O'Meara, Beise Receive NSF Grant to Support ADVANCE Faculty Workload and Rewards Project

O'Meara, Beise Receive NSF Grant to Support ADVANCE Faculty Workload and Rewards Project

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University of Maryland ADVANCE Director and Professor of Higher Education, KerryAnn O’Meara (PI), and Associate Provost for Academic Planning and Programs and Physics Professor Elizabeth Beise (Co-PI), received a new $750,000 ADVANCE-IHE PLAN grant from the National Science Foundation. The Faculty Workload and Rewards Project is a 5-year experiment aiming to transform outmoded workplace structures and cultures that maintain inequality between STEM and Social Science men and women university faculty in campus service, teaching, and mentoring workloads.

The University of Maryland is partnering with colleagues at the University of Maryland System (Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Joann Boughman), North Carolina State University (Professor of Higher Education Audrey Jaeger) and University of North Carolina General Administration (Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Karrie Dixon), and the University of Massachusetts Amherst (Professor of Sociology Joya Misra) and New England Resource Center for Higher Education (Professor of Higher Education John Saltmarsh) to recruit 42 STEM and Social Science academic departments from 13 public institutions in NC, MD, and MA. Half of the departments will serve as a control group, while the other 21 departments will be designated as experimental departments that will engage in four workload interventions over the course of three years.

This project will test whether departments that undergo a 3-year project to address workload inequality show improvements in women faculty sense of procedural and distributive justice, retention, satisfaction, organizational commitment, and satisfaction with time spent on teaching and service versus research. Over the course of the project, a repository of dashboard templates will be created that can then be used by other institutions to assess micro-equities in workload and establish department-based organizational practices that make faculty workloads more transparent and equitable. The Faculty Workload and Rewards Project has the potential to make long-term shifts possible through structural change in workload assignments and accountability, and cultural changes in transparency and bias regarding those assignments.

This grant is timely given the abundance of empirical evidence that women and underrepresented minority (URM) faculty spend more time than their male and white peers on teaching, mentoring and other less-valued forms of service. Because research is valued more than service and teaching in most academic reward systems, spending more time on campus service, teaching, and mentoring may perpetuate inequality between men and women. These systemic inequities in workload have been identified as central to STEM women’s lower tenure and promotion rates, longer time to promotion to full professor, and greater career dissatisfaction.

This project is the first of its kind to take on the root causes of gender inequality in faculty workload. It targets such change in three large state systems because of the possibility for disseminating proven remedies quickly. To learn more about this project please contact Professor of Higher Education and UMD ADVANCE Director, KerryAnn O’Meara at komeara@umd.edu.

September 30, 2015


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