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Surveying the Campus Climate for Faculty: A Comparison of the Assessments of STEM and non-STEM faculty

Dana M. Britton, Chardie L. Baird, Ruth A. Dyer, B. Jan Middendorf, Christa Smith, Beth A Montelone


A fundamental assumption of programs intended to increase the numbers of women faculty in science, engineering and math (STEM) has been that women in these disciplines experience a uniquely hostile climate. While this focus on STEM faculty is necessary and important, we argue that it may be too narrow.  In this paper, we compare STEM to non-STEM faculty, drawing on a representative survey of university faculty in one institution (N=612) conducted in 2007. Our findings indicate that non-white men in the STEM disciplines are in fact significantly less satisfied than white men in these fields and less satisfied than their counterparts in non-STEM fields.  Among white women, those in STEM fields are significantly less satisfied than those in non-STEM disciplines. These differences are largely mediated by perceptions of work and contextual factors, however.  With a few exceptions, we find that the factors that predict satisfaction are the same across groups of faculty.  This implies that efforts to improve university and departmental climates will benefit all faculty.



job satisfaction; career progress satisfaction; gender; race/ethnicity

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