How the University of California, Irvine Narrowed the Gender Faculty Gap

uci-primary-wordmark-blueA report, published in the journal Sociological Perspectives, shows how the University of California, Irvine has taken steps to reduce the gender gap in faculty hiring. According to this research, the Irvine campus has made greater strides in reducing the gender gap in faculty than other University of California campuses.

In the early 1990s, women accounted for just 20 percent of the faculty at the Irvine campus. In 2001, the university adopted the ADVANCE program that designated 10 senior faculty member to act as equity advisers in faculty searches. In 2009, eight years after the establishment of the ADVANCE program, women made up 32 percent of the total faculty. This was an 8 percentage point increase over the eight-year period. The average increase for the University of California as a whole during the period was 5 percentage points. Today, women make up 34 percent of the faculty at the University of California, Irvine.

Stepan_NorrisJudith Stepan-Norris, professor of sociology, vice provost for academic planning, and co-author of the study, states that “challenging peers with charges of bias risks damage to collegiality, advancement and possible collaborations. But when equity advisers who have knowledge, influence and credibility put their energies into systematically overseeing and – when necessary – challenging recruitment committee deliberations, they make an impact.

“The peer-to-peer engagement, training and robust attention to such things as pay equality, advancement, mentoring programs, award nominations and workshops serve to remove hurdles and barriers to gender equity in the search and advancement processes,” Dr. Stepan-Norris added. “We have a way to go in closing the gender gap and fully realizing inclusive excellence, but programs like this provide effective road maps for moving us toward that goal.”

Professor Stepan-Norris has been on the faculty at the University of California, Irvine since 1990. She was promoted to full professor in 2002. Dr. Stepan-Norris holds a bachelor’s degree and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Kerrissey-edit_0Co-author of the study is Jasmine Kerrissey, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Dr. Kerrissey earned her Ph.D. in sociology at the University of California, Irvine, where Dr. Stepan-Norris was her adviser. She is a graduate of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and also holds a master’s degree in sociology from the university of California, Irvine.

Filed Under: FacultyGender GapResearch/Study


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