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Vol 2013 no 1

Education || Women


Gender Differences in Promotion Experiences at Two Elite Private Liberal Arts Colleges in the United States
Catherine White Berheide, Professor of Sociology, Skidmore College
Lisa Christenson, Assessment Facilitator, Skidmore College
Rena Linden, Research Assistant, Skidmore College
Una Bray, Associate Professor of Mathematics, Skidmore College

In colleges and universities throughout the United States, women are underrepresented at the rank of full professor.  This national pattern holds true at two highly selective small private liberal arts colleges in the Northeast, one formerly a men’s college and the other formerly a women’s college.  Analysis of personnel data at the former women’s college revealed that female full professors in the natural and social sciences, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) spent an average of a year longer as an associate professor than their male peers before their promotion.  These women were also more likely than were men to have served as department chair or program director while an associate professor.  This service delayed their promotion by an average of 2.5 years. 
            In response to a survey of 143 associate and full professors at these two liberal arts colleges, the majority indicated that they were not getting feedback on their progress toward promotion to full professor and that their senior colleagues were not providing help.  Analysis of variance showed that gender was associated with faculty perceptions of the promotion process at the former women’s college but not the former men’s college.  Focus groups of STEM women at these two institutions revealed that this lack of feedback and lack of mentoring decreased the likelihood that they would apply for promotion to full professor.  Analysis of salaries revealed a gender gap in wages at the former women’s college that was greatest for full professors.  If colleges and universities develop personnel procedures for providing feedback to associate professors about their progress toward meeting the standards for promotion to full professor, women would be more likely to be promoted in a timely manner. 

A Gender Study of High School Science Teachers in Rural Florida
Susan M. Butler, Chair, Social Sciences Division, Gulf Coast State College

The study compares faculty and school demographics in selected high school science classrooms to expand the research on women with careers in science. The classrooms are either situated in “high need Local Education Agencies” or the classrooms are situated in “low-performing schools,” as categorized by the Florida Department of Education. The teachers have been separated into gender groups which were then analyzed for demographic differences as age; race/ethnicity; citizenship; educational degrees; in-field or out-of-field teaching (certification areas); base salary; supplemental salary; and years of experience. All this information provides a snapshot of science teachers and science classrooms in rural northwestern Florida. The study analyzes data to determine gender differences in the professional/personal characteristics; duties; pay; preparation; and work environment of the science teachers participating in the study. Since these teachers work in low-performing schools and districts, one use of the data is to determine the extent to which these teachers differ from the state average. Another use of the data is to compare the work environment of male and female science teachers in rural northwestern Florida school districts.


Bullying in Elementary School: An American Perspective
Kathleen Conn, Associate Professor, Division of Education and Human Services, Neumann University and Adjunct Professor, Widener University School of Law, Wilmington, Delaware

Bullying in elementary schools is a recognized and widespread occurrence that threatens to rob children of their childhood. Part I of this commentary describes existing scientifically-based research on the nature, extent and effects of the phenomenon on children in United States schools. Part II analyzes the effectiveness of bullying prevention programs currently being adopted and implemented in the U.S. Part III describes and analyzes legislative and judicial responses to the problem. Finally, Part IV presents recommendations and strategies for taking action to prevent and reduce the incidences of bullying in elementary schools.

Creativity and the Transformation of Higher Education: The need for a Black Mountain College Approach
Richard C. Emanuel and Siu Challons-Lipton

The need for increased creativity in education is currently being proposed in much innovative thinking on higher education as universities are forced to recreate themselves.  There are four conditions facing higher education worldwide: alignment, motivation, connection, and direction.  Higher education is characterized by a hierarchy of subjects and curricula that are fragmented and lacking connection.  Grades and other extrinsic motivators typically used in school tend to dull thinking and block creativity.  Today’s students are the most technologically connected in history, yet conversation is being sacrificed for connection, compromising self-reflection.  We are now moving to a right brain directed Conceptual Age which calls for the ability to make connections that have value.
The need for an education through the arts has never been greater.  The teaching example of the experimental Black Mountain College (BMC) of North Carolina from the 1930s to the 1950s is once again relevant with its dedication to educational and artistic experimentation, including cross-disciplinary collaboration and the fostering of individuality.  A liberal arts education is again the example for the future as a directive to action, the development of character, and an education for life as an active citizen. 
There are specific and concrete things that can be done to emulate the Black Mountain approach individually, institutionally, and inter/nationally to transform curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment.  The central position of the visual arts in a liberal arts education cannot be forgotten. Our emphasis must be on creative and active learning in the development of character.

The Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics (STEM) Initiative at Stephen F Austin State University
Robert W. Gruebel, Professor of Physics, Stephen F Austin State University
Kimberly Childs, Professor of Mathematics and Dean, College of Science and Mathematics

The Texas statewide assessment of academic skills in 1997 indicated that >55 % of the student population failed to master the mathematics objectives set by the test criteria and 42 % of the mathematics teachers at the secondary level in the East Texas region were categorized as under-qualified to teach mathematics at that level. The issue of under-qualified teachers in the mathematics classroom was addressed and the National Science Foundation funded a program to qualify teachers at the middle (4-8) and secondary (8-12) levels.  

The urgency of the national call for reform in STEM education led SFASU to propose the Texas Middle and Secondary Mathematics Project (TxMSMP) designed to improve teacher capacity in mathematics and, in turn, impact student performance in mathematics in the grades 4-12. Teachers in the TxMSMP were prepared as Texas Master Mathematics Teachers. Students within collaborating districts were engaged in summer Institutes led by TxMSMP teachers and the SFASU mathematics faculty. An increased awareness and involvement of college faculty in the professional development of teachers in all in STEM fields ensued. A graduate program designed for K-12 Mathematics teachers was offered. Successes achieved in Mathematics performance led to the development of similar programs to encourage and provide leadership in the fields of Physics, Engineering, Biology, Geology, and Chemistry. An increase in STEM competencies and an awareness of the need to recruit majors in STEM fields resulted.  To accomplish this and widen the Stem pipeline, SFASU created the STEM Research and Learning Center. Faculty Research Engagement Grants enhance the ability of faculty to carry out basic research which engages undergraduates and secondary teachers in support of the over-all objective of bringing scientific and mathematical exploration to all student levels. Current efforts address the under-representation of women with degrees in STEM career fields.

High Involvement Mothers of High Achieving Children: Potential Theoretical Explanations
Scott L. Hunsaker, Associate Professor, School of Teacher Education and Leadership, Utah State University

In American society, parents who have high aspirations for the achievements of their children are often viewed by others in a negative light.  Various pejoratives such as pushy parent, helicopter parent, stage mother, and soccer mom are used in the common vernacular to describe these parents. Multiple explanations for the behaviors of these parents, especially mothers, can provided through concepts such as enmeshment, mattering, and moral intuitions. This paper explores the results of interviews with several mothers who take great interest in their children’s attainments and who play an active role in affording their children the opportunity to achieve.  Qualitative analysis of these interviews, as well as of family archival materials, was conducted using each of the conceptual lens listed above to determine which provides the best fit for explaining the mothers’ activities related to their aspirations for their children’s achievements in academics, aesthetics, and athletics. These analyses indicate that enmeshment theory seems to provide the best fit.

The development of nterdisciplinary thinking in the new postmodern education
Shu Nu Yang, Assistant Professor, Yu Da University, Miaoli, Taiwan

As an educator, it is always interesting to learn and employ new and creative ways of thinking and methods in teaching. However, the application of these new ideas in our classrooms needs more examination for better ways of implementation. Since the postmodernist theory and approaches have been practiced in education in the past few decades, the criticisms stated by educators and scholars have led to an examination of its impact on teaching and learning in different fields. In this paper, I would like to bring forth the educational issues under the influence of post-modernist trends and, eventually, develop the new postmodern approach in higher education.  
In this way, we offer other perspectives, taking into account interdisciplinary theory and principles, as a feasible alternative and prevailing idea in higher education. An interdisciplinary approach will be discussed as a way to solve the problems related to the negative effects of current postmodern issues in education. Contemporary single-disciplinary theories and approaches in education have evolved toward interdisciplinary thinking that integrates different perspectives and fields. These new multiple approaches can serve as the educational basis for reconstructing value of the humanities.
This proposition is considered as an issue when facing the critical situation in postmodern education in our society today. In addition, the interdisciplinary thinking will be employed, based on the multiple-perspectives from literature, philosophy, religion, science, and cultural studies. The integration of these related but distinct disciplines will elucidate programs and hopefully serve to inspire the basis for new postmodern education.




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