AAC&U Senior Fellow Patricia Lowrie Honored by AAVMC
In July 2012, the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) honored Patricia M. Lowrie, senior advisor to the dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University (MSU) and senior fellow at AAC&U, by naming its minority scholarship fund after her.
The Patricia Lowrie Diversity Leadership Scholarship will reward veterinary students for their work in advancing institutional diversity and inclusion. In naming the scholarship, AAVMC honors Patricia Lowrie’s tireless dedication to inclusive principles and practices, within and beyond veterinary medicine.
At MSU, Lowrie founded Vetward Bound, a recruitment program for underrepresented students, and has served as director of MSU’s Women’s Resource Center, where she advocated for women across multiple identities. At AAC&U, she has served as chair of AAC&U affiliate Campus Women Lead and advisory board member for the Preparing Critical Faculty for the Future project on women of color faculty in STEM disciplines.
A graduate of Howard University, Lowrie has been widely recognized at the local and national levels for her leadership. To learn more about Lowrie’s work and the AAVMC scholarship, visit http://cvm.msu.edu/about-the-college/news-and-events/news/aavmc-diversity-scholarship-named-to-honor-patricia-lowrie.
IWPR Reports on Single Student Parents’ Financial Challenges
According to a fact sheet released in April 2012 by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), single student parents face disproportionate financial challenges in attaining a college degree. These challenges manifest across a range of measures affecting financial stability, and they may ultimately discourage single parents from earning their degrees.
According to 2008 data, a significantly higher percentage of single parents (62 percent) than of married parents (18 percent) or students without children (20 percent) have an expected family contribution of zero dollars (1). This low expected family contribution correlates to greater unmet financial need, even when accounting for student loans.
With lower expected family contributions, student parents graduate from college with higher debt than their counterparts (an average of $28,871 one year after graduation for single parents, compared with $24,809 for married parents and $23,748 for students without children) (3). This greater debt load translates into more unpaid loans ten years after graduation. Data from 2003 indicates that single parents carry a debt burden of $5,600 ten years after graduation, compared with $1,815 for married parents and $1,662 for parents without children (3).
Additional research by IWPR indicates that 71 percent of student parents are women. To download the fact sheet, which includes data disaggregated by institutional type, visit http://www.iwpr.org/publications/pubs/single-student-parents-face-financial-difficulties-debt-without-adequate-aid.
Report Confirms Gender Pay Gap among Recent Graduates
An October 2012 report from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) confirms that just one year after graduation, a pay gap exists between male and female graduates. The report points to a variety of intersecting factors that result in women earning only 82 percent of what their male peers earn after one year in the workforce (1).
The report indicates that the pay gap between men and women arises in part from differences in their majors, occupational factors, number of hours worked, and economic sector. Women are more likely than men to major in lower-paying fields like education and less likely than men to major in higher-paying fields like engineering. Graduates’ occupational choices reflect similar differences. Women also work slightly fewer hours than men (43 versus 45 hours a week for full-time workers) and are less likely to work the highest-paying sectors (1–2).
Yet even after controlling for those factors, a pay gap persists. Women earn less than men within many occupations (for example, women in sales occupations earn 77 percent of what men earn), and women earn less than men for the same time spent working (with women working forty-five-hour weeks earning 82 percent of what their male peers earn) (2). Similar gaps appeared when controlling for economic sector.
The report suggests that these gaps result in part from discriminatory practices and factors like women’s less-proactive approach to negotiating salaries. It recommends blending individual action and policy solutions to address continuing disparities, which have immediate implications for women’s relative debt burden after graduation and for their long-term economic stability. To download the full report, visit http://www.aauw.org/graduatetoapaygap/.
New Research Ties Stop-the-Clock Policies to the Gender Pay Gap
Research presented at the Work and Family Researchers Network in June 2012 suggests that stop-the-clock policies may have mixed outcomes for faculty. The research indicates that while stop-the-clock policies may be effective in equalizing the promotion and tenure process, they may also incur salary penalties for those who use them.
Analyzing data from a single research institution, researchers found that promotion rates did not differ significantly between faculty who did not use stop-the-clock policies and those who used them for family-related reasons (21). While faculty who took advantage of these policies for non-family reasons had lower rates of promotion compared to non-users (22), the researchers suggest that overall, these policies “are effective at their primary goal of evening the playing field at time of promotion” (6).
Nonetheless, data indicate that use of stop-the-clock policies for family reasons does negatively affect faculty salaries, an impact that was not explained by differences in publication output (29). The researchers postulate that because salary decisions were made at a local level (rather than through the broader review process used in promotion decisions), they were more susceptible to reviewers’ tendency to see use of these policies as “a signal of low commitment” (30).
While salary penalties did not vary significantly by gender among those who used the policies (29), women more often used the policies for family reasons. Thus the researchers conclude that these policies “may contribute to the gender pay gap in academia” (37) and call for broader research on the subject. Written by Colleen Flaherty Manchester, Lisa M. Leslie, and Amit Kramer, the paper is available at http://www.sole-jole.org/11004.pdf.
In Sociology, Mothers See Success on Ideal Career Path
A new report from the American Sociological Association indicates that women with children are as likely to hold “ideal” academic careers as men with or without children, although the same finding does not hold for childless women. Categorizing careers as “ideal,” “alternative,” and “marginal,” the authors found that 35 percent of mothers—compared with 37 percent of fathers, 35 percent of childless men, and 22 percent of childless women—had “ideal” careers ten years after earning their doctoral degrees (5).
The researchers defined “ideal” careers as those that “are marked by tenure, high scholarly productivity in the form of peer-reviewed journal articles and books in innovative areas of research, external grants, and leadership and recognition in the discipline,” compared with “alternative” (more “teaching-oriented”) and “marginal” (often adjunct or contingent) positions. They found that while most respondents (88 percent) had their first child before receiving tenure, those who received tenure before having their first child more often had ideal careers (64 percent, versus 50 percent for those who had a child before receiving tenure) (7). Across groups, 25 percent had taken advantage of work/family policies, but most mothers in ideal careers had not used these policies, perhaps due to stigma attached to them (8–9).
To their surprise, the researchers found that “being a mother significantly increases the likelihood of having an ideal career compared to a marginal career by seven times” (9). They also found that support unrelated to work/family policies (such as travel funding) significantly improved the chances of having an ideal career (9). Significantly, while they expected a focus on gender to incur career penalties, the researchers found that such a focus incurred neither positive nor negative impacts (9).
The full report, written by Roberta Spalter-Roth and Nicole Van Vooren, is available for download at http://www.asanet.org/documents/research/docs/Mothers_Ideal_Acad_Careers_2012.pdf.
Science Outreach Varies by Gender, According to New Study
A study published in the May 2012 issue of PLoS One points to differences by gender in scientists’ self-reported engagement in public outreach about science. Drawing from a sample of biologists and physicists at leading research universities, the study indicates that women are more likely to participate in science outreach than their male colleagues, and underscores the potential implications of this gender divide.
While 72 percent of female respondents reported being engaged in outreach work, only 43 percent of male participants indicated the same. In biology, 69 percent of women (and 32 percent of men) were involved in outreach, compared to 76 percent of women (and 58 percent of men) in physics (2). Among scientists with children, 81 percent of women (and 50 percent of men) engage in science outreach, compared with 66 percent of women (and 37 percent of men) without children (3).
The study points to gender differences in outreach as a key finding and suggests two contrasting interpretations: that outreach will increase as women’s representation in science increases, or that women’s disproportionate involvement in outreach will stigmatize such activities as “feminine” and “care-oriented” work (4). In either case, the authors call for university leadership to recognize public outreach as an expected part of the scientist’s role.
To read the complete study, which includes data on the kinds of outreach scientists pursue and describes barriers to participation in public engagement efforts, visit http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0036240.