Cross-departmental gender disparities reflected in tenured professor ratios

During the 2012-2013 school year, Geneseo had 176 faculty members receive tenure. Out of these, 111 faculty members were male, while 65 were female. While this may seem like a large discrepancy between the two genders, there were not nearly as many women eligible for tenure as there were men. For instance, 122 men were eligible for tenure, meaning 9 percent of these professors didn’t receive tenure. In similar fashion, 78 women were eligible for tenure, so 17 percent of women eligible for tenure didn’t receive it. Between 2002 and 2013, 98 faculty members were granted continuing appointment or tenure, 50 men and 48 women, according to Interim Provost David Gordon.

According to the American Association of University Professors, “Tenure is an arrangement whereby faculty members, after successful completion of a period of probationary service, can be dismissed only for adequate cause or other possible circumstances and only after a hearing before a faculty committee.”

Tenure is usually granted after working for six years at the school, and is based off of three major components: teaching, scholarship and research or creative components and service to the school community, according to Chair and professor of English Paul Schacht.

While Geneseo currently sees a 58.4 to 41.6 percent divide when it comes to male and female full-time professors, respectively, this is a more equal distribution than it was in fall 2001, when 60.4 percent of full-time professors were male and only 39.6 percent were female, according to the Office of Institutional Research Fact Book.

In addition to Geneseo’s disparate ratio of male to female tenured professors, some individual departments also have gender inequities in regards to tenure. The political science and international relations department, for example, has four male professors with tenure, but no female professors.

“I can say for myself, this is a source of some frustration,” professor of political science and international relations and Department Chair Jeffrey Koch said. “Part of why person X is here and has tenure and is a male is based off some decisions that, in some cases, were made almost 40 years ago.”

Another department with large discrepancies between males and females tenured is the School of Business. During the 2012-2013 school year, all 11 of the tenure eligible male professors received tenure, as opposed to the three of the four eligible female professors.

Dean of the School of Business Walter Roettger said he believed this pattern emerges in graduate school.

“More men than women go into business disciplines in graduate school and over time more men than women earn doctoral degrees,” he said.

Statistics for tenured professors in the mathematics department reflect this interest disparity at the level of higher education as well. During the 2012-2013 school year, nine of the 11 eligible male professors received tenure while all three of the eligible female professors received tenure.

“The numbers are skewed just because of history,” professor of mathematics and Department Chair Chris Leary said. “Thirty and 40 years ago, especially in mathematics, the number of men was much higher than the number of women who received Ph.Ds. This meant the number of people who are hired into positions are going to be more men than women. This means even in an entirely fair world there would be more male tenured people than there would be female tenured people.”

Even though some departments see major gender differences in their faculty, this is not the case across the board. One department that has similar gender distribution is the psychology department, which consists of nine tenured male professors and six female as of the 2012-2013 school year.

“I think it reflects the field,” professor of psychology and Department Chair Ganie DeHart said. “The percentage of women in graduate school in psychology is pretty high. We’ve never had any trouble recruiting women, finding strong female candidates to interview and hiring women.”

While her department is more evenly distributed, DeHart said she noticed that this does not hold true in all departments.

“Some departments are more helpful to their junior faculty than others,” she said. “There are two ways you can approach tenure as a department chair: One is to try to help the junior faculty succeed. The other approach is to treat it as a testing process, where people have to kind of prove that they’re worthy of staying.”

Although the number of tenured male and female professors is not equal across departments, it is not a result of Geneseo’s lack of effort in trying to hire diverse faculty.

“I can tell you that, based off of six or seven colleges I’ve been involved with and the four business schools I’ve led, this institution makes a determined effort to attract candidates of color and also women when it seeks to hire,” Roettger said. “The institution is aware of the advantages of diversity whether it be gender or racial or ethnicity.”