Not Moving On Up: Why Women Get Stuck at Associate Professor

by E Wayne Ross on April 27, 2009

Inside Higher Ed: ‘Standing Still’ as Associate Profs

English and foreign language departments promote male associate professors to full professors on average at least a year — and in some cases, depending on type of institutions, several years — more speedily than they promote women, according to a study being released today by the Modern Language Association. Over all, the average time for women as associate professor prior to promotion is 8.2 years, compared to 6.6 years for men.

The Chronicle: Not Moving On Up: Why Women Get Stuck at Associate Professor

Message to deans, department chairs, and other administrators in higher education: Pay more attention to associate professors— particularly women, for whom the path to promotion is often murky and less traveled.

That’s one of several recommendations from a panel of the Modern Language Association, whose new report, released today, describes how male associate professors in English and foreign languages are routinely promoted to full professor quicker than women are. To help reverse that trend, the MLA’s Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession suggested several moves, such as backing away from the monograph as the dominant form of scholarship that counts toward advancement, attaching bigger salary increases to the jump from associate to full professor, and creating mentor programs that focus specifically on preparing associate professors for promotion. The report, “Standing Still: The Associate Professor Survey,” is available on the association’s Web site.