Tag: Workplace

Topics impacting performance, perception of performance, sense of belonging in the workplace.

ADVANCE PowerPlay Workshop

Speaking Up: How Department Leaders Can Change the Conversation in the Academic Workplace

Have you ever asked yourself “Why didn’t I say something?” when a friend or colleague said or did something that was biased or uncivil at work? You’re not alone. Deciding whether and how to respond to these moments is complicated. Yet navigating these situations effectively is crucial for academic leaders—including department chairs—who are responsible for creating a respectful climate and culture for everyone in their units.

Limited to just 50 attendees, this dynamic and interactive workshop will teach you what motivates individuals to speak up, the challenges people face when doing so, and strategies for responding that invite self-reflection and constructive dialogue. Attendees will then be invited to apply these strategies directly to resolving everyday incidents of incivility and bias that frequently occur among faculty and staff in the academic workplace.

The discussion will focus on academic leaders’ role in changing the conversation to promote inclusive and respectful workplaces. A team of experienced co-facilitators and professional actors will support active discussion and learning to reinforce using these skills beyond the workshop.

Join us Tuesday, October 4, 2022 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. or 3 – 6 p.m. EST

RSVP: https://bit.ly/3U4eHT1

ADVANCE Weekly Roundup: Aligning our behaviors, systems, and practices with our values to create climates that cultivate high social belonging

The climate or community that we create within our classroom and within our academic units can profoundly impact how individuals perform within those settings.  This recent study in the Journal of Chemical Education determined that students’ social belonging in a general chemistry course could predict academic performance in that course. Social belonging included both an absolute sense of belonging and an uncertainty with that belonging. Further, that social belonging differed across demographics (gender was a strong difference). High sense of social belonging correlates with positive perceptions of climate, which is also true at the faculty and staff levels.

This recent article notes that “culture is often referred to as “the way things are done around here.” The article further notes that behaviors, systems, and practices – the three elements of culture – are all guided by an overarching set of values. It can be valuable to remember that individuals are drawn to espoused values when selecting an institution; when behaviors, systems, and practices do not align with espoused values, those individuals do not perceive a high sense of social belonging and will select themselves out.  Thus, for us to retain our diverse talent at the student, faculty and staff levels, we can each carefully reflect upon, and change, our behaviors, systems, and practices to be consistent with our values.  

Today’s feature was shared with us by the ADVANCE team. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.

EEOC and Caregiver Employment Discrimination

From the EEOC Newsroom: EEOC Releases Information about Employment Discrimination Against Caregivers.
Although this article references COVID-19 situations specifically, discrimination based on a protected characteristics is always prohibited by federal and state laws/regulations. ADVANCE has written about the impacts COVID has had on caregivers in STEM. Articles of particular note are from July 31, 2020, March 10, 2021, and November 12, 2021. Michigan Tech’s Equal Opportunity Compliance and Title IX Office has a lot of resources available including the Protected Class Groups web page, the Equal Opportunity and Notice of Non-Discrimination web page, and lists of the federal/state laws and Michigan Tech policies. If you have any questions, please visit their website.

ADVANCE Roundup: Institutional Ideas for Responding to Faculty Exhaustion and Demoralization

Although the early years of the pandemic are behind us, and we are beginning to adjust to a “new normal” in our classrooms, labs, and professional activities, faculty continue to report feeling exhausted and over-stressed. Two recent essays in Inside Higher Ed suggest unique institutional responses: a “Chapter 11” work relief declaration and a return to values and workload equity redesign. The Chapter 11 suggestion was made by an anonymous faculty caregiver overwhelmed by unrelenting teaching and academic demands that she could not fulfill following an official two-week hiatus necessitated by her child’s health crisis. This was not simply a personal problem; she argues that faculty are “like lemmings walking off a cliff of overwork” with the requirements for career advancement ever-increasing, an expansion of committee and administrative tasks, and constant pivots, instructional up-dates, and altered expectations for teaching. The author proposes a “Chapter 11” for faculty that would allow overwhelmed colleagues to step away from some of these responsibilities. Too often, we just watch each other struggle. 

In the other article, Doug Lederman describes a state of faculty “demoralization” characterized by detachment, cynicism, and dissatisfaction, provoked by a discrepancy between espoused values like equity, care, and deep learning and enacted values that tend more to system preservation and economic goals. Added to this is the realization that a faculty career is changing given current and future constraints—less job security, more surveillance and accountability, diminished institutional flexibility, a paucity of faculty resources. Instead, a mythic ideal is upheld as a standard for faculty performance requiring constant availability, unquestioning loyalty, no caregiving distractions, and bodies that never falter.

There is considerable evidence that experiences of exhaustion and demoralization often jeopardize the progress of women caregivers in STEM, especially those with children (see, for example, these two recent publications–”Preventing a Secondary Epidemic of Lost Scientists” and “Voices of Untenured Female Professors in STEM”). Lederman argues that these issues impact recruitment and retention, undermining institutional goals of faculty equity and diversity and points out that campus culture has a critical impact on institutional competitiveness both for talent and institutional reputation. He urges university leadership to gather data on workplace conditions (note the ADVANCE AFEQT tool), measure workload inequities, update systems of reward and accountability, and reconfigure administrative systems to uphold core cultural values. We hope that innovative responses like a faculty “Chapter 11” or institutional reconfigurations around deep values can catalyze a shift in the culture of academe toward more humane priorities and an institutional redesign that is more inclusively responsive.

Today’s feature was shared with us by Dr. Jennifer Slack (IPEC, Humanities) and the ADVANCE PI team. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.

ADVANCE Weekly Roundup: Women do a majority of office ‘housework’; Women of Color do a majority of DEI in Tech and Engineering

This article compares workload distributions among faculty in Tech and Engineering. It documents that women do more of the work to keep things running smoothly, often referred to as office “housework.” Such work rarely earns formal credit or recognition. In technology fields, women of color report that they are asked to lead HR or DEI efforts they were not originally hired to conduct, yet this work isn’t compensated or recognized as promotion-worthy. This has been termed the “minority tax.”

Further, in the report from the Center for WorkLife Law & Society of Women Engineers, women of color more strongly than White women report being shut out of creative work without access to desirable assignments. In Engineering, the authors found that 26% of White men but 55% of women of color report doing more of the undervalued work than their colleagues of comparable seniority and experience. In addition, 61% of White men, but less than half of women of color, report they were more likely than their peers to be assigned to high-profile tasks or teams.

Navigating the minority tax makes workplace climates challenging because speaking up about the workload distribution often induces racial and gender stereotypes around ‘being difficult.’ Increasing awareness of these tendencies can empower colleagues to consciously work to create more equitable workloads ranging from DEI efforts to office tasks. Please feel free to seek guidance and just in time strategies from the ADVANCE Advocates Team.

Today’s feature was shared with us by the ADVANCE PIs. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.

ADVANCE Weekly Roundup: When All Faculty Do DEIS Work

A common problem on college campuses is that the people who most often choose to participate in workshops, trainings, committees, mentorships and other programs aimed at improving diversity, equity, inclusion, and sense of belonging (DEIS) are those same people that are already committed to such efforts. So, participants can feel they’re in an echo chamber, while those who know the least about campus inequalities, how they play out, how they themselves might be contributing to problems, or how to improve inclusion are the least likely to participate. Recognizing that DEIS impacts all of us and is everyone’s responsibility, some universities are beginning to require that all faculty contribute to DEIS in some capacity.

As described in this article, the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana recently announced they will require all faculty members to submit statements on diversity contributions in promotion and tenure decisions. The goals are to provide a clear place for recognizing DEIS work in the promotion and tenure process and to incentivize faculty across campus to contribute to campus diversity efforts in some way. The various ways faculty might contribute are flexible: through teaching, research, or service, in order to make academia more welcoming, inclusive, and supportive of all students, faculty, and staff. How might Michigan Tech recognize and incentivize faculty efforts to promote diversity, equity, inclusion and sense of belonging?

Today’s feature was shared with us by the Advocates and Allies Advisory Board. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.

ADVANCE Weekly Roundup: Make feedback matter – steps to achieve high performance and retention

How and why do supervisors provide feedback? How does feedback influence retention? These questions are posed in this week’s Roundup article. While it focuses on the corporate world, the discussion also applies to the academic environment. Feedback is intended to help faculty, staff, and students improve performance, but the article notes that, “Telling people they are missing the mark is not the same as helping them hit the mark.” Just conveying negative feedback reduces engagement, so supervisors of faculty, staff, and students can build a culture of high performance by shifting from critic to ally.

The article recommends four steps. The first is to communicate by listening and empathizing with the challenge, expressing confidence in the person’s ability to prevail, and then asking to partner with them on brainstorming strategies. Steps 2 through 4 frame outcomes through actions. Partnering as an ally centers the faculty, staff, or student employee in the plan while supervisor management aligns resources and collaboratively develops strategies to help the employee grow. Using these strategies increases communication, morale, and helps position all individuals to succeed at their highest level of performance.

Today’s feature was shared with us by the ADVANCE PIs. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. These articles are available on the ADVANCE Newsblog (https://blogs.mtu.edu/advance/). To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.

ADVANCE Weekly Roundup: Chicken or the Egg: Is pay in a field low because women enter it or because women tend to prefer lower paying jobs?

We recently acknowledged March 15th as equal pay day, the date when women’s pay for the prior year finally equals what men earned. In other words, women must work 2-½ months longer to make the same amount and Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous women have to work even longer. Why? A popular explanation is that women are attracted to lower paying fields. This is a logical fallacy. Research in 2016 found that “when women moved into occupations in large numbers, those jobs began paying less even after controlling for education, work experience, skills, race, and geography.” These include STEM fields, such as biology.

Conversely, as fields attract more men, pay increases and the field gains prestige (e.g. computer programming) as noted in this and another extensive analysis. In academia, as women increased from 14% to 42% of faculty, the average salaries of new assistant professors fell by 8% in that field according to England et al 2007. Additional research has tracked attitudes, showing that as the number of women increases in a field, that field becomes labeled as “soft” (Summary, Light 2022) and “men become markedly less interested in pursuing a career in that field of study” (England 2007). This research culminates in “substantial evidence that employers placed a lower value on work done by women.” At Tech, we can counter this pervasive societal gender bias by directly examining how we value (with communication, recognition, and compensation) the work of our talented women faculty.

Today’s feature was shared with us by the ADVANCE PI team. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.

ADVANCE Weekly Roundup: Association of Women in Science responds to the resignation of the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy: Ignoring or disregarding complaints harms climate.

The Association of Women in Science (AWIS) recently issued this statement in response to a high level director’s resignation from a key government STEM office. Their statement calls out an ongoing pattern (both at the national and local level) of institutional negligence in which organizational leaders have regularly failed to proactively respond to practices of discrimination, harassment, and bullying in a timely manner. They instead dismiss the importance or impact of discriminatory events leading to a public perception that nothing is being addressed, a perception that demoralizes institutional climate. Vetting candidates for leadership should include careful assessment of these issues. If issues arise after hire, proactive responses are important; organizations must enforce a zero tolerance policy for bullying and harassment. The AWIS statement repeats a common example in which BIPOC faculty are frequently mistaken for a staff occupational identity and we note that this example itself perpetuates inequity, both for those faculty and for those whose occupation is implicitly disparaged. Routing out the systemic patterns of discrimination that have become commomplace is difficult and requires vigilance and a demonstrated commitment to zero tolerance. 

Today’s feature was shared with us by the ADVANCE Team. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.

When Bad Behavior Becomes Sexual Harassment

by Institutional Equity

Sexual harassment is no joke. This topic is no longer off-limits, and allegations are being taken more seriously than ever before. But when does behavior cross from bad to unprofessional to sexual harassment? Is sexual harassment only egregious acts of physical touching or fondling? Does the behavior have to occur more than once before it becomes sexual harassment?

So often, recipients of sexual harassment talk themselves into believing it’s not a big deal with thoughts like this:

  • “Don’t be so sensitive. It’s just a joke.”
  • “That is a really nice skirt. Can’t you take a compliment?”
  • “Is it really that bad if they’re looking at you? Who doesn’t like attention?”
  • “Why do they have to hug me? I guess that’s just what they do.”
  • “The comments are not directed toward me, so I should mind my own business.”

Jokes, comments and actions can be harmful. Don’t justify someone else’s actions. What matters is the impact of their actions. When someone else’s behavior affects you to the point that it interferes with your employment and programs associated with employment, that is the point at which the behavior needs to be addressed.

Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex, including verbal, physical, written and visual forms. Employees are encouraged to seek assistance as early as possible to prevent the harassment from continuing and possibly becoming more serious. Whether you are reporting harassment directed at yourself, another employee or a student, the key is to report the incident(s) so any harm can be remedied, the appropriate University personnel can respond and University procedures are followed.

Don’t suffer in silence. There are multiple resources, so choose the one that best meets your needs: