Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hiring biases, seminar plug

It was suggested a few years back that a way to encourage diversity among the faculty and staff ranks was to provide campus-wide 'diversity training', starting with those that serve on search committees.  'Of course the students need it, but its not necessary for the employees.'  'The problem's been solved.' 'Pshaw-Surely an institution of higher learning is free of those pesky biases that affect lessor institutions!'   'We hire the best (based on what?)'

A recent double-blind study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences   and summarized in Science indicates that those suggesting this training really were on to something.  Despite identical, save the gender of the applicant, resumes, the women applying for lab manager position were viewed as less competent and worth less mentoring and lower starting salaries if they were offered positions.  (Addendum 2014:  Similarly,women and people of color with impeccably written letters of introduction and interest were systematically less likely to get responses from the prospective major professors than were white men, and less likely to get positive responses from those that did reply.

The implications of less mentoring is access to fewer resources. Lower starting salaries translate to lower lifetime earnings (every subsequent raise is based on that initial salary), long before accounting for any gaps due to childrearing or eldercare, which still tend to be born primarily by women.   They are also more likely to be impacted by the second shift and face obstacles as a trailing a spouse


If you would like to receive and share similar links and announcements of upcoming local events and online opportunities, subscribe to the esfwomen listserv (email with a blank subject line and a message of subscribe esfwomen firstname lastname).  We are also starting to post these resources (links only to avoid copyright infringement), as well as speaker and program summaries in this blog.


If you would like to discuss the body of literature one hour a week next semester (Tues, 3:30-4:30)--please consider joining or suggesting your students enroll in the 1 credit seminar 'FOR 496/797 ENVRN CAREER STRATEGIES/WOMEN #43773. The current iteration offered by Diane Kuehn, has the bones of the original seminar (WiSE Professions) developed by Robin Hoffman, Therese Donovan and Ruth Yanai in 1999, but continues to grow with the input of other faculty (Janine DeBaise, Sharon Moran) and with the written and verbal evaluations provided by each class.    The class and listserv are not just for women, but are 'safe spaces' for women to discuss issues and career development strategies.  For more information:

Heather Engelman
Coordinator, Women in Scientific and Environmental Professions Speaker Series & Take our Kids to Work Day
Research Analyst, Forest Ecology Laboratory, Forest and Natural Resources Management
B9 Marshall Hall (Mailing:  105 Marshall Hall)
1 Forestry Dr.
Syracuse, NY 13210

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