Women less represented in faculty, staff leadership ranks

A study has found that the ranks of women leaders at Stanford lag behind increases in diversity. A separate report has noted that the overall faculty has seen gains in women and minorities over the past decade. The reports were presented at Thursday's Faculty Senate meeting.

L.A. Cicero Associate Professor of Surgery Sabine Girod speaking to the Faculty Senate.

Associate Professor of Surgery Sabine Girod speaking to the Faculty Senate about women in leadership positions at Stanford.

Women are well represented throughout the university as undergraduates, graduate students and increasingly as faculty and staff members, yet their ranks and influence in leadership positions have not matched the growth elsewhere, according to an ad hoc study of the status of women in Stanford leadership presented to the Faculty Senate on Thursday.

While women faculty are well represented in leadership positions reporting to President John Hennessy and Provost John Etchemendy, they are less well represented in the leadership pipeline, according to the analysis by a study group of women faculty and staff. With respect to staff, the situation is reversed, and women are well represented in the leadership pipeline, but not at the most senior levels.

The study findings also showed that women leaders in both faculty and staff areas control a smaller share of the financial and human resources at Stanford. For example, the highest-ranked women leaders oversee an estimated 14 percent of the total university budget, manage 15 percent of the employees and lead schools with 5.5 percent of the faculty.

The group relied upon publicly available data to conduct their analysis, including campus organizational charts, budget documents, human resources data and public university tax filings.

"We wanted to see a data-driven approach based on quantifiable metrics, so that it would be a systematic way to shine a light on the status of inclusiveness in leadership," said Andrea Goldsmith, professor of electrical engineering and a member of the study group. "This approach provides an ongoing mechanism to measure the status of inclusive leadership at Stanford, helps identify barriers to improve that status and positions Stanford at the forefront of diversity efforts in this area. We are grateful to the senate, the provost and president for their interest and engagement on this topic, and for the opportunity to share our results and recommendations."

The group recommended that the university develop a set of meaningful metrics to consistently measure the progress of women in leadership roles, and that the university conduct an annual review to track future progress against those metrics. They also recommended further study to identify ways to increase leadership diversity. 

Etchemendy said he will appoint a task force to conduct a more extensive analysis of diversity within university leadership.

"They are right," Etchemendy said. "The overall picture [from the ad hoc study] is absolutely right. One good reason to have a group look at this in more detail is that we can get better data, and also examine confidential salary data. I would like to see comparative data between universities, and unit-by-unit and school-by-school comparisons."

The informal study group was convened and led by Sabine Girod, associate professor of surgery. Girod was joined by Professors Goldsmith of the School of Engineering; Maureen McNichols of the Graduate School of Business; Jill Helms and Hannah Valantine of the School of Medicine; Patricia Burchat and Londa Schiebinger of the School of Humanities and Sciences; Margot Gerritsen of the School of Earth Sciences; Jenny Martinez of the School of Law; and Odile Disch-Bhadkamkar, chief financial officer of the Stanford Management Company.

The group sought to examine the status of women in academic leadership at Stanford after a decade in which the number of women has increased modestly within the ranks of the Stanford faculty, and when women have outpaced men in educational attainment, comprising a larger percentage of undergraduate and graduate degree recipients.

"An inclusive and diverse pipeline of future leaders is essential to best serve Stanford, which has made great strides in diversifying its student body in the past decade," Girod said. "We can better serve those students if they see themselves mirrored in leadership positions. And studies have shown that diversity in leadership has the potential to expand knowledge and lead to innovation, which helps all of Stanford, including faculty and staff."

The leadership review analyzed the numbers of faculty and staff leaders by assigning a ranking to all campus leadership positions from one to four, with "one" being the level of president and provost; "two" referring to deans or vice presidents and vice provosts; and rankings "three" and "four" being associate vice presidents, senior associate deans and department chairs.

Women faculty members are well represented in rank two, the direct reports to the president and provost, at 35 percent of the total. But out of all Stanford faculty members represented in leadership levels two, three and four, 19 percent were women and 81 percent were men. This can be compared to representation of women on the faculty, where 24.7 percent of all tenure-line faculty and 21 percent of full professors are women.

Data for women staff showed a different pattern. Women staff members comprise 21 percent of the level two ranked leaders. But at rank three, 59 percent of the staff leaders are women. Thus, even though women are well represented in the pipeline for staff leadership, they are less well represented in the highest-ranked staff positions.

"While there are limitations with each of our analyses, the overall picture is very consistent," said McNichols. "Stanford is an institution that values gender equity and yet we are not where we aspire to be in including women in leadership roles. Our hope is that a task force can study what is behind this and make recommendations for actions that will diminish the barriers faced by women and minorities." 

Report on the Faculty

In addition to the leadership analysis, the senate heard a presentation by Karen Cook, vice provost for faculty development and diversity, who discussed some of the highlights of the Report on the Faculty, an analysis of the Stanford professoriate – including faculty composition, growth, hiring and departure, and promotion to tenure – that covers the time period 1993 to 2013.

L.A. CiceroKaren Cook, vice provost for faculty development and diversity, at the Faculty Senate meeting.

Karen Cook, vice provost for faculty development and diversity, discussing the Report on the Faculty at the Faculty Senate meeting.

By September 2013, the Stanford professoriate reached 2,043, including 1,498 men and 545 women.

Of those 2,043 faculty members, 328 were Asians, 133 were underrepresented minorities and 18 identified with two or more races. Underrepresented minority faculty include all minorities except Asians and those who identified with two or more races.

Over the last 10 years, Stanford hired 1,087 faculty members, an average of 109 per year. The financial crisis slowed down hiring to some extent from 2008 to 2011, but the university has regained its pace in hiring in the last two academic years, adding about 120 new faculty members each year.

Over the last 10 years, 784 faculty members left Stanford, for a variety of reasons, the report said.

The proportion of female faculty departing Stanford increased in the last five years (2008-2013), from 15 to 37 percent of all faculty departures. The report said that explains the fact that even though the university has been consistently hiring more women – women were 29-37 percent of new hires – the overall proportion of female faculty has not increased much in the last few years, hovering below 27 percent.

During the last 20 years, growth has been uneven among minorities, the report said. The number of Asian faculty members more than tripled, resulting in an increase in their representation on the faculty from 7 percent in 1993 to 16.1 percent in 2013.

Underrepresented minorities accounted for 6.5 percent of the total professoriate in 2013.

The number of Hispanic/Latino faculty members more than doubled from 1993 to 2013, but because their number was small to begin with, their representation increased modestly during that same period, from 2.3 percent to 3.7 percent.

In comparison, the number of black/African American faculty members grew by half; their representation on the faculty remained at around 2.6 percent over those two decades.

Cook also discussed the success of the Faculty Development Initiative (FDI), under which Stanford has hired 11 scholars whose studies are focused on the study of race and ethnicity since 2008, and the Faculty Incentive Fund (FIF), which was established in 2003 and was designed to enhance the university's ability to recruit and retain a diverse faculty. Under FIF, Stanford hired 85 faculty members from 2003 to 2013, including 68 women and 17 men, most of whom are still on the faculty.

"The hope is that with increased support from the Faculty Incentive Fund and with the success of the Faculty Development Initiative, under the leadership of Al Camarillo, the number of underrepresented minority faculty will increase in the coming decade," said Cook, who also is a professor of sociology.

On behalf of the provost, Cook encouraged the faculty present at the senate meeting to enlist their colleagues in a renewed effort to increase the diversity of the faculty to match the increasing diversity among the undergraduate and graduate student bodies.

"With concerted effort and a commitment to a variety of  'pipeline' initiatives, the hope is that Stanford can become a leader in not only hiring, but also producing a diverse pool of faculty candidates for other institutions of higher education," Cook said.

Looking at the period 1993-2013, the report showed that:

  • Women composed 26.7 percent of the faculty in 2013, compared with 22.6 percent in 2003 and 15.7 percent in 1993.
  • Minorities composed 23.4 percent of the faculty in 2013, compared with 16.7 percent in 2003 and 11.9 percent in 1993.
  • Asian faculty members increased 80 percent from 2003 to 2013, and increased 91 percent from 1993 to 2003. In 1993, Stanford had 96 Asian faculty members.
  • Hispanic/Latino faculty members increased 27 percent from 2003 to 2013, and increased 88 percent from 1993 to 2003. In 1993, Stanford had 32 Hispanic/Latino faculty members.
  • Black/African American faculty members increased 18 percent from 2003 to 2013, and 25 percent from 1993 to 2003. In 1993, Stanford had 36 black/African American faculty members.

In 2013, counting by primary affiliation, the professoriate was composed of 1,429 (70 percent) university tenure line faculty; 457 (22.4 percent) medical center line faculty; and 157 (7.7 percent) non-tenure line faculty, and senior and center fellows.