Friday, June 23, 2006

Women faculty at Harvard

A year after Harvard's president, Lawrence H. Summers, promised a major effort to make the faculty more diverse amid a controversy about his remarks about women in science, a university report released yesterday indicated that most of the work remained to be done.

Women represent considerably less than half of the faculty in all but one of Harvard's schools, and while the number of women in tenure-track positions grew slightly from the last academic year to the current one, women still make up a small fraction of the university's tenured professors.


In the natural sciences, 25 percent of the faculty on a tenure track were women in this academic year, the report found, compared with 22 percent a year ago. But among the tenured professors in natural sciences, only 8 percent were women.

The proportion of tenured faculty in natural sciences was lower than at some comparable universities, like Princeton, Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the report said, while the proportion of tenure-track professors was similar.

Women represent a substantially larger proportion of the Harvard faculty in other departments and schools. At the Graduate School of Education, 80 percent of the faculty on a tenure track are women, as are 38 percent at the School of Public Health and 48 percent in the social sciences. But women make up a considerably smaller portion of the tenured faculty in these schools and disciplines. In the education school, 39 percent of the tenured professors are women. In the social sciences, 21 percent are women.

From this this NYTimes report from ten days ago. Harvard's official press release is here. Full text of the report (pdf) and an executive summary (pdf) are also available online.

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Inside HigherEd, on the other hand, has a different take on the same report. It chooses to run with the childcare angle.

Child care in Boston isn’t exactly cheap, and child care at Harvard University isn’t exactly ideal.

In a survey last fall of 244 faculty members, child care was ranked as the “least effective” policy or practice at Harvard. As part of a push to make Harvard more family friendly and more appealing to female faculty members, Harvard announced Tuesday that it will expand its child care offerings and strengthen parental leave policies.