Numerous commissions, panels, and symposia have lamented the dearth of women in science, especially in math-intensive fields where women's underrepresentation is greatest (Ceci, Williams, &Barnett, 2009;National Academy of Science, 2005;National Science Board, 2006). The inclusion of more women in the academic workforce has been identified as a critical national need (Shalala et al., 2006);talented women complete Ph.D.s, yet they do not transition into tenure track academic positions at the rate their numbers appear to warrant (e.g., Ceci et al., 2009;Ginther, 2001, 2004;Shalala et al., 2006). The proposed project, Assessing and Reducing Gender Bias in STEM Recruitment, Mentorship and Evaluation, explores how predoctoral women and men are recruited to and informally trained in graduate school, and how they are evaluated when they apply for their first tenure-track position. We seek to better understand, and ultimately improve, norms of behavior that may consciously or unconsciously lead current professors to create gender-biased recruitment, mentorship, and evaluation environments. The proposed studies explore whether current practices induce identity threat in prospective women STEM graduate students (thus reducing female enrollments and retention), and whether STEM professors treat their male and female graduate students differently in the advice and training they dispense. The studies also examine current professors'use of gender and gender-related information in evaluation of applicants for assistant professorships. A national canvass of deans and provosts to ascertain the desirability and feasibility of recommendations emerging from studies 1-3 and an educational campaign disseminating the findings are part of the research plan. The proposed research (consisting of two national data collections, one laboratory study, one canvass of provosts and deans, and one widescale educational dissemination component) spans the biological, physical, and social/behavioral sciences, to broaden our understanding of gender-related recruitment, mentorship, and evaluation norms and behaviors and how they vary across fields. This research will illuminate reasons for the success-or lack thereof-of women's versus men's transition from college to graduate school and ultimately to academia. Our results will help hone unbiased, effective recruitment, mentorship, and evaluation practices, leading to greater gender-fairness in the scientific recruitment, training, and job-placement processes. We plan to disseminate broadly our results with the goal of initiating and enhancing explicit discussions of key aspects of professional training often not discussed openly or even acknowledged. These experiences may differentially impact success of male versus female graduate students due to biased recruitment, faculty mentorship, and job-selection practices, particularly as a consequence of differential career/life trajectories of women and men scientists.

Public Health Relevance

Numerous commissions, panels, and symposia have lamented the dearth of women in science, especially in math-intensive fields where women's underrepresentation is greatest--physics, chemistry, engineering, computer science, and mathematics (Ceci, Williams, &Barnett, 2009;National Academy of Science, 2005;National Science Board, 2006). The inclusion of more women in the academic workforce has been identified as a critical national need (see NAS report by Shalala et al., 2006);the metaphor of a "leaky pipeline" has been replaced with the realization that plenty of talented women are still in the pipeline through completion of the Ph.D., yet they do not transition into tenure track academic positions at the rate their numbers would appear to warrant (e.g., Ginther, 2001, 2004;Shalala et al. 2006). The proposed research will illuminate reasons for the success-or lack thereof-of women's versus men's transitions from undergraduate to graduate school and ultimately to academia, and it will show how to improve current practices by honing unbiased and effective recruitment, mentorship, and evaluation practices resulting in gender-fairness throughout the scientific training and job- placement processes, thus bringing to fruition the full U.S. potential in science.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01NS069792-04
Application #
8334029
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-HOP-B (50))
Program Officer
Chen, Daofen
Project Start
2009-09-22
Project End
2014-08-31
Budget Start
2012-09-01
Budget End
2014-08-31
Support Year
4
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$307,895
Indirect Cost
$104,545
Name
Cornell University
Department
Other Health Professions
Type
Other Domestic Higher Education
DUNS #
872612445
City
Ithaca
State
NY
Country
United States
Zip Code
14850
DeFraine, William C; Williams, Wendy M; Ceci, Stephen J (2014) Attracting STEM talent: do STEM students prefer traditional or work/life-interaction labs? PLoS One 9:e89801
Valla, Jeffrey M; Ceci, Stephen J (2014) Breadth-Based Models of Women's Underrepresentation in STEM Fields: An Integrative Commentary on Schmidt (2011) and Nye et al. (2012). Perspect Psychol Sci 9:219-24
Ceci, Stephen J; Williams, Wendy M (2011) Understanding current causes of women's underrepresentation in science. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 108:3157-62
Valla, Jeffrey; Ceci, Stephen J (2011) Can Sex Differences in Science Be Tied to the Long Reach of Prenatal Hormones? Brain Organization Theory, Digit Ratio (2D/4D), and Sex Differences in Preferences and Cognition. Perspect Psychol Sci 6:134-136
Ceci, Stephen J; Williams, Wendy M (2010) Sex Differences in Math-Intensive Fields. Curr Dir Psychol Sci 19:275-279