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Reports show modest gains in hiring of women and minority faculty last year
Faculty ranks swell to 1,744 with net increase of 29 new hires; women gaining in senior administration positions


The university experienced slight gains in the number of women and minority faculty last year, although the rate of growth has been slower than in the past several years, Vice Provost for Faculty Development Pat Jones told the Faculty Senate last week.

Vice Provost for Faculty Development Pat Jones. Photo: L.A. Cicero

The number of women on the faculty increased last year by 14, from 380 (22.2 percent) of 1,715 total faculty to 394 (22.6 percent) of 1,744; the number of minority faculty increased by 13, from 279 (16.3 percent) to 292 (16.7 percent).

"While the numbers of women faculty and faculty of color grew last year, the increases in both groups as proportions of the total faculty were small, each 0.4 percent," Jones said. "We recognize that to make more rapid progress in increasing the representation on the faculty of outstanding scholars and teachers who also add diversity to the faculty, it is critical to increase the representation of women and individuals of color in our applicant pools."

Jones delivered reports on faculty gains and losses, faculty recruitment and retention, and the status of women faculty at the meeting. She told the senate that the Provost's Advisory Committee on the Status of Women Faculty will deliver another report later this year that will analyze the statistics from the status of women faculty report with the responses from a faculty "quality of life" survey conducted last year.

Overall, the faculty grew by 29 members (a 1.6 percent increase) to 1,744, reflecting 109 new appointments and 80 departures during the academic year ending in September. Growth in faculty numbers has been slower over the past three years (less than 2 percent) compared to the previous seven years, when it ranged from 2 to 3.7 percent, Jones said. The biggest increase in faculty last year occurred in the Medical School, with 14 new appointments (about 4 percent growth).

Women now make up 22.6 percent of the faculty, compared with 15.7 percent in 1993 and 18.9 percent in 1998. The overall percentage of women faculty increased by only 0.4 percent last year, just slightly below the 0.5 to 1 percent growth that has occurred over the past several years, Jones said.

The number of tenured women increased by eight, but the number of untenured tenure-line women decreased by two, partly because some of those women moved into the tenured faculty category, Jones said. She highlighted the increase in women faculty at the School of Engineering, which added six new women in the last two years. "This reflects a very determined effort on the part of these departments and the Dean's Office," Jones said.

Female junior tenure-line faculty hires fell from 34 percent of the total to 27 percent, while female hires in the senior tenure line faculty rose from 27 percent to 36 percent.

Women continued to make gains in the upper echelons of the university as well, representing 20 percent of the cabinet-level administration, half of the eight deans (when factoring in the Director of SLAC position), 25 percent of the associate/cognizant deans and 18 percent of department chairs.

"Women are more highly represented in these leadership positions than they are in the senior faculty or the tenured faculty, where women are only 16.6 percent," Jones said. "This is a positive indication in terms of the involvement and participation of women in leadership positions and a continuation of the increase in the representation of women as holders of endowed professorships."

Geophysics Professor Rosemary Knight said the university could do a better job in nurturing tenured and tenure-line female professors so that they will want to stay at the university.

"Every school is looking to increase the number of women faculty," Knight said. "I'm sure even tenured women faculty are attractive to other schools. I think it's something we have to be aware of. I think we have to go above and beyond what we do in mentoring young faculty to make sure they stay here."

Although she praised university administrators for a commitment to diversity and for making positive gains in the upper levels of the administration, law Professor Deborah Hensler said the university should pay close attention to the occasional downward trend and slowdowns in the diversification efforts at individual schools.

"I think one has to be very careful not to discount data that look like they are going in a negative direction, and note the fact that [when] we see equally small numbers in a positive direction, we congratulate ourselves on it," Hensler said. "We ought to pay at least the same amount of attention [to the negative trends]."

Jones highlighted stepped-up university efforts to recruit qualified female and minority candidates for openings, noting that the university aggressively wooed Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Development Sally Dickson back to Stanford from a job at Duke University so that she could lead the Faculty Recruitment Office. The office recently produced a brochure explaining its purpose and services to the university community.

"Sally is leading the effort on our behalf to work with the schools, the departments, the search committees and the recruits to try to enhance our ability to recruit all faculty that we're interested in, but in particular faculty that will enrich the diversity of the university," Jones told the senate.

Although the number of minority hires was still relatively low last year, the numbers will most likely climb higher next year, according to history Professor Albert Camarillo.

"Fifteen possible appointments, some already approved by departments and others that are pending, could materialize as the largest number of faculty of color ever appointed at Stanford," Camarillo said.

The university continued to be attractive to prospective faculty hires last year, with successful recruits outnumbering unsuccessful ones by 109 to 64. Unsuccessful recruits cited "spouse/partner career issues" as the primary reason for declining a Stanford job, followed by housing costs and availability and the recruitment package.

The university was unsuccessful in retaining 25 faculty members, five of them women. Unsuccessful retentions cited personal or family preferences, better opportunities or academic environment as their main reasons for leaving the university.

"A variety of factors clearly can affect resignation, which could include 'writing on the wall' about an impending tenure decision, or personal preferences, or cost of living and personal expenses issues," Jones said.