New Study Aims to Determine How to Boost the Number of Women Academics in Management Information Systems

Only about 28 percent of information systems faculty at U.S. colleges and universities are women. Michelle Carter, an associate professor in the Carson College of Business at Washington State University, is a leading consultant on a $1 million National Science Foundation grant aimed at increasing the number of women professors in information systems.

When women are underrepresented as faculty members, it affects how female students view opportunities for academic careers in information systems, according to Dr. Carter. “If we don’t see other women in certain positions, it’s harder for us to imagine ourselves in those roles,” said Professor Carter, a faculty member in the college’s department of management, information systems, and entrepreneurship.

Through the three-year National Science Foundation grant, Dr. Carter and her research collaborators at five other universities hope to make strides in gender equity, particularly in the numbers of women earning the rank of full professor. As part of the grant, Carter will lead training on recognizing gender bias for the leadership and members of the Association of Information Systems, an international organization for academics in the field. “To create change for women academics across the system, we recognized that we needed AIS leadership to get involved and lead the way,” Dr. Carter said.

The researchers will collect data identifying barriers to women’s advancement in academic careers, including promotions and tenure. They will also craft policies to recognize women’s contributions to the field of information systems.

“In academia, we review each other’s work and recommend people for leadership. We’re not always aware of how our own socialization affects our choices,” Dr. Carter said. “We want to help women fully participate in things like being considered to speak at conferences, receiving awards, and sitting on journals’ editorial boards. That opens the door to more women achieving full professorships.”

Dr. Carter holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Anglia Polytechnic University in Cambridge, England. She earned a second master’s degree at the College of Business at the University of Georgia and a Ph.D. in management information systems from Clemson University in South Carolina.

Filed Under: DiversityFacultyResearch/StudySTEM Fields


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