Despite decades of progress, men still greatly outnumber women among biology faculty in the United States. Here, we show that high-achieving faculty members who are male train 10–40% fewer women in their laboratories relative to the number of women trained by other investigators. These skewed employment patterns may result from self-selection among female scientists or they may result from conscious or unconscious bias on the part of some faculty members. The dearth of women who are trained in these laboratories likely limits the number of female candidates who are most competitive for faculty job searches.
Many research institutions have made efforts to increase diversity among their administrations, faculty and staff members and student bodies. But research shows there is work to be done — and that the pay-off is immense. A 2017 study of 40 US public universities, for example, found that black, Hispanic and female science-faculty members continue to be under-represented relative to the US population (D. Li and C. Koedel Educ. Res. 46, 343–354; 2017).
Besides honing their strategies to draw more women and people of ethnic-minority groups, some organizations are also expanding opportunities for people from economically disadvantaged areas and those with physical disabilities, as well as trying to better represent people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
When a professor posted a Twitter thread about how Cornell University improved diversity in its computer-science PhD program, it quickly went viral.
“[W]e made a big step in improving diversity of the program. Let me tell you about it,” wrote David Bindel, the PhD admissions chair for Cornell University’s Computer Science department, earlier this month.
It’s clearly an issue that other higher ed leaders are interested in hearing about—the tweet has been shared more than 750 times and drew nearly 2,000 likes.
Computer science is “not just white dudes slinging code, and we all suffer for it when the world thinks that’s what it is,” Bindel wrote.
So how did Cornell do it? Bindel tells EdSurge that last year, Cornell had one Native American applicant, four African American and 17 hispanic applicants to its computer science PhD program, out of a pool of about 850 people. To encourage greater diversity in the next class. Bindel reached out to coordinators of the McNair Scholars Program, an organization that seeks to get undergraduate students—many of whom are underrepresented in graduate education—ready for graduate studies across the United States.
Having “good” researchers teach undergraduate students does not improve their grades, according to a study.
The paper, produced by academics in the Netherlands and published in the Economics of Education Review, also found that students rated highly cited researchers as poor teachers.
The researchers analysed the grades and teacher evaluations of thousands of students from the University of Maastricht’s School of Business and Economics, where students are randomly allocated teachers on a particular course but are given the same exam at the end. The study then measured the research quality of teachers by their publication records.
Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space, knows firsthand the importance of exposing kids to STEM topics early. She also knows the significance of having kids see themselves in movies, on TV, and in certain careers.
“It means making sure that people get those images that show they have those things available to them,” Jemison told HuffPost.
Jemison is collaborating on “Science Matters,” an initiative to encourage kids of all ages and backgrounds to pursue agricultural science from pharmaceutical and life science company Bayer and youth development organization National 4-H Council. Jemison, a physician and chemical engineer, knows the field of agricultural science can sound intimidating, but she and Jennifer Sirangelo, CEO and president of the National 4-H Council, have set out to change that.