Issue of March 18, 2011
eds. Joan Schmelz, Caroline Simpson, and Michele Montgomery
This week's issues:
1. Senior Women: A Comparison of Astronomy Departments
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu]
Senior woman in astronomy provide us with mentors and role models. They can sometimes change or even transform the culture, dynamics, and environment of a university department. They can stand with us and fight for us if we find ourselves the victim of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, or unconscious bias. They can make a department more female friendly.
CSWA has compiled a list of % women on the senior faculty (tenured professors only) for PhD astronomy departments in the US. For joint appointments, we attempted to include the % time devoted to the astronomy department. Numbers and percentages were confirmed by a member of each department except where noted. Please feel free to contact me with any changes, updates, and questions.
For comparison, 18% of full members of the AAS are women. In addition, 30% of named postdocs have been women for the past 20 years; these represent some of the most highly qualified potential candidates for faculty positions.
%W # W # M University Department Joint Appts.
42.9 3 4 Indiana Univ. Astronomy
33.3 4 8 Univ. of Washington Astronomy
33.3 1 2 Case Wes Res Univ. Astronomy
29.2 3.5 8.5 Caltech Astronomy
28.0 1.75 4.5 Univ. of Wisconsin Astronomy 1 at 0.75; 1 at 0.5
23.8 5 16 UCSC Astronomy & Astrophysics
23.1 3 10 Univ. Michigan Astronomy
23.1 3 10 Columbia Univ. Astronomy & Astrophysics
22.4 3 10.4 Ohio State Astronomy 1 at 0.25; 3 at 0.05
20.0 2 8 Univ. of Minnesota Astronomy
20.0 4 16 Univ. of Arizona Astronomy
19.0 2 8.5 Princeton Univ. Astrophysical Sciences 1 at 0.5
16.7 3 15 UCLA Astronomy & Astrophysics
15.0 3 17 Univ. of Colorado Astrophysical & Planet. Sci.
14.3 2 12 Univ. of Florida Astronomy
14.3 2 12 UMass Astronomy
12.5 1 7 Univ. of Illinois Astronomy 2 at 0.5
12.5 2 14 Penn State Astronomy & Astrophysics
11.8 2 15 UC Berkeley* Astronomy
10.0 2 18 Univ. of Texas, Austin Astronomy
9.5 2 19 Cornell Univ. Astronomy
8.3 1 11 Harvard Univ. Astronomy 4 at 0.5
7.7 1 12 Boston Univ. Astronomy
7.4 1 12.5 Univ. of Maryland Astronomy 1 at 0.5
4.7 1 20.5 Univ. of Chicago Astronomy & Astrophysics 3 at 0.5
0.0 0 13 Univ. of Virginia Astronomy
*Not yet confirmed.
Back to top.
2. Grad School Rankings: How Important is Diversity?
From: Nancy Brickhouse [bhouse_at_head.cfa.harvard.edu]
This website has an interactive tool that allows you to get rankings of graduate school programs, based on a variety of priority settings:
For example, scroll down and set Diversity to 5, leave all else the same, and see what you get. You can also go to "More options" under "Diversity" and set Female faculty to 5.
Data come from the National Science Foundation, the National Research Council, and the National Center for Education Statistics. The graduate school rankings have been made possible by grants from The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and The Burroughs Welcome Fund. The National Postdoctoral Association and The Center for Science and the Media have served as the project's fiscal sponsors.
Having said that, the ranking algorithm is not yet described ("Details coming soon. Stay tuned.").Back to top.
3. Univ. of Wisc.-Milwaukee Study: Work Climate Discourages Women Engineers
From: Rick Fienberg [rick.fienberg_at_aas.org]
Women who leave engineering jobs after obtaining the necessary degree are significantly more likely to leave the field because of an uncomfortable work climate than because of family reasons, according to a study being undertaken at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM).
Nearly half of women in the survey who left an engineering career indicated they did so because of negative working conditions, too much travel, lack of advancement or low salary, the study shows.
Despite successful interventions to increase the numbers of women earning degrees in engineering, the field now faces the problem of retaining those female engineers. The study, supported by a half-million-dollar grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), allowed respondents to list more than one reason for leaving, and about half did.
To read more:Back to top.
4. Leaders and Science and Engineering: The Women of MIT
From: Edmund Bertschinger [edbert_at_mit.edu]
As part of its 150th anniversary, MIT is hosting a major symposium on women in science and engineering March 28-29, 2011. This symposium aims to recognize both individual and institutional leadership in the success of women in science and engineering. It is woven around the landmark 1996 and 1999 reports of the Faculty Committees on Women in Science and their subsequent impact inside and beyond MIT. The symposium will have plenary sessions of talks by outstanding women faculty. In addition, there will be sessions giving a historical and current assessment of women in science and engineering, including the impact of the 1999 report.
A description of the symposium, with links to the program and to the registration page, can be found at:Back to top.
5. NY Times Crossword with a Women-in-STEM Theme
From: Catherine Garland [catherine.garland_at_castleton.edu]
Learn about women in STEM in the NY Times new Student Crossword:
NY Times suggests that when you’re done, you might:
Visit their Women’s History Month collection to find lesson plans for subjects across the curriculum, historical Times articles, and more related Student Crosswords.
Answer their Student Opinion question, “Why Are Women Underrepresented in STEM Fields?”Back to top.
6. Peer Mentoring
I first encountered this term "Horizontal Mentoring" in the article "Horizontal Mentoring Alliances: Resonant Phenomena" that appeared last fall in the Gazette, published by the American Physical Society's CSWP. But the concept is not strange to me. In fact, I wrote about it a couple of years ago, when I referred to it as "Peer Mentoring."
In fact, I have been a part of a peer mentoring group myself for almost two years now. The four of us come from various fields of science and all of us have children, and when we started meeting, we were all postdocs. Although the Gazette article cited above talks about peer mentoring at the senior faculty level, I would argue that horizontal mentoring is valuable at any level. Since the time we started meeting, two of us have given birth with a third on the way, and 3 of the 4 of us have landed permanent positions. Simply based on those statistics, I'd say our group has been a huge success!
So how do you go about setting up a peer mentoring group? We loosely based ours on Every Other Thursday by Ellen Daniell, with a number of modifications that we either agreed to in advance or evolved naturally as we went along. From there, it's a matter of recruiting people who are willing to commit to regular meetings, maintain confidentiality, and contribute to group problem solving.
To read more:Back to top.
7. Women in Science
From: Rick Fienberg [rick.fienberg_at_aas.org]
From an AAAS policy alert, 3/16/11:
Bill Introduced to Promote Women in Science. On March 2 the Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Act of 2011 (H.R. 889) was introduced by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), ranking member of the House, Science and Space Committee. The legislation would require the National Science Foundation (NSF) to collect demographic data on federal grant awardees including information on gender, race, age, and tenure/rank. It would also require the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to conduct workshops on mechanisms for minimizing gender bias in the evaluation of federal research grant proposals. The bill is similar to language that Rep. Johnson had included as an amendment to the America COMPETES Act but which was removed during the final conference negotiations with the Senate.
And from a NASA press release, 3/16/11:
NASA announced the creation of a new website that features women in NASA careers telling their stories in their own words. The website has 32 video interviews with women of diverse backgrounds who represent different aspects of the agency's work. Subjects include astronauts, engineers and scientists. They discuss their accomplishments and offer encouragement to women and girls considering technical careers so they can become the trailblazers of tomorrow. The site also provides information about NASA internships and career opportunities. Visit the new website atBack to top.
8. How to Submit to AASWOMEN
Send email to aaswomen_at_aas.org .
All material will be posted unless you tell us otherwise, including your email address.
Please remember to replace "_at_" in the e-mail address above.Back to top.
9. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to AASWOMEN
If you experience any problems, please email itdept_at_aas.orgBack to top.
10. Access to Past Issues of AASWOMEN
Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.Back to top.