The 1992 Census of AEJMC: A Report to the Membership

By Kosicki, Gerald M.; Viswanath, K. et al. | The Journalism Educator, Spring 1994 | Go to article overview

The 1992 Census of AEJMC: A Report to the Membership


Kosicki, Gerald M., Viswanath, K., Creedon, Pamela J., The Journalism Educator


While AEJMC has been in existence for more than eight decades, there has never been an attempt to systematically describe the membership and its characteristics. The need to gather some baseline data to describe the membership in terms of its demographic and cultural diversity became apparent when AEJMC revised its constitution in 1990. To reflect its commitment to diversity, a statement was incorporated in the constitution providing that AEJMC "will monitor the status of women and minorities on a regular basis, report its findings to the membership, and take affirmative steps to rectify problems."

A recommendation to address this mandate was brought to the Executive Committee by the Commission on the Status of Women and endorsed by the Commission on the Status of Minorities in 1991. It proposed the idea for a survey to monitor the status of women and minorities in the Association. Following approval to act on this recommendation, Terry Hynes, president from 1991-92, in one of her presidential statements to the members, wrote:

AEJMC grew by 60 percent in the past decade, from approximately 1,700 to 2,700 members. So, who are we in 1991? Where do we live? What kinds of educational institutions do we work in? What ranks do we hold in those institutions? What degrees do we have? What age are we? What is our ethnic and racial profile? How many men and women belong to AEJMC? Who, if you will, is the 'typical' AEJMC member?

To answer some of these questions, we were asked in late 1991 by AEJMC to conduct a survey of its membership. Some of the major descriptive findings of the project are contained in this report. Explanatory tables begin on page 103.

Method

A seven-page, 101-question survey was mailed to all 1,967 active members in spring 1992.(1) We asked questions on a range of topics related to the member's backgrounds, qualifications, teaching, research and service workloads, salary, perceptions of the work environment, and personal experiences of discrimination.(2) Students and retired members were not included. Persons who did not respond within several weeks received one postcard follow-up. In all, 1,160 responded, a response rate of 59 percent.

Results

For this report we will try to describe the general demographic and social characteristics of the membership, along with selected other information such as type of institution, scholarly productivity and decade of entry into the field. We will take up each of these areas.

Gender. Seventy-two percent of the respondents were male and 28 percent female. This represents an increase in female representation from earlier studies. For example, Rush, Oukrop and Ernst (3) found that 7 to B percent of the faculty in 1972 were women. Sharp, et al.(4) reported that by 1983 that proportion had increased to 17 to 19 percent. This represents significant progress in the representation of women, but it is far from acceptable in terms of the overall representation. It is important to note that the pool of available female PhD candidates is increasing, and is now close to parity with male.

Ethnic composition. Ninety-two percent of the respondents were white. The rest were 3 percent African-Americans, 2.8 percent Asian-Americans, 0.1 percent Native Americans and 0.8 percent Hispanics, who could be of any race. An additional 1.3 percent identified themselves as "other."

Because of the absence of benchmark data, we are unable to report whether this represents progress or the lack of it. But by any reasonable expectation, however, our data show a remarkable under representation of minorities in the field, compared to the society at large.

One way to gain perspective on the issues of gender and minority representation is to examine our static data by noting when the present membership entered teaching. By using date of entry as an indicator, we introduced a dynamic component into our analysis to examine how recently women and minorities have come into the field. …

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