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Concept: Professor


National randomized experiments and validation studies were conducted on 873 tenure-track faculty (439 male, 434 female) from biology, engineering, economics, and psychology at 371 universities/colleges from 50 US states and the District of Columbia. In the main experiment, 363 faculty members evaluated narrative summaries describing hypothetical female and male applicants for tenure-track assistant professorships who shared the same lifestyle (e.g., single without children, married with children). Applicants' profiles were systematically varied to disguise identically rated scholarship; profiles were counterbalanced by gender across faculty to enable between-faculty comparisons of hiring preferences for identically qualified women versus men. Results revealed a 2:1 preference for women by faculty of both genders across both math-intensive and non-math-intensive fields, with the single exception of male economists, who showed no gender preference. Results were replicated using weighted analyses to control for national sample characteristics. In follow-up experiments, 144 faculty evaluated competing applicants with differing lifestyles (e.g., divorced mother vs. married father), and 204 faculty compared same-gender candidates with children, but differing in whether they took 1-y-parental leaves in graduate school. Women preferred divorced mothers to married fathers; men preferred mothers who took leaves to mothers who did not. In two validation studies, 35 engineering faculty provided rankings using full curricula vitae instead of narratives, and 127 faculty rated one applicant rather than choosing from a mixed-gender group; the same preference for women was shown by faculty of both genders. These results suggest it is a propitious time for women launching careers in academic science. Messages to the contrary may discourage women from applying for STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) tenure-track assistant professorships.

Concepts: Male, Female, Gender, University, Academia, Preference, Professor, Tenure


You finished your PhD, have been a postdoc for a while, and you start wondering, “What’s next?” Suppose you come to the conclusion that you want to stay in academia, and move up the ladder to become a principal investigator (PI). How does one reach this goal given that academia is one of the most competitive environments out there? And suppose you do manage to snatch your dream position, how do you make sure you hit the ground running? Here we report on the workshop “P2P - From Postdoc To Principal Investigator” that we organized at ISMB 2012 in Long Beach, California. The workshop addressed some of the challenges that many postdocs and newly appointed PIs are facing. Three experienced PIs, Florian Markowetz (Group Leader, Cambridge Research Institute, Cancer Research UK), Gary Bader (Associate Professor, The Donnelly Centre, University of Toronto), and Philip Bourne (Professor, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of California San Diego), provided insight into the transition from a trainee to PI and shared advice on how to make the best out it.

Concepts: University, California, Professor, Tenure, Doctorate, Rector, Academic administration, 2006 singles


Faculty diversity is a longstanding challenge in the US. However, we lack a quantitative and systemic understanding of how the career transitions into assistant professor positions of Ph.D. scientists from underrepresented minority (URM) and well-represented (WR) racial/ethnic backgrounds compare. Between 1980 and 2013, the number of PhD graduates from URM backgrounds increased by a factor of 9.3, compared with a 2.6-fold increase in the number of PhD graduates from WR groups. However, the number of scientists from URM backgrounds hired as assistant professors in medical school basic science departments was not related to the number of potential candidates (R2=0.12, p>0.07), whereas there was a strong correlation between these two numbers for scientists from WR backgrounds (R2=0.48, p<0.0001). We built and validated a conceptual system dynamics model based on these data that explained 79% of the variance in the hiring of assistant professors and posited no hiring discrimination. Simulations show that, given current transition rates of scientists from URM backgrounds to faculty positions, faculty diversity would not increase significantly through the year 2080 even in the context of an exponential growth in the population of PhD graduates from URM backgrounds, or significant increases in the number of faculty positions. Instead, the simulations showed that diversity increased as more postdoctoral candidates from URM backgrounds transitioned onto the market and were hired.

Concepts: Professor, Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy, Habilitation, Assistant Professor


Anonymous student evaluations of teaching (SETs) are used by colleges and universities to measure teaching effectiveness and to make decisions about faculty hiring, firing, re-appointment, promotion, tenure, and merit pay. Although numerous studies have found that SETs correlate with various teaching effectiveness irrelevant factors (TEIFs) such as subject, class size, and grading standards, it has been argued that such correlations are small and do not undermine the validity of SETs as measures of professors' teaching effectiveness. However, previous research has generally used inappropriate parametric statistics and effect sizes to examine and to evaluate the significance of TEIFs on personnel decisions. Accordingly, we examined the influence of quantitative vs. non-quantitative courses on SET ratings and SET based personnel decisions using 14,872 publicly posted class evaluations where each evaluation represents a summary of SET ratings provided by individual students responding in each class. In total, 325,538 individual student evaluations from a US mid-size university contributed to theses class evaluations. The results demonstrate that class subject (math vs. English) is strongly associated with SET ratings, has a substantial impact on professors being labeled satisfactory vs. unsatisfactory and excellent vs. non-excellent, and the impact varies substantially depending on the criteria used to classify professors as satisfactory vs. unsatisfactory. Professors teaching quantitative courses are far more likely not to receive tenure, promotion, and/or merit pay when their performance is evaluated against common standards.

Concepts: Psychology, University, Academia, Dean, Effect size, Student, Professor, Tenure


In the most recent cohort, 2002-2015, the experiences of men and women differed substantially among STEM disciplines. Female assistant professors were more likely than men to leave the institution and to leave without tenure in engineering, but not in the agricultural, biological and biomedical sciences and natural resources or physical and mathematical sciences. In contrast, the median times to promotion from associate to full professor were similar for women and men in engineering and the physical and mathematical sciences, but one to two years longer for women than men in the agricultural, biological and biomedical sciences and natural resources.

Concepts: Mathematics, Science, University, Dean, Professor, Tenure, Habilitation, Privatdozent


This department highlights emerging nursing leaders who have demonstrated great work and much potential in advancing innovation and patient care leadership in practice, policy, research, education, and theory. This interview profiles Christopher Friese, PhD, RN, AOCN, FAAN, assistant professor, University of Michigan School of Nursing.

Concepts: Management, University, Nursing, Nursing specialties, Professor, Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy, Habilitation


In evaluating research investments, it is important to establish whether the expertise gained by researchers in conducting their projects propagates into the broader economy. For eight universities, it was possible to combine data from the UMETRICS project, which provided administrative records on graduate students supported by funded research, with data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The analysis covers 2010-2012 earnings and placement outcomes of people receiving doctorates in 2009-2011. Almost 40% of supported doctorate recipients, both federally and nonfederally funded, entered industry and, when they did, they disproportionately got jobs at large and high-wage establishments in high-tech and professional service industries. Although Ph.D. recipients spread nationally, there was also geographic clustering in employment near the universities that trained and employed the researchers. We also show large differences across fields in placement outcomes.

Concepts: University, Academic degree, Postgraduate education, Professor, Doctorate, United States Census, United States Census Bureau, Census


Abstract Fifty years after Title IX, women remain sparsely represented in high ranks and leadership in academic medicine. Although men and women enter the career pipeline at similar rates, academic medicine does not equivalently advance them. Currently, women account for 32% of associate professors, 20% of full professors, 14% of department chairs, and 11% of deans at U.S. medical schools-far from the near sex parity seen in medical students since the 1990s. Over 30 years of research confirms that gender stereotypes can operate to disadvantage women in review processes and consequently bar their advancement in domains like science and medicine. The authors present three vignettes to illustrate how gender stereotypes can also operate to disadvantage women in social interactions by positioning them in the “out-group” for many career-advancing opportunities. The authors argue that policies alone will not achieve gender equity in the academic medicine workforce. Addressing stereotype-based gender bias is critical for the future of academic medicine. Interventions that treat gender bias as a remediable habit show promise in promoting gender equity and transforming institutional culture to achieve the full participation of women at all career stages. A critical step is to recognize when gender stereotyped assumptions are influencing judgments and decision making in ourselves and others, challenge them as unjust, and deliberately practice replacing them with accurate and objective data.

Concepts: Critical thinking, Gender, University, Sexism, Professor, Tenure, Gender equality, Feminism


Unrelated human males regularly interact in groups [1], which can include higher and lower ranked individuals. In contrast, from early childhood through adulthood, females often reduce group size in order to interact with only one individual of equal rank [1-5]. In many species, when either sex maintains a group structure, unrelated individuals must cooperate with those differing in rank [6]. Given that human males interact more than females in groups, we hypothesized that dyadic cooperation between individuals of differing rank should occur more frequently between human males than females. We examined this hypothesis in academic psychology. Numbers of co-authored peer-reviewed publications were used as an objective measure of cooperation, and professorial status as a measure of rank. We compiled all publications co-authored by full professors with same-sex departmental colleagues over four years in 50 North American universities, and calculated the likelihood of co-authorship in relation to the number of available professors in the same department (Supplemental information). Among those of equal status (full professors) there was no gender difference for likelihood of co-authorship: women and men were equally likely to co-author publications with another full professor of the same gender. In contrast, male full professors were more likely than female full professors to co-author publications with a same-gender assistant professor. This is consistent with a tendency for men to cooperate more than women with same-sex individuals of differing rank.

Concepts: Male, Female, Gender, Sex, Professor, Lecturer, Tenure


The PhD degree was established in Berlin 200 years ago and has since spread across the whole world. While there is general agreement that the degree is awarded in recognition of successfully completed research training, there have been significant differences in the way doctoral training programs have developed in particular countries. There is, however, a clear global tendency to follow the programs currently used either in the United States or in Europe. To determine more clearly how US and European PhD programs are both similar and different, we have used a validated questionnaire to analyze biomedical PhD programs in four representative institutions at Vanderbilt University, University of Manitoba, Karolinska Institutet, and Graz Medical University. The analysis is based on 63 detailed questions concerning the research environment, outcomes, admission criteria, content of programs, mentoring (or supervising), the PhD thesis, assessment of the thesis, and PhD school structure. The results reveal that while there is considerable overlap in the aims and content of PhD programs, there are also considerable differences regarding the structure of PhD programs, mentoring and assessment of PhD theses. These differences are analyzed in detail in order to provide a foundation for discussion of their relative advantages and disadvantages, with a view to providing a platform for discussion of best practices. The results will be of importance in the continued development of global discussion about development of doctoral training.

Concepts: United States, Academia, Academic degree, Professor, Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy, Thesis or dissertation, Terminal degree