Doctoral Candidates May Face Faculty Discrimination

Katherine Milkman

A new study published on the website of the journal Psychological Science, finds that women and minorities are still subjected to discrimination in the academic world. The research team, led by Dr. Katherine L. Milkman at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, sent emails from fictional doctorate students to 6,500 professors at 258 colleges and universities. The emails requested a meeting either that day or in the next week.

Prospective doctoral students with Caucasian sounding male names were 26 percent more likely to be granted an interview for the next week than candidates with names that indicated they were minorities or women. However, for those emails that requested an interview for that day, there was no gender or racial/ethnic difference in those granted appointments.

The authors believe that requests for interviews on that particular day were processed by the professors under the context of whether they have the time and whether it was convenient for them to meet. But in decisions about meetings a week later, the professors were more apt to make their decision on whether the meeting would be worthwhile. The authors conclude that professors who focused on the desirability of a meeting were more likely to discriminate against women and minorities than professors who were more focused on the logistics of meeting that particular day.

The article, which was coauthored by Modupe Akinola of Columbia Business School and Dolly Chugh of the Stern School of Business at New York University, can be accessed here.

Filed Under: DiscriminationFacultyResearch/Study


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