Academic journal article Journal of Higher Education

Dollars and Sense

Academic journal article Journal of Higher Education

Dollars and Sense

Article excerpt

Institutional Resources and the Baccalaureate Origins of Women Doctorates


The need for more women and women of color within the faculty ranks has been widely recognized as an important goal within American higher education (see e.g., Blackwell, 1996; Cross, 1996; Nakanishi, 1996; Olivas, 1996). The shortage of women, and especially women of color, who have earned doctorates is frequently cited as one of the reasons that women are underrepresented among the faculty (Smith, Wolf-Wendel, Busenberg, & Associates, 1996). One way to address the shortage of women with doctorates is to examine success stories--in this case, to examine those institutions that grant undergraduate degrees to relatively high proportions of white women and women of color who subsequently earn doctorates. The hope is that less productive institutions can learn from these institutions and replicate their success.

The most commonly used "success" model in higher education is based on institutional resources. According to Astin (1985), the resource model equates an "excellent" college or university with such things as the entrance requirements of students, the financial and library resources of the institution, and the quality of faculty as measured by their academic pedigree. Several research projects have noted the link between "objective" measures, such as research productivity, institutional resources, and student entry characteristics, to ratings of institutional or program quality (Astin & Solmon, 1981; Haworth & Conrad, 1997; Webster, 1986). In addition, the connection between academic excellence and the presence of institutional resources has been codified through the recent proliferation of national rankings published in such sources as U.S. News and World Report. These rankings are based on the presence of resources at institutions as well as on academic reputation and institutional selectivity.

This study is designed to test the relationship between instructional resources and baccalaureate origins of women doctorates. Specifically, the main research question is designed to determine the relationship between instructional expenditure per student and endowment per student and the production of undergraduate women who go on to receive doctorates. The second question addressed in this analysis is whether there are some institutional types that are more efficient than others in the production of graduates who subsequently earn doctorates. The impetus for this second question stems from the literature that demonstrates that Special Purpose Colleges--Historically Black colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-serving colleges (HSIs), and women's colleges--graduate higher proportions of women who subsequently earn doctorates compared to predominantly white coeducational institutions (Brazziel, 1983; Fuller, 1986a, 1986b, 1989a, 1989b; Hall, 1984; Tidball, 1974, 1985, 1986; Wolf-Wendel, 1998).

Overall, special focus institutions educate only a small proportion of students. For example, there are only 69 baccalaureate-granting women's colleges (College Entrance Examination Board, 1994). In 1991-92, these institutions conferred only 2.5% of all bachelor's degrees awarded to women (National Center for Education Statistics, 1994). There are 84 HBCUs that grant baccalaureate degrees (College Entrance Examination Board, 1994). Two of the HBCUs--Spelman and Bennett--are also women's colleges. In 1991-92 HBCUs conferred 39% of the bachelor's degrees earned by African Americans, though they represented only 3% of all institutions in the United States (National Center for Education Statistics, 1994). Hispanic-serving institutions are defined through their membership in the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), a national association representing postsecondary institutions in the United States in which Latino students represent at least 25% of the total student enrollment. …

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