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Faculty Teaching Undergraduates

One of the most profound differences between men and women majoring in science and engineering is that women find very few female role models on the faculty. Studies in selected science and engineering fields at the undergraduate level [8] revealed that the faculty teaching undergraduates were overwhelmingly male in each of the six fields of science and engineering examined-civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering, sociology, geology, and physics.
The most diverse faculty surveyed was in the only social science field in the study-sociology-where 30 percent of the full-time faculty were women. Women comprised less than 10 percent of the full-time faculty in each of the other five fields surveyed, ranging from a high of 9 percent in geology to only 4 percent in mechanical engineering.
The public institutions have a slightly higher percentage of full-time female faculty in the engineering fields; for example, 5 percent of the full-time electrical engineering faculty in public institutions are women versus 4 percent in the private schools. (See appendix table 5-16.)
The private institutions include a larger proportion of female full-time faculty in each of the sciences. In sociology, private institutions' faculty was 35 percent women, compared with 30 percent for the public institutions; in geology, the proportions for private/public were 9 percent to 8 percent, and in physics, 8 percent to 6 percent.
Women constitute higher proportions of part-time faculty, although representation varies greatly from field to field. Once again, sociology had the highest proportion of women in part-time positions (47 percent). In geology, women comprised 40 percent of the part-time faculty, and in physics, 14 percent. In each of the three engineering fields, women comprised 7 percent or less of the part-time faculty (7 percent in civil, 5 percent in electrical, and a low of 4 percent in mechanical).
Underrepresented minorities have very few role models among the faculty in the science and engineering fields. (See figure 5-10.) American Indians have the lowest proportion of faculty among the underrepresented minorities: they constitute less than 0.5 percent of total faculty, whether full-time or part-time, in all six fields surveyed. Hispanics comprise 4 percent of sociology's full-time faculty and 6 percent of its part-time faculty. They comprise 3 percent of the full-time civil engineering faculty, the highest percentage of underrepresented minorities in any full-time engineering faculty. Hispanics do not constitute more than 2 percent of the full-time or part-time faculty in any of the other engineering fields.

Figure 5-10

Blacks have only slightly better representation in science and engineering faculty than do other underrepresented groups. Eight percent of the full-time faculty in sociology and 9 percent of that field's part-time faculty are black. In both electrical and civil engineering, blacks comprise 3 percent of the part-time faculty. Like Hispanics, they do not constitute more than 2 percent of the full-time or part-time faculty in any of the other fields.
Engineering undergraduate and graduate students with disabilities had very few faculty role models. Only 0.5 percent of the engineering faculty included people with disabilities. Most of the faculty with disabilities (68 out of 134) were mobility impaired. (See appendix table 5-17.)


8. Descriptions and results of these studies are presented in a series of reports: National Science Foundation/SRS 1992a, 1992b, 1992c, 1994a, 1994b. Up arrow
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