University looking into gender inequalities

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    On the heels of a report from the University of Texas that reported the annual salaries of female faculty within its organization averaged $9,000 less than their male counterparts, TCU’s own newly released study on gender equality says pay discrepancies only exist because of a male-dominated hierarchy within the university.

    The report found that while the average salary of men was higher annually by an average of $16,000, it’s because men are more prevalent in administrative positions and departments that have higher market salaries.

    According to the report, despite the fact that 47 percent of the faculty are female, only six out of 40 department chairs are staffed by female professors.

    Nowell Donovan, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, said the six female department chairs are in female-dominated departments.

    “We need to enhance the opportunities for females,” he said. “In the report, they recommend sending people who are interested in administration to various workshops.”

    The Neeley School of Business has higher salaries than any of the other fields, according to the report.

    “Professors of business across the nation are paid more than professors in any other area,” he said. “If we want to get high quality instruction in the school of business then we have to pay for it.”

    According to the 2007 TCU Factbook, the average salary for faculty in the Neeley School of Business is $120,175. The College of Communication has the lowest average salary for faculty, which is $64,327. The average salary for a faculty member at the university is $76,709. The 2008 TCU Factbook numbers are pending.

    According to the report, female professors have the highest base pay, which does not include benefits or additional stipends, in 10 of 14 departments for the professor rank and 14 of 21 departments in the associate professor rank where both genders are represented. Male faculty have the highest salary in 8 of the 14 departments where both genders are represented.

    At the suggestion of a panel of four of the university’s deans, which reviewed the survey data in its entirety, top administrators are creating a Council on Faculty Inclusiveness to form a plan in response to the results and for monitoring progress.

    Donovan said the university has also assembled a task force to deal with sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior, which was identified as a concern for some female faculty.

    “It’s a problem wherever it happens and in any organization you will have inappropriate behavior,” he said. “But no, I don’t think it’s a major problem at TCU.”

    Training sessions for faculty and staff on sexual harassment and a gender-fair environment are already taking place in certain colleges within the university, which will eventually take place in all colleges on campus, Donovan told the Faculty Senate.

    “The dignity with which we treat each other is an incredibly important component of a healthy organization,” he said.

    Dianna McFarland, professor of psychology and assistant secretary of the Faculty Senate, participated in a series of focus groups that were part of the study.

    McFarland said she found the results both surprising and expected.

    “Like many of the other women and some of the men, I expected pay differences to be there and I was really pleased to find that there aren’t any,” she said. “What wasn’t really surprising was the idea that a sort of ‘good old boy’ network exists within the organization.”

    McFarland said the world of academics has historically been dominated by men, but as those generations begin to retire, increasing diversity is spreading in the workplace.

    “When I first came here in 1990, there was one female faculty member in the psychology department,” she said. “Now, 18 years later, the number of men and women in this department are pretty much equal.”

    McFarland said in some ways TCU is an organization like any other when it comes to gender, but the difference is that TCU is willing to look into the concerns and take steps to rectify them.

    “So you have to think is the glass half empty or is the glass half full?” she said. “I think the glass is half full.”