Date of Award

5-2009

Degree Type

Report

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Mathematics and Statistics

First Advisor

Richard Cutler

Second Advisor

Mevin Hooten

Third Advisor

Kimberly Sullivan

Abstract

Across all science and engineering disciplines, women currently receive 46% of the doctoral degrees granted annually. Despite gains in doctoral degrees earned by women over the past 30 years, they remain under-represented among full time tenured /tenure-track science and engineering faculty compared to their presence among degree recipients. The inequality gap is widest among full professors at 4 year research universities where women account for a mere 16% of all S&E full time full professors. Multiple hypothesis have been proposed to account for women's under-representation relative to men including those based on human capital/economic theory, feminist theory, innate biological gender differences, and demographic inertia. This study is concerned with the role demographic inertia plays in limiting women's representation among full time tenured /tenure-track faculty at the ranks of assistant, associate and full professor. Specifically, we investigate the efficacy of an intervention program at increasing the representation of women S&E faculty at a research university identified as "Snow State University". We formulated six matrix population models, three male and three female specific models, using vital parameters configured from data collected prior to and during the institutional intervention program. The models indicate that demographic inertia creates barriers limiting women's representation at Snow State University but that the intervention program has begun to break down these barriers. Specifically, a number of women specific demographic rates show improvement during intervention including increased recruitment of assistant women faculty, increased promotion of associate women faculty and improved retention of assistant women professors. The representation of women in the ranks of assistant and associate professor is projected to reach parity with men within 30 years if the intervention is continued. This projection is optimistically based on the assumption of continued positive growth in total faculty population. We conclude our study by making a number of recommendations of ways to increase women faculty's representation in the face of demographic inertia.

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