Research on bias in academia has focused more on tenure and less on promotion to Full Professor. This week’s feature article from the Chronicle of Higher Education is an exception, describing a study of 2000 promotion to full cases across 10 universities. The study found several potential sources of bias that tend to affect women and underrepresented individuals (BIPOC) more than their colleagues, including bias against interdisciplinary research and service and the undervaluing of mentoring work. These contribute to lower rates of promotion to Full for women and underrepresented individuals.
Recommendations for P&T committees include creating a diverse committee, training members about bias, and creating a more structured evaluation process. Recommendations for candidates for promotion include asking for specific written explanations when a promotion packet is not advanced to the next level of review, third-party comparisons to prior packets to address shifting standards, and collecting alternative metrics to demonstrate one’s contribution and impact on projects. We urge all involved to learn about research into the academic promotion process in order to decrease bias in engrained practices and policies here at Michigan Tech, as well as to enable the career progress of all of our faculty.
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