Noteworthy & New
Celebrating And Investing In Research At SMU
By The Numbers: Probing
The Gender Gap In Science
According to the National Research
Council (2006), women earned 44.7
percent of the doctorates awarded in
the biological sciences between 1993
and 2004, yet comprised only 30.2
percent of the assistant professors at
the top 50 U.S. universities. In physics,
the gap is far wider.
Anne Lincoln, SMU assistant professor
of sociology, researches the reasons
for the gender disparities.
In September Lincoln received a three-year grant from the National
Science Foundation’s Research on Gender in Science and Engineering
program to examine women’s and men’s reasons for pursuing
academic science careers as well as their perceptions about
women’s contributions to academic science.
Lincoln and a team of four sociology undergraduate students
are nearing the completion of the sampling database – a list of all
faculty and graduates students at top-20 biology and physics
graduate departments in the United States – and will randomly
select 2,500 of them to participate in an Internet-based survey.
A subsample of about 150 respondents will later be selected for
more in-depth interviews, which will take place in 2009.
“In 2010, we will be wrapping up the study and mostly running
analyses on the data,” she says.
Lincoln’s co-investigator is Elaine Howard Ecklund of Rice
In addition to expanding recent scholarly findings related to the
role perceptions have in the decision to pursue a career in academic
science, Lincoln’s research is expected to provide the “necessary research
underpinnings to build university policies and practices that
encourage women’s interest in science majors and careers.”
Unemployment: Is It A Black And White Issue?
Research over the past four decades shows that the unemployment
rate of African Americans has been substantially higher
than that of whites – the black unemployment rate is about twice
that of whites – with the disparity amplified during an economic
recession. Recent research by Isaac Mbiti,
assistant professor of economics in SMU’s
Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences,
is attempting to pinpoint why.
In the paper “An Empirical Analysis of
Black-White Employment Differences over
the Business Cycle,” Mbiti and co-author
Yusuf Soner Baskaya of Brown University
used the Census Bureau’s monthly Current Population Survey
(CPS) prior-year income/wage information to account for productivity.
While previous studies have made considerations for
many variables, “they really couldn’t account for productivity,”
Mbiti explains. “If the black-white differences were purely productivity
differences, then accounting for productivity would
erase the gaps. However, we find the black-white employment
gap remains large and significant.” The report has provided important
insights about the sources of differences in black-white
employment outcomes, including the possibility that “these results
may indicate discrimination against blacks.”
For more information: isaacmbiti.googlepages.com/research