Paul L. Caron

Monday, December 29, 2008

Inside Higher Ed: Women Profs Spend More Time on Teaching, Less on Research

From today's Inside Higher Ed:  The Teaching Paradox, by Scott Jaschik:

A new survey of faculty members in English and foreign languages will challenge some assumptions about how and why women and men are not promoted at the same levels or feel the same satisfaction in academe.

The Modern Language Association has yet to release its “associate professor survey,” which, notwithstanding its name, included both associate and full professors. But professors involved in the report, due out soon, revealed some of the key findings Sunday at the MLA’s annual meeting: ...

  • Women work an average of 1.5 hours more per week than do men on grading student work.
  • Men work an average of 2 hours more per week on research ...

Many women reported feeling hostility from many of their colleagues and a lack of support in research, even as many departments value it over teaching. This raises the potentially troubling question, she said, of whether women value teaching for the “magic” of the classroom or because “teaching can be a kind of refuge” in that the classroom is the place where women (and men) have the most control over their professional decisions. ...

Joycelyn K. Moody, the Sue E. Denman Distinguished Chair in American Literature at the University of Texas at San Antonio, said that what most troubled her about the responses was that women reported feeling shame about their interest and success in teaching. Women should be feeling pride in their success as teachers, she said, but are “perceiving themselves as performing below expectations,” because they aren’t doing more research. It’s time to “dismantle those institutional values,” Moody said, so that the shame disappears.

Moody also said that the survey results will show how some discussions that have been going on for years in higher education have missed a key element: gender. She noted that Ernest L. Boyer’s Scholarship Reconsidered in 1990 “paid no particular respect to gender,” even as it called for shifting the reward system in higher education to value research on teaching and to see curricular work as contributing to scholarship. To talk about “free floating anxiety” about the relative value of scholarship vs. teaching, without considering gender, she said, missed a key point.

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Maybe there doesn't have to be gender, but rather 2 tracks that profs can follow, one teaching oriented, one research oriented. Teachers could do less research, researchers would do less teaching. Researchers would still get more funding simply due to increased costs. But then the ones who like teaching the most wouldn't need to compete for dollars as much. This might actually be good, remembering some of my prof's teaching ability :)

Posted by: plutosdad | Dec 31, 2008 8:06:28 AM

Research, English???
Are they finding new ways to spell?
Solving the horrid "he", "she", "he/she", "he/she/it", "they" elusive gender-neutral singular pronoun question?

Pray, tell me more about this "research" thing they are doing in the English department.

Posted by: Borris | Dec 31, 2008 8:06:28 AM

There are places where the professors do almost all teaching and little research. They are called community colleges.

What, community colleges are not prestigious enough for someone who likes to teach and not do research? But isn't university prestige based on faculty scholarly reputation and research output? Wait a minute...

Posted by: | Dec 29, 2008 8:26:12 PM

"Women work an average of 1.5 hours more per week than do men on grading student work".
How do the quantity of the work done and productivity of male and female professors compare?

Posted by: a | Dec 29, 2008 4:41:23 PM

Based on my 30 years of experience in research and teaching, I suggest that another factor may come into play, and that is "competition," of which there tends to be much more among researchers than classroom teachers. Perhaps the competition for funding and the sometimes rancorous struggle to gain recognition for one's ideas is more off-putting for women than it is for men. As for the complaint over "lack of support in research," almost every researcher, regardless of gender, feels slighted at one time or another in his career and has this complaint. It is the fortunate few who do not.

Posted by: Baba Ganoush | Dec 29, 2008 4:41:22 PM

Why should they consider gender at all. I thought the latest thing was there should be no difference in the standards to which professors are held based on gender. Now there apparently is supposed to be a difference in the standards to which professors are held based on gender. Very confusing.

Are we or are we not supposed to gauge the ability of the professors on a different basis if they are female than we are if they are male. If so, then how in the light of the complaints causing vapors because of what Larry Summers said is this difference to be applied and who determines what that difference is allowed to be.

Strikes me that this is just a dummy put up there so women can get more benefits than men.

Posted by: dick | Dec 29, 2008 4:41:22 PM

Of course one has to question the value of "research" in English and foreign languages. Frankly, we need a lot fewer researchers in the humanities. We need more American researchers in science and engineering.

Posted by: ATM | Dec 29, 2008 4:41:22 PM