Women in Higher Education

By W. Todd Furniss; Patricia Albjerg Graham | Go to book overview

Rearrangements in Faculty Schedules

Full-status Part-time Faculty

SHEILA TOBIAS AND MARGARET L. RUMBARGER

In any attempt to assess the status of women in the academic community, a summary of their numbers on the faculty can be misleading. For although women have been accepted in teaching and research positions--as blacks, Puerto Ricans, and Chicanos have not been--they have often been marginally placed so that they function as paraprofessionals, regardless of their training and aspirations. Their concentration in the lower ranks, particularly as lecturers and instructors, has important implications for their academic careers as well as for their salaries. In most institutions, faculty members in these ranks are not privileged to vote in faculty meetings, nor are they eligible for the full range of faculty benefits, such as leave, support for scholarship, tenure, and opportunity to participate in decision making. Marginal appointments, even if full time, carry one-year contracts, little possibility for promotion, little security, and almost no research stability. Women in science disciplines who were eligible to apply for grants have often had to forgo the opportunity because they could not guarantee a longterm university affiliation.

How and why are women concentrated in marginal positions, and what can be done about it? To start, the first appointment after the Ph.D. often determines the future pattern. A study of women historians undertaken by the American Historical Association showed that "while only 5% of the men employed have been engaged at the rank of Visiting Lecturer, Lecturer, and Instructor, these lower categories embrace the ranks at which 32% of the women were engaged."1 In this survey, 77 percent of all men Ph.D.'s had been initially hired as assistant professors, as opposed to only

____________________
1
Final Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Status of Women in the Historical Profession ( Washington: American Historical Association, May 25, 1971), p. 19.

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