Climate, Departmental and Institutional

Dual Careers

Implicit Bias

Women in STEM, General


Schoon, Rebecca, Michelle Kutzler, Rebecca Warner, Anne Gillies and Jeri Hemmer,2013. 
Creating a Family Friendly Department: Toolkit for Academic AdministratorsOregon State University. 

National studies illustrate the significance of work life balance as an issue of recruitment,retention, professional success, and life satisfaction of academic men and women. Academic unit leaders play a critical role in creating a family friendly culture. This toolkit describes essential steps in this process for unit heads include assessing current practices, learning applicable policies and laws, and promoting the availability of such supports. Supporting a collegial climate and hiring diversefaculty—including those who are caregivers—are equally necessary. Recruitment and hiring processes should highlight family friendly policies, while dual career hire options might need to be considered.[adapted from the introduction]

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American Association of University Professors (AAUP).2010. Recommendations on partner-accommodation and dual career appointments. Ann Higginbotham, Chair.  

Recognizing dual career hiring as a significant and growing issue in academe, the AAUP defines different possible types of dual career appointments and lists a number of specific strategies for schools and departments when dealing with dual career applicants.

Byington, Tori, Benjamin Cowan, Julie Kmec, Jill McCluckey and Jared Wooltenhulme. 2014. The two-body opportunity. Presentation at a conference, Advancing Women in Academic STEM Fields Through Dual Career Policies and Practices, Edinburg, TX, February 28, 2014. 

The authors develop a simple model that predicts that all but the highest-tiered institutions stand to benefit from the presence of dual career couples. They examine faculty productivity by joint-hire status using the universe of WSU faculty hired 1999 – 2013. They find that individuals hired as part of a couple publish more peer-reviewed works than those who were not. This is driven by the exceptionally high productivity of “primary” hires; strongest results are for STEM faculty.[adapted from the presentation]

Fraser, G., Harden, M. and Rhine, J. 2012. Dual-career as a dimension of decision-making: Understanding the candidate’s perspective. Presentation at joint meeting of Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC) and Higher Education Dual Career Network (HEDCN, now IHEDCA). Worcester, MA, June 5, 2012.

The authors present the results of a study of faculty candidates who were offered a tenured or tenure-track position at the University of Virginia between 2004 and 2011. Among other things, they found that “Spousal/Partner Career Opportunities” were selected as important by 56 % of survey respondents who declined a position, ranked 5.0 out of 6.0 by those who selected it as important and were pervasive in verbatim responses, making it the single most important factor in candidates’ decisions to decline an offer of a faculty position at U.Va.[adapted from the presentation]

Laursen, S. 2014. Strategic intervention brief #10: Support for dual-career couples. In Laursen, S., & Austin, A., StratEGIC Toolkit: Strategies for Effecting Gender Equity and Institutional Change. Boulder, CO, and East Lansing, MI. 

An overview of strategic interventions aimed at supporting dual career couples, developed by ADVANCE/PAID team at the University of Colorado and the University of Michigan.

This brief is one item in the “StratEGIC Toolkit,” which offers research-based advice about strategic interventions that may help create institutional environments that support the success of women scholars in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Their research draws upon the programs and experiences of institutions that have implemented Institutional Transformation (IT) projects under the National Science Foundation's ADVANCE program.[adapted from the Web site]

Schiebinger, Londa, Andrea Davies Henderson and Shannon K. Gilmartin. 2008a. Dual-career academic couples: What universities need to know. Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research, Stanford University.

For this seminal report, researchers at the Clayman Institute surveyed 30,000 faculty at 13 of the nation's leading public and private research universities, including the University of Virginia. This report reviews practices, policies and programs for administrators to successfully work with the hiring and retaining of dual-career academic couples.

Schiebinger, Londa, Andrea Davies Henderson and Shannon K. Gilmartin.2008b. Dual-career academic couples: What universities need to know: Special report for the University of Virginia. Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research, Stanford University.

Results from University of Virginia faculty who participated in the Clayman Institute’s formative study of dual career couples in higher education.

Wolf-Wendel, Lisa. 2014. Recruiting diverse and highly talented faculty through dual-career hiring. Presentation at a conference, Advancing Women in Academic STEM Fields Through Dual Career Policies and Practices, Edinburg, TX, February 28, 2014. 

 A presentation by the author of The Two-Body Problem: Dual-Career-Couple Hiring Practices in Higher Education.After a review of life in the academy, the importance of family-friendly policies and “gendered terrain,” Wolf-Wendel utilizes a case study approach to elicit questions about best practices from the different perspectives of the dual career couple, the department chair and the institution.

Woolstenhulme, Jared. L. 2013.  Evaluating Higher Education’s Two-Body Problem.PhD dissertation, Washington State University, School of Economic Sciences.

A unique and in-depth statistical look at the benefits of dual career hiring through the eyes of an economist.

Woolstenhulme, Jared L., Benjamin W. Cowan, Jill J. McCluskey, and Tori C. Byington. 2012a. Evaluating the two-body problem: Measuring joint hire productivity within a university. Seminar, School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University. October 10, 2012.  (in the “Papers” section)

The authors examine the academic labor market as a special case of a labor market where both members of a dual-career household are likely to work in the same institution. They develop a theoretical model of this market in which couples wish to remain together but may be heterogeneous in their level of productivity. The model predicts under plausible assumptions that such couple hires will be more productive on average relative to their non-couple hire colleagues in the same institution in all but the most prestigious institutions. They test their prediction using data from Washington State University. Using research publications and grants obtained as measures of productivity, they find that individuals hired as part of a couple outperform their peers in the quantity of publications per year and in the ability to procure grants. [adapted from the abstract]

Woolstenhulme, Jared L., Benjamin W. Cowan, Jill J. McCluskey, and Tori C. Byington. 2012b. How couple hiring practices influence faculty productivity and promotion. Presentation at joint meeting of Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC) and Higher Education Dual Career Network (HEDCN, now IHEDCA). Worcester, MA, June 5, 2012. 

Based on research conducted at Washington State University (WSU), the authors predict that in any institution other than those at the very top, a dual hire is likely to be more productive than a non-dual hire. They find at WSU that dual hires are more productive in terms of publication rates as well as obtaining grants and that productivity has a positive effect on the tenure decision which may indicate a higher likelihood that dual hires will obtain tenure.[adapted from the presentation]

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Carnes, Molly, Patricia G.Devine, Carol Isaac, Linda Baier Manwell, Cecelia E. Ford, Angela Byars-Winston, Eve Fine, and Jennifer Sheridan. 2012. Promoting institutional change through bias literacy.Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 5(2): 63-77.

The authors define implicit bias a “remedial habit.” They say, ‘To produce actual changes in behavior, individuals must believe they can change their behaviors, and that their actions will produce a desirable effect” (p. 65).  They report that attendance at a Bias Literacy Workshop for faculty members at a large Midwestern university changed behavior and/or increased the level of commitment to change behavior. These findings suggest that this educational intervention may effectively promote institutional change regarding gender equity.[adapted, in part, from the abstract]

Goldin, Claudiaand Cecilia Rouse.2000. Orchestrating impartiality: The impact of “blind” auditions on female musicians.”The American Economic Review, 90(4): 715-741.

A change in the audition procedures of symphony orchestras—adoption of “blind”auditions with a “screen” to conceal the candidate’s identity from the jury—provides a test for sex-biased hiring. Using data from actual auditions, in an individual fixed-effects framework, the authors find that the screen increases the probability a woman will be advanced and hired.They concluded that the switch to blind auditions can explain 30 percent of the increase in the proportion of females among new hires and possibly 25 percent of the increase in the percentage of females in the orchestras from 1970 to 1996.[adapted from the abstract]

Isaac, Carol, Barbara Lee, and Molly Carnes. 2009. Interventions that affect gender bias in hiring: A systematic review.Academic Medicine,84(10):1440-1446.

The authors review experimental evidence for interventions that mitigate gender bias in employment. The studies they reviewed reaffirmed negative bias against women being evaluated for positions traditionally or predominantly held by men (male sex typed jobs). The assessments of male and female raters rarely differed.Interventions that provided raters with clear evidence of job-relevant competencies were effective. However,clearly competent women were rated lower than equivalent men for male sex typed jobs unless evidence of communal qualities was also provided. A commitment to the value of credentials before review of applicants and women’spresence at above 25% of the applicant pool eliminated bias against women.Negative bias occurred against women who expressed anger or who were perceived as self-promoting. They conclude that high-level evidence exists for strategies to mitigate gender bias in hiring.[adapted from the abstract]

Joan C. Williams, Katherine W. Phillips and Erika V. Hall.2015. Double Jeopardy?Gender bias against women in science. Tools for Change in STEM.

This report examines whether the four distinct patterns of gender bias that have been documented in experimental social psychologists’ labs reflect what is actually occurring at work for women in the STEM fields, and particularly for women of color. The study documented by this report shows that gender bias exists, and it exists for women of color: 100% of the scientists interviewed reported encountering gender bias at work.It is understood that women of color face “double jeopardy” because they encounter race as well as gender bias. Much less discussed is that women of color often experience gender bias in ways that differ significantly by race.  This study explores how the experience of gender bias differs by race. The report also introduces a new approach to organizational change to interrupt gender bias, called Metrics-Based Bias Interrupters.

Moss-Racusin,Corinne A., John F. Dovidiob, Victoria L. Brescollc, Mark J. Grahama, and Jo Handelsmana. 2012. Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favormale studentsProceedings of the National Academy of Science 109(41):16474–16479.

In a randomized double-blind study(n = 127), science faculty from research-intensive universities rated the application materials of a student—who was randomly assigned either a male or female name—for a laboratory manager position. Faculty participants rated the male applicant as significantly more competent and hireable than the (identical) female applicant. These participants also selected a higher starting salary and offered more career mentoring to the male applicant. The gender of the faculty participants did not affect responses, such that female and male faculty were equally likely to exhibit bias against the female student. Mediation analyses indicated that the female student was less likely to be hired because she was viewed as less competent. We also assessed faculty participants’ preexisting subtle bias against women using a standard instrument and found that preexisting subtle bias against women played a moderating role, such that subtle bias against women was associated with less support for the female student, but was unrelated to reactions to the male student. These results suggest that interventions addressing faculty gender bias might advance the goal of increasing the participation of women in science.[adapted from the abstract]

Project Implicit. Implicit social cognition: Investigating the gap between intentions and actions.

Project Implicit is a non-profit organization and international collaborative network of researchers investigating implicit social cognition - thoughts and feelings outside of conscious awareness and control. Project Implicit is the product of a team of scientists, including several at the University of Virginia, whose research produced new ways of understanding attitudes, stereotypes and other hidden biases that influence perception, judgment, and action.

Project Implicit translates that academic research into practical applications for addressing diversity, improving decision-making, and increasing the likelihood that practices are aligned with personal and organizational values.[adapted from the Web site]

Rudman, Laurie A. and Peter Glick. 2001. Prescriptive gender stereotypes and backlash toward agentic women.Journal of Social Issues 57(4): 743-762.

In an experiment, job description and applicants’ attributes were examined as moderators of the backlash effect, the negative evaluation of agentic women for violating prescriptions of feminine niceness (Rudman, 1998). Rutgers University students made hiring decisions for a masculine or “feminized” managerial job. Applicants were presented as either agentic or androgynous. Replicating Rudman and Glick (1999), a feminized job description promoted hiring discrimination against an agentic female because she was perceived as insufficiently nice. Unique to the present research, this perception was related to participants’ possession of an implicit (but not explicit) agency-communality stereotype. By contrast, androgynous female applicants were not discriminated against. The findings suggest that the prescription for female niceness is an implicit belief that penalizes women unless they temper their agency with niceness.[abstract]

Schmader, Toni, Jessica Whitehead and Vicki H. Wysocki. 2007. A linguistic comparison of letters of recommendation for male and female chemistry and biochemistry job applicants.Sex Roles 57:509–514.

Letters of recommendation are central to the hiring process. However, gender stereotypes could bias how recommenders describe female compared to male applicants.In the current study, text analysis software is used to examine 886 letters of recommendation written on behalf of 235 male and 42 female applicants for either a chemistry or biochemistry faculty position at a large U.S. research university. Results reveal more similarities than differences in letters written for male and female candidates.However, recommenders use significantly more stand out adjectives to describe male as compared to female candidates. Letters containing more standout words also include more ability words and fewer “grindstone” words (e.g., “hardworking”).[adapted from the abstract]

Sevo, Ruta and Daryl E. Chubin. 2008. Bias literacy: A review of concepts in research on discrimination. Center for Science and Engineering Capacity, American Association for the Advancement of Science. [May be copied and distributed with attribution] 

The paper offers a quick digest of the evidence for discrimination, especially with reference to women in science and engineering. It explains common terminology and summarizes the difference between tradition and bias, conscious and unconscious discrimination, overt and covert discrimination, and personal versus institution bias. Drawing on research in psychology and social science, it summarizes core concepts including: gender schema, accumulative advantage, stereotype threat, implicit bias, glass ceiling, mommy track, occupational segregation, statistical profiling, climate study, and the value of diversity in learning. This paper is a short tour for people new to the topic, especially education practitioners, policy people, and individuals who participate in the discourse on discrimination but typically do not read the whole gamut of social science research literature.[adapted from the introduction]

Sprague, Joey, and Kelley Massoni. 2005. Student evaluations and gendered expectations: What we can’t count can hurt us.Sex Roles 53(11/12): 779-793.

Does teacher’s gender impact students’ evaluations? The authors critically evaluated the research literature and concluded that the form gender bias takes may not be easily detectable by quantitative scales. To explore this possibility, they did a qualitative analysis of the words that 288 college students at two campuses used to describe their best- and worst-ever teachers. Although they found considerable overlap in the ways that students talked about their male and female teachers, they also saw indications that students hold teachers accountable to certain gendered expectations. These expectations place burdens on all teachers, but the burdens on women are more labor-intensive. We also saw signs of much greater hostility toward women than toward men who do not meet students’ gendered expectations.[adapted from the abstract]

Steinpreis, Rhea E., Katie A. Anders and Dawn Ritzke.1999. The impact of gender on the review of the curricula vitae of job applicants and tenure candidates: A national empirical study.Sex Roles41(7/8):509-528.

The purpose of this study was to determine some of the factors that influence outside reviewers and search committee members when they are reviewing curricula vitae, particularly with respect to the gender of the name on the vitae. The participants in this study were 238 male and female academic psychologists who listed a university address in the 1997 Directory of the American Psychological Association. They were each sent one of four versions of a curriculum vitae (i.e., female job applicant, male job applicant,female tenure candid ate, and male tenure candidate)….Both men and women were more likely to vote to hire a male job applicant than a female job applicant with an identical record. Similarly, both sexes reported that the male job applicant had done adequate teaching, research,and service experience compared to the female job applicant with an identicalrecord….Theresults of this study indicate a gender bias for both men and women in preference for male job applicants.[from the abstract]

Trix, Frances and Carolyn Psenka. 2003. Exploring the color of glass: letters of recommendation for female and male medical facultyDiscourse & Society 14(2): 191-220.

This study examines over 300 letters of recommendation for medical faculty at a large American medical school in the mid-1990s….Letters written for female applicants were found to differ systematically from those written for male applicants in the extremes of length, in the percentages lacking in basic features, in the percentages with doubt raisers (an extended category of negative language,often associated with apparent commendation), and in frequency of mention of status terms. Further, the most common semantically grouped possessive phrases referring to female and male applicants (‘her teaching,’ ‘his research’)reinforce gender schema that tend to portray women as teachers and students,and men as researchers and professionals.[from the abstract]

Gender Bias in Academe: An Annotated Bibliography of Important Recent Studies

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Green, Roger. 2014. Gender equality in engineering advocacy tips: A national imperative. Women in Engineering Division, American Society for Engineering Education.

Green offers twelve research and experience-based tips to help mitigate this problem, paying special attention to suggestions for his male engineering colleagues which include self-education with a focus on the research, self-awareness and attention to departmental climate.

National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine 2006. Beyond bias and barriers: Fulfilling the potential of women in academic science and engineering. Executive Summary.

This piece summarizes the National Academies’ research-based report of the Committee on Maximizing the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Some of their recommendations:

  • University leaders should:

    • hold leadership workshops for deans, department heads, search committee chairs, and other faculty with person­nel management responsibilities that include an integrated component on diversity and strategies to overcome bias and gender schemas

    • require evidence of a fair, broad, and aggressive search before approv­ing appointments and hold departments account­able for the equity of their search process and outcomes

    • develop and imple­ment hiring, tenure, and promotion policies that take into account the flexibility that faculty need across the life course, allowing integration of family, work, and community responsibilities

  • Deans, department chairs, and their tenured faculty should:

    • develop and implement programs that educate all faculty members and students in their departments on unexamined bias and effective evaluation

    • expand their faculty recruitment efforts to ensure that they reach adequately and proactively into the existing and ever-increasing pool of women candidates

  • Faculties and their senates should:

    • immediately review their tenure processes and timelines to ensure that hiring, tenure, and promotion poli­cies take into account the flexibility that faculty need across the life course and do not sacrifice quality in the process of meeting rigid timelines

    • initiate a full faculty discussion of climate issues

[adapted from the introduction]

Steele, Jennifer R., Leah Reisz, Amanda Williams and Kerry Kawakami. 2007. Women in mathematics: Examining the hidden barriers that gender stereotypes can impose. In Ronald J. Burke and Mary C. Mattis (Eds.), Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics: Upping the Numbers, 159-182. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing Lmtd. 

This chapter focuses on the barriers that gender stereotypes can impose on women in STEM. The research evidence suggests that having awareness of self-relevant stereotypes, termed stereotype threat, might reduce performance and lessen interest in stereotyped areas for some women….Steele and her colleagues review possible interventions to reduce negative effects of stereotype threat.[from the book preface]

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