From the President and Provost
Gender Equity: Penn's
Second Annual Report
The issue of gender equity is one of enormous
importance to the University. Ensuring that women are afforded equal
and fair employment opportunities, at all faculty ranks, is essential
if the University is to maintain a world-class faculty, recruiting
and retaining the best and the brightest in each discipline. It
is also required by anti-discrimination laws, which provide that
it is unlawful to make employment decisions on the basis of gender.
For these reasons, and in order to assess the status of women at
Penn, a joint faculty/administration committee on gender equity
published a report in Almanac
(December 4, 2001) two years ago that dealt with this issue.
The report addressed the distribution of women among the Standing
Faculty and Standing Faculty-Clinician Educator ranks, their retention
and promotion rates, the number holding leadership positions and
endowed chairs, possible salary inequities, and quality of life
issues. The data showed that although the University had made gains
in many of these areas, there was considerable variability among
schools and departments; furthermore, there was an indication that
increases had slowed or ceased in some.
In response, the President and Provost laid
out a series of steps designed to improve gender equity among
the faculty. They made gender equity a priority of the University's
strategic plan and asked the deans to make it a priority in
their school plans. The President and Provost also committed
to developing policies that would hold all academic departments
accountable for gender equity and pledged to report back each
year to the community on Penn's progress. Their first annual
report was published in the November 19, 2002 issue of Almanac and
provided an overview of the steps they had put into place.
first report, Penn has made progress overall in the hiring
and retention of women. The new tracking
system that was put into place has provided data that can now
be used prospectively to measure success and accountability;
departments have actively sought out targets of opportunity
for women in fields where they are underrepresented; and
the Faculty Senate Executive Committee has been working closely
with the President and Provost to ensure that gender equity
is a priority of the faculty. The Provost also met individually
with each of the deans—and with faculty or with department
chairs in most schools—to stress the importance of increasing
the number of women and underrepresented minority members on
Penn's faculty and the need to have members of those groups
actively involved in the search process.
to Promote an Increase in Women Faculty
Gender Equity Report pointed out that although many academic
departments do a superb job of
recruiting, hiring, supporting, and promoting women faculty,
there are others that still do not. The committee concluded
that gender equity problems "reside primarily in individual
departments rather than at the University level." They suggested
that the President and Provost work more closely with the deans
to develop ways to correct those problems. Following are some
of the steps that were taken.
new strategic plan makes faculty excellence a primary goal
and stresses the importance of Penn
being proactive in hiring and retaining its best and brightest
faculty at all levels, paying particular attention to gender
and minority equity and to the development of new mechanisms
for appropriately enhancing and expanding recruitment efforts
in key areas and key populations.
Since the publication of the University's
December 4, 2001), the twelve schools have developed their
own strategic plans; all affirm the goal to expand and support a
more diverse faculty. In addition, the schools have committed themselves
to mentoring and nurturing these faculty at all points along their
School of Medicine, for example, has established the Gender
Equity Council, whose role is to
advise the dean and department chairs on the recruitment and
retention of outstanding women faculty as well as to develop
ideas and policies to make the environment of the school more
collegial and supportive. Department chairs have been asked
to report progress with respect to gender and minority equity
as part of their annual reports (beginning with the FY 2002
annual report) and in their three-year academic plans. The
school also continues its financial support for the FOCUS Leadership
Mentoring Program for Women in Academic Medicine, a group whose
mission is to promote advocacy, education, and research in
women's health and to support the advancement and leadership
of women in academic medicine.
Gender Equity Recruitment
and Retention Fund
Substantial funds have been expended to support
the recruitment and retention of senior women faculty (associate
professor or above). Although much of this funding has come
from the schools, almost $1.3 million has been granted through
the Gender Equity Recruitment and Retention Fund established
by the Provost over a year ago. In FY2003, $440,137 was expended,
while $842,931 in support has been allocated for this year.
past year the Provost's Office has required that the schools,
working with their departments,
collect information regarding the number of women in the applicant
pool for each faculty search, the number who are interviewed,
the number who are offered positions, and the number who accepted,
as well as the number of women who served on each search committee.
They also were asked to report on faculty resignations.
A template was developed to provide a uniform
basis for reporting the details of each search. Table
1 is an example of a completed template for one school. These
collected data are submitted to the Provost by July 1 of each academic
Data submitted by each school were then
analyzed further by the Associate Provost. The percentage of women
candidates in each Ph.D. pool was used to calculate the number of
women who could be expected to apply for a given position. The number
of actual applicants was used as a basis for calculating the number
of women who could be expected to be interviewed and to be offered
a position. These expected numbers were then compared to the actual
departmental data in each category. As can been seen in Table
2, the internal template provides a clear picture of the departmental
3 provides this analysis for the entire University. The data
show that several of the schools actually received more women applicants
than might be predicted on pipeline data alone. All but one school
interviewed more women than would be predicted. Most of the schools
also made proportionally more offers to women than would be expected
from the applicant pools. All these observations suggest that the
faculty are working hard to identify the best women candidate available
in each applicant pool, and are encouraging these applicants to
continue moving through the search process.
great deal of effort has been spent in obtaining, validating
and tabulating the data that is used
in this report, there are some inherent limitations that must
be recognized. The "expected" number of women applicants is
highly dependent on information concerning the pool of available
Ph.D. candidates. Most availability data reflect the entire
pool of Ph.D.s produced in the United States per a given discipline.
Penn, however, does not hire its faculty from the entire pool,
focusing instead on graduates from a select number of peer
institutions both here and abroad. Departments may also recruit
new faculty in particular subspecialties for which there are
no availability data (although this is rapidly changing). Where
the only data available are for a broad discipline, one cannot
assume that gender distributions of Ph.D.s in sub-specialties
are necessarily proportional to the discipline as a whole.
Finally, for some departments, disciplinary data are only approximate
matches. Despite these caveats the availability data do provide
an approximate basis for assessing the recent efforts for gender
equity by Penn's departments and are useful in suggesting
areas of possible vulnerability.
As a result of these tracking efforts, data
now exist that can promote accountability for results. For
example, the data indicate that all of the schools included
women on most of their search committees. Both Engineering
and Wharton, for example, had women serving on each of their
committees. However, a few of the other schools were not as
successful. The Provost has discussed these reports with the
deans with the aim of ensuring that all future search
committees include women.
new monitoring process and the incentives that are in the
pipeline have focused attention on those departments
that are making progress in all aspects of this effort and
those that are not. The deans have been asked to work with
the latter departments to make necessary improvements and to
consider how such departments can benefit from the experience
of others in their school who have proven successful at finding
and recruiting talented women faculty.
Overall Status and
Changes in Faculty Composition
The data indicate
that Penn has made progress overall in the hiring and retention
of women. The 1999 census data used in the initial Gender Equity
study showed that women accounted for 23.8% of the faculty.
In 2002 that percentage had grown to 25.6% and this year stands
at 26.5%. Based on the data set that has been used in the past
for inter-institutional comparisons such as the Stanford and
MIT studies, which excludes schools of medicine, these percentages
are even higher—26.9% in 2002 and 28.3% in 2003.
4 demonstrates, nearly every school showed a general improvement
from last year to this with respect to the percentage of women on
their faculty. Of particular note are the data from the School of
Arts and Sciences, which show that the fraction of new appointments
was over 37% women, and in the Wharton School, where women constituted
over 30% of the new appointments. For the University as a whole,
women accounted for 38.7% of new faculty appointments.
the percentage of women among the faculty is a slow process;
that is why Penn needs to remain
vigilant in its recruitment efforts of women and, once they
are here, take steps to help ensure that they remain. Indeed,
one reason that the total percentage of women increased this
year is the fact that Penn was more successful and proactive
in retaining its women facutly members than in the past.
Time Frame for Future
attempt to understand the results of the schools' efforts
to increase the percentage of women
on the faculty was made over the summer of 2003, when schools
were asked to report on the changes in their faculties since
last year. These reports indicated clear increases in the number
of women faculty members in almost all schools. Since these
reports arrived at different times and were based, in some
cases, on tentative appointments, a comparison was made with
the changes shown in the faculty census data for September
2002 and 2003. The census data showed the same general trends,
but with minor differences in actual numbers.
comparison showed that both comparisons had serious shortcomings.
The September 2003 census
did not include the names of newly recruited faculty members
whose appointments—either for September 2003 or January 2004—had
been approved after that date. It also included many names
of faculty members who had left the University, but whose departure
had not yet been officially sanctioned. The data from the schools
was much more accurate on departures, but in some cases reflected
optimism on pending appointments that proved to be unjustified.
data reported from the schools nor the September faculty
census data provide a precise measure
of the changes in the standing faculty between Academic Year
2002-2003 and Academic Year 2003-2004. Efforts to bring
these two comparisons into alignment are continuing. The school
reports will continue to be refined during the next two months. Those
data will then be compared with the census data for February
2004, which should accurately reflect all appointments effective
in 2003-2004 as well as the changes from 2002-2003. An update
to the Gender Equity Report will be published in March reflecting
the final data. In order to maximize accuracy and lessen confusion
in the future, all subsequent annual Gender Equity reports
will be published in March.
past academic year, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee
has worked closely with the President
and Provost to make gender equity a priority of the faculty.
The Tri-Chairs have reminded their colleagues that increasing
the number of women on the faculty and retaining them must
be a shared university goal. It is the faculty, after all,
not the department chairs, nor the deans, nor the President
or Provost, who make the hiring decisions.
In March, the
Senate Executive Committee created an ad hoc Committee on
Faculty Development to examine the means
of improving faculty mentoring, to investigate the possibility
of clarifying the issue of quality versus quantity in faculty
promotions, and to study best practices at Penn and elsewhere
with respect to achieving equity—including gender and minority
equity—across the university.
The hope is to make this ad hoc committee a
standing committee, which requires the approval of the entire
Senate membership. In the meantime, the ad hoc committee, under
the leadership of Debra Leonard in the School of Medicine,
has begun its work.
Although it is far too soon to see any dramatic
changes, it is anticipated that increasing the numbers of women
in departments where there have been few women faculty will
effect a culture change that will make the department more
attractive and help to successfully recruit new women faculty.
Certainly the goals that the schools had put forward for mentoring
and nurturing faculty, with a particular focus on women and
minority faculty, should result in an environment conducive
to successful recruitment and retention.
As was noted in last year's annual report,
meaningful change will come incrementally. The University must,
of course, always be mindful of legal requirements that preclude
discrimination on the basis of race or gender. Schools can and
must, however, be encouraged to continue to aggressively identify
all of the most qualified candidates in the pipeline, ensuring
that their processes are designed to include women; encourage
women to apply for open positions; and monitor the recruitment
process to make it attractive to women. Penn will remain vigilant
in its recruitment of women and, once they are here, take steps
to help ensure that they will remain here. All of Penn's schools
are urged to share this institutional commitment.
Almanac, Vol. 50, No. 16,
December 16, 2003