Nelson Diversity Surveys

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The Nelson Diversity Surveys (NDS) are a collection of data sets that quantify the representation of women and minorities among professors, by science and engineering discipline, at research universities. They consist of four data sets compiled by Dr. Donna Nelson, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oklahoma during fiscal years (FY) 2002, 2005, 2007, and 2012. These surveys were each complete populations, rather than samples. Consequently, the Surveys quantified characteristics of the faculty which had never been revealed previously, drawing great attention from women and minorities. Furthermore, the Surveys initially came at a time when these underrepresented groups were becoming concerned and vocal about perceived inequities in academia. At the time the Surveys were initiated, (1) the MIT Study of 1999, expressing the concerns of women scientists (including Nancy Hopkins), had just been issued, and (2) underrepresented minority (URM) science faculty noticed URM students increase among PhD recipients without a corresponding increase among recently hired professors. Because the NDS were complete populations, which disaggregated faculty by race, by rank, by gender, and by discipline, URM faculty had the documentation to support their concerns.

The NDS quantified the degree to which women and minorities are underrepresented on science and engineering faculties at research universities. Because the surveys were complete populations and disaggregated, the degree of underrepresentation was revealed, in ways it had never been revealed previously. For example, the FY 2002 survey showed that there were no Black, Hispanic, or Native American tenured or tenure track women faculty in the top 50 computer science departments.[1] It also revealed that there were no Black or Native American assistant professors in the top 50 chemistry departments. Analogous surveys were carried out for top 100 departments in each of 15 science and engineering disciplines in fiscal years (FY) 2005, 2007 and 2012.

The Nelson Diversity Surveys made it possible for the first time to know the level and rate of faculty diversification, disaggregated by race, by rank, and by gender. Researchers in the 15 areas of science surveyed were enthusiastic to use these disaggregated faculty data, in order to compare against analogous student data, which had been available from NSF for decades. Many new programs to increase the representation of women and minorities among professors were implemented[2] and PhD and MS research was based on data revealed by the NDS. The NDS were utilized by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Department of Energy, US Congress, Sloan Foundation, the National Organization for Women, universities, and many other organizations interested in diversity in academics. A new area of research was spawned – the Science of Broadening Participation.[3][4]

Methodology[edit]

During 2001 to 2003, Nelson surveyed department chairs in order to collect headcounts of tenured and tenure-track university faculty members of the "top 50" departments in each of 14 science and engineering disciplines (chemistry FY2001, physics, mathematics, chemical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, political science, sociology, economics, biological sciences, psychology, and astronomy FY2003).[5] Data were collected about race/ethnicity, rank, and gender, and are complete populations, rather than samples. Consequently, they accurately reveal the small number or complete absence of underrepresented groups. Data for all disciplines were obtained in a relatively short time and by a consistent protocol and are therefore comparable across this relatively large number of disciplines. This entire data set became known as the FY2002 Nelson Diversity Surveys (NDS).

The NDS determined demographics of tenured / tenure track faculty in a discipline at pertinent departments of "top" universities, ranked by the National Science Foundation( NSF) according to research funding expenditures in that discipline. The FY2002 data were the first such data published, disaggregated by gender, by race, and by rank, about faculty at the top 50 research universities in each of 14 science and engineering disciplines. The FY2005 survey was expanded to include the "top 100" departments in each of 15 disciplines (adding earth science). In some cases, slightly fewer than 100 schools were ranked by NSF for a discipline. Data were collected by surveying department chairs, who provided their own department’s faculty data, disaggregated by gender, by race/ethnicity, and by rank.

Nelson Diversity Survey Data Availability[edit]

The data tables, which constitute the Nelson Diversity Surveys, were rapidly made available publicly, freely and online,[6] so that constituents could use them for their own purposes. Data tables for NDS FY2002, FY2005, and FY2007 are listed there by discipline, so that each discipline has a group of links listed below it. Each link points to a table for that discipline. Disciplines are presented there so that the last discipline (earth science) added to the NDS is at the top of the list, and below that the disciplines are organized roughly according to similarities among data for disciplines. Within discipline headings, tables are listed by survey year, and within the year of the survey, tables are listed either by the group of “top 50” ranked departments or the next group of departments, ranked 51 - ~100. There are a total of about 75 such tables of departmental data at the website.

Figure 1. Table showing 2001 NDS faculty of "top 50" chemistry departments, disaggregated by race, by rank, and by gender.

Within each table of departments, data giving characteristics of tenured and tenure track professors are provided by race/ethnicity, by rank, and by gender. The table of the first discipline surveyed in the FY2002 NDS is provided as an example in Figure 1 (actually this very first survey was done in FY2001 and the remaining disciplines were carried out in FY2002). In Figure 1, the first column lists chemistry departments, NSF-ranked as 1-50, according to chemical research funding expenditures. The next group of four columns provides White faculty headcount, disaggregated by rank (full, associate, assistant, and all). The next analogous four groups of columns give similar rank-disaggregated headcount data for Blacks, for Hispanics, for Asians, and for Native Americans. The final column in the table is the sum of all faculty in each department. Gender data are provided in each number after the decimal point, so that a number such as 35.003 means 35 people, 3 of whom are women.

Figure 2. Summary table from the FY2007 NDS comparing representation of Asians among faculty of different science and engineering disciplines.

Final reports of two NDS (FY2002 and FY2007) are given online.[7] Each of these reports analyzes the NDS data collected that fiscal year, by using summary tables which compare the NDS data at the discipline level. A summary table showing data for Asians from the FY2007 NDS is given in Figure 2. This summary table provides, by discipline, the representation of Asians as a percentage of BS recipients, PhD recipients, assistant professors, associate professors, full professors, and all professors. Analogous summary tables were created, which provided data for Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, women, and White males. Such NDS summary tables enabled the first quantification of women proceeding through the academic STEM “pipeline” from BS to full professor, and they were used by women's groups and organizations widely.

Results of each NDS[edit]

The FY 2012 Surveys have been completed, but neither a final written report nor data tables for this set of surveys are available yet.

The FY 2007 Surveys final report is available online,[8] and its analysis focused mostly on minorities. Excerpts from its executive summary follow.

This NDS quantified faculty of top 100 departments of 15 science and engineering disciplines, showed that minorities and women were significantly underrepresented. There were relatively few tenured and tenure-track underrepresented minority (URM) faculty in these research university departments, even though a growing number and percentage of minorities were completing their PhDs. Qualified minorities were not joining faculties of many science and engineering disciplines. However, in some engineering disciplines, there was a better match between the percentage of URMs in recent PhD attainment versus among assistant professors. The percentage of URMs in science and engineering BS attainment generally increased over time, but URM students were likely to find themselves without minority faculty as optimal role models and mentors. In most disciplines, URM faculty were so few that a minority student could get a BS or PhD without ever being taught by or having access to a URM professor in that discipline. There were few minority full professors in the physical sciences and engineering disciplines studied; the highest percentage of all URMs combined among full professors was less than 5% (chemical engineering). However, there was a disproportionately large number of White male professors as role models for White male students. For example, in 2005, 16.7% of the students who graduated with a BS in chemistry were URMs, but in 2007, only 3.9% of faculty at the top 100 chemistry departments were URMs. For females, those percentages were 51.7% of BS recipients and 13.7% of faculty, respectively. In contrast, the corresponding percentages for White males were 37.4% of BS recipients and 74.2% of faculty, respectively.

In most disciplines studied, the percentage of URMs among recent PhD recipients was significantly greater than their percentage among assistant professors, indicating under-utilization; exceptions included civil engineering and mechanical engineering. In the top 50 departments of chemistry and math, the percentage of Hispanic and Native American faculty among assistant professors was lower than among associate professors, revealing a decline in hiring those minorities. In contrast, in all disciplines studied, the highest percentage of female faculty was at the level of assistant professor, as a result of increased recent hiring of women.

Comparing the representation of URMs among assistant professors in the top 50 departments, versus those in the next group of 50, gave mixed results; in engineering, the top 50 departments had higher percentages of URMs, while the top 50 chemistry, math, and computer science departments had lower representations of URMs than did the group of next 50 departments. URM women faculty, especially “full” professors, were almost nonexistent in physical sciences and engineering departments at research universities. Surprisingly, most of the few female minority full professors in those disciplines were not born in the U.S.

The FY 2005 Surveys have no final written report, but the data tables (along with those from the 2002 and 2007 surveys) are available online.[9]

The FY 2002 Surveys final report is available online,[10] and its analysis focused mostly on women. Selections from its executive summary follows.

This NDS was the first national and comprehensive analysis of tenured and tenure track faculty in the “top 50” departments of 14 science and engineering disciplines, quantifying faculty headcount and the underrepresentation of minorities and women among faculty. There were few tenured and tenure-track women faculty in these departments in research universities, even though a growing number of women were completing their PhDs. Qualified women were not going to science and engineering departments. In some engineering disciplines, there was a better match between the representation of females in PhD attainment versus the faculty, but these disciplines were the ones with very low percentages of females in PhD attainment. Underrepresented minority (URM) women faculty were almost nonexistent in science and engineering departments at research universities. In the “top 50” computer science departments, there were no Black, Hispanic, or Native American tenured or tenure track women faculty. For chemistry and chemical engineering faculties, additional national origin data revealed that recently, more immigrants had been hired as faculty than had American females and American minorities combined.

The percentage of women in BS attainment in science and engineering continued to increase over time, but they were likely to find themselves without the female faculty needed for optimal role models. In some disciplines, it was likely that a woman could get a bachelor of science without being taught by a female professor in that discipline; it was also possible for a woman to get a PhD in science or engineering without having access to a woman faculty member in her field.There were a drastically disproportionate number of male professors as role models for male students. For example, in 2000, 48.2% of the students graduating with a BS in math were women, but in 2002, only 8.3% of the faculty was female. The percentage of women among full professors ranged from 3% to 15%.

In all but one discipline surveyed, the highest percentage of female faculty was at the level of assistant professor, which was still lower than the percentage of women among recent PhD recipients (the hiring pool for assistant professors). Even in disciplines where women outnumbered men earning PhDs, the percentage of assistant professors who were White male was greater than that of females. For example, in psychology, 66.1% of the PhDs between 1993 and 2002 were women; while in 2002, they accounted for only 45.4% of the assistant professors. The data demonstrated that while the representation of females in science and engineering PhD attainment had significantly increased in recent years, the corresponding faculties were still overwhelmingly dominated by White men. In most science disciplines, the percentage of women among faculty recently hired was not comparable to that of recent women PhDs.

Impacts[edit]

Nelson's diversity research has been cited by dozens of newspapers, magazines, and journals, including Nature,[11] The New York Times,[12][13] The Christian Science Monitor,[14] and CNN.[15] The Government Accountability Office used Nelson's data for its July 2004 report to Congress on Title IX, specifically addressing women's access to opportunities in the sciences.[16] Nelson has also written about diversity in the STEM fields for outlets, such as PBS [17] and the Association for Women in Science.[18]

New programs designed and installed

Many educational institutions used the Nelson Diversity Surveys to implement new programs and to increase the diversity on their own campuses. Some of these had been awarded NSF ADVANCE grants; in some instances, the NDS were cited or obviously used in the resulting ADVANCE program postings.

Table 1. NSF ADVANCE IT (Institutional Transformation) Grant Use of Nelson Diversity Surveys (NDS)[19]

Institution Award year Grant duration (yrs) Application
University of Washington 2001 4 A,C
University of Puerto Rico, Humacao 2001 4 A
Georgia Institute of Technology 2001 5 A
University of California, Irvine 2001 5 A
New Mexico State University 2002 4 A
Hunter College, City University of New York 2002 5 A
University of Colorado, Boulder 2002 5 A
University of Pittsburgh 2002 4 -
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 2002 5 -
University of Wisconsin, Madison 2002 5 -
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University 2003 5 A,C
University of Illinois, Chicago 2003 2 A
Syracuse University 2003 3 A
Iowa State University 2003 4 A
Case Western Reserve University 2003 5 A
Kansas State University 2003 5 A
University of Alabama at Birmingham 2003 5 A
University of Rhode Island 2003 5 A
Louisiana State University 2003 3 -
University of Central Florida 2003 3 -
University of Connecticut 2003 3 -
University of Montana 2003 4 -
University of Utah 2003 4 -
University of Maryland, Baltimore County 2003 5 -
University of Texas at El Paso 2003 5 -
Utah State University 2003 5 -
Columbia University's Earth Institute 2004 5 A
AAAS 2005 3 -
Cornell University 2006 5 A,B
Rice University 2006 5 A,C
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona 2006 5 A
Iowa State University 2006 5 A
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 2006 5 A
University of Illinois, Chicago 2006 5 A
University of North Carolina at Charlotte 2006 5 A
Brown University 2006 5 C
University of Arizona 2006 5 C
Duke University 2006 3 -
Marshall University 2006 3 -
New Jersey Institute of Technology 2006 3 -
University of Maryland Eastern Shore 2006 3 -
Cal Poly Pomona Foundation, Inc. 2006 6 -
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 2006 6 -
Cornell University 2006 6 A
University of Washington 2006 5 -
Guardians of Honor 2007 1 -
University of Nebraska-Lincoln 2008 5 -
Ohio State University Research Foundation 2008 5 A
Rutgers University New Brunswick 2008 5 A
Washington State University 2008 5 -
North Dakota State University Fargo 2008 5 B,C
Northeastern University 2008 5 B
Wright State University 2008 5 -
Michigan State University 2008 5 -
Purdue University 2008 5 A
Association for Women in Science, Inc. 2009 1 A
University of Arkansas 2009 2 -
American Association For Advancement Science 2010 4 -
Jackson State University 2010 5 -
Syracuse University 2010 5 -
New Jersey Institute of Technology 2010 2 -
University of Maine 2010 5 -
Texas A&M University Main Campus 2010 5 A
Lehigh University 2010 5 -
University of Maryland College Park 2010 5 A
West Virginia University Research Corporation 2010 5 -
University of New Hampshire 2012 5 -
University of California-Davis 2012 5 A, B, C
Rochester Institute of Tech 2012 5 -
University of Cincinnati 2012 5 -
University of Virginia 2012 5 -

Table 1. legend: A=Uses NDS data for comparison or analysis, B=Cites NDS data, C=Provides link to NDS tables.

New research at universities

Students at many universities analyzed NDS data for their PhD and MS research on issues pertinent to women,[20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39][40][41][42][43][44][45][46][47][48][49][50][51][52] minorities,[53][54][55][56][57][58][59][60][61][62][63][64][65][66][67][68] or both.[69][70][71]

New area of research spawned

Due to the interest and research generated in faculty diversity, and because of the great impact and increasing potential for impact, a new area of research was spawned at NSF during the years 2007 to 2012 – the Science of Broadening Participation.[72][73]

NDS coupled by other similar programs

  • Harvard University lists NDS as one of three resources for diversity statistics in the Life Sciences.[74]
  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology cites NDS as a resource for diversity work in a number of places.[75][76]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Donna Nelson (2006-01-06). "Nelson Diversity Surveys". University of Oklahoma. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  2. ^ "ADVANCE at a Glance". National Science Foundation. 2012-07-11. Retrieved 2014-03-11. 
  3. ^ "Meeting Summary". National Science Foundation Advisory Committee for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE AC). 2007-06-07. Retrieved 2014-03-11. 
  4. ^ "Broadening Participation in America’s STEM Workforce, 2009-2010 CEOSE Biennial Report to Congress". NSF Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering CEOSE. 2011-06-01. Retrieved 2014-03-11. 
  5. ^ Donna Nelson (2006-01-06). "A National Analysis of Diversity in Science and Engineering Faculties at Research Universities" (PDF). University of Oklahoma. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  6. ^ Nelson, Donna. "Diversity surveys data". Nelson Diversity Surveys. Retrieved 2013-05-18. 
  7. ^ Donna Nelson (2006-01-06). "Nelson Diversity Surveys". University of Oklahoma. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  8. ^ Donna Nelson (2007-01-06). "A National Analysis of Minorities in Science and Engineering Faculties at Research Universities" (PDF). University of Oklahoma. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  9. ^ Nelson, Donna. "Diversity surveys data". Nelson Diversity Surveys. Retrieved 2013-05-18. 
  10. ^ Donna Nelson (2006-01-06). "A National Analysis of Diversity in Science and Engineering Faculties at Research Universities" (PDF). University of Oklahoma. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
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  19. ^ http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=5383
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