Number of women faculty

Amy Olson

When students across the country go to class at the beginning of the year, chances are the courses won’t be taught by women.
Although more female instructors are teaching classes than 20 years ago, the male-female percentages are still far from equal, according to a national study.
“It’s mostly dismal with some bright lights,” said Iris Molotsky, spokeswoman for the American Association of University Professors.
This month, the association released the results of its survey of 2,500 administrators at public and private colleges. According to the study, only 22.5 percent of the nation’s faculty members were female in 1974-75. In 1997-98, the national figure had risen to 33.8 percent.
The number of female professors at the University of Minnesota has been rising, but it is increasing very slowly, said Peter Zetterberg, director of the University’s Office of Planning and Analysis.
The University is still below the national average.
In the 1996-97 school year, the association reported that only 25.7 percent of the University’s faculty members were female. At the Twin Cities campus, however, the percentage of female professors was slightly lower — Only 24.6 percent of the campus faculty members were female.
Both percentages include assistant, associate and full professors who are tenured or tenure-track.
The same year, by comparison, 32.2 percent of professors in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system were female, said system research director Craig Schoenecker. In that survey, six of the seven state universities in MnSCU reported on 1,514 tenured and tenure-track faculty.
Over the past 20 years, the University has made a concerted effort to hire more women and minority professors, said Jane Whiteside, interim director of the Office for University Women.
Whiteside stressed that the number of female professors has not grown evenly throughout all colleges at the University because of traditional career path choices.
The association’s study indicated that half of those women are in lower positions, such as lecturers and instructors. Only 18.7 percent of full professors nationwide are female.
Molotsky said the organization includes lecturers and adjunct instructors in its survey because most community colleges do not classify its instructors with the same ranks used by larger colleges and universities.
The survey also found that female instructors get less pay and fewer promotions. Molotsky said lecturers and adjunct instructors, who often work part-time, traditionally receive less compensation than full-time professors.