Research in science and engineering has been and remains central to the US role in the world, the culture of the nation, its continuing economic development, and its security. It is imperative that the nation access its entire talent pool. However, it is clear from several recent studies that while women are an increasing proportion of those earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in science and engineering fields, they have not been hired into academic positions commensurate with this increasing representation. Ultimately, this means that the academic research enterprise is missing out on talent, and will underperform relative to its potential.
The study committee will integrate the wealth of data available on gender issues across all fields of science and engineering. The committee will focus on academe, but will examine other research sectors to determine if there are effective practices in place relevant to recruiting, hiring, promotion, and retention of women science and engineering researchers. Throughout the report, profiles of effective practices, scenarios, and summary boxes will be used to reinforce the key concepts.
The committee is charged to:
- Review and assess the research on gender issues in science and engineering, including innate differences in cognition, implicit bias, and faculty diversity.
- Examine the institutional culture and practices in academic institutions that contribute to and discourage talented individuals from realizing their full potential as scientists and engineers.
- Determine effective practices to ensure women doctorates have access to a wide range of career opportunities, in academe and in other research settings.
- Determine effective practices on recruiting and retention of women scientists and engineers in faculty positions.
- Develop findings and provide recommendations based on these data and other information the committee gathers to guide the following groups on how to maximize the potential of women science and engineering researchers:
- Faculty: roles in hiring, promotion, retention, and mentoring.
- Deans and Department Chairs: roles in hiring and promotion and equitable provision of resources.
- Academic Leadership: roles in hiring, promotion, resource allocation, tracking, and setting the tone for institutional culture.
- Funding Organizations: roles in education and training, compensation levels, review, and tracking of grant applicant and recipient data.
- Government: roles in enhancing and diversifying access to education, training, and research funding, and in ensuring that data about program users are collected and available for assessment purposes.
National Academies Press (US), Washington (DC)
National Academy of Sciences (US), National Academy of Engineering (US), and Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Maximizing the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2007. B, Statement of Task.