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Into the Light: Diffusing Ccontroversy and Increasing Transparency in the Faculty Salary Equity Study Process

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Technical Session - Retaining and Developing Women Faculty

Tagged Divisions

Women in Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy

Tagged Topics

ASEE Diversity Committee and Engineering Deans Council

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Paper Authors


Carol Elizabeth Marchetti Rochester Institute of Technology (COE)

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Dr. Carol Marchetti is an Associate Professor of Statistics at Rochester Institute of Technology, where she teaches introductory and advanced undergraduate statistics courses and conducts research in statistics education, deaf education, and team work. She is a co-PI on RIT's NSF ADVANCE IT project, Connect@RIT, and leads grant activities in the Human Resources strategic approach area.

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Margaret B. Bailey P.E. Rochester Institute of Technology (COE)

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Professor Margaret Bailey, Ph.D., P.E. is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering within the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, Rochester Institute of Technology. Dr. Bailey teaches courses and conducts research related to Thermodynamics, engineering and public policy, engineering education, and gender in engineering and science. She is the co-author on an engineering textbook, Fundamentals of Engineering Thermodynamics, which is used worldwide in over 250 institutions. Dr. Bailey is the Principal Investigator (PI) for the RIT NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation grant. The goal of this large-scale ($3.4M), multi-year university-level organizational transformation effort is to increase the representation and advancement of women STEM faculty. At the university level, she serves as Senior Faculty Associate to the Provost for ADVANCE and co-chairs the President’s Commission on Women.

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Women are underrepresented in most science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines within academe and the workforce. In response, the National Science Foundation launched the ADVANCE grant program in the early 2000’s to fund efforts which increase the representation of women STEM faculty and academic leaders. Many of the grants funded to date support large-scale comprehensive institutional transformation (IT) projects. In 2012, a large private technical university received an NSF ADVANCE IT grant and set out to strategically launch several initiatives aimed at increasing the representation and advancement of women STEM faculty by removing barriers to resources that support career success and by creating new interventions and resources (NSF ADVANCE xxxxxxx).

This paper reports on one of the initiatives within the overall institutional transformation plan which focuses on a salary gender equity study for pre-tenured and tenured faculty, conducted in a manner in which stakeholders would ideally have a high-level of confidence in its results. A cross-university Resource Allocation Committee (RAC) was created, comprised of administrators and faculty with expertise in statistical analysis, faculty hiring and evaluation processes, institutional data, and gender equity considerations. By providing an inclusive framework for faculty and administrators in the form of a collaborative committee, the grant team aims to increase transparency in the salary equity study process and promote internal dissemination of the methodology used and results observed. This approach has the potential to positively impact faculty perceptions of distributive justice as well as those of procedural justice.

Formation of such a committee is critical to its success: all stakeholders are represented, the group is sized and comprised to minimize risk and maximize transparency, and leaders promote discussion and consensus. This paper demonstrates how the committee framework was able to bridge differences in perspective, address concerns, and serve as a model for sensitive work within the university. Related occurrences of institutional transparency, concurrent with the work of the RAC, will also be discussed.

Marchetti, C. E., & Bailey, M. B. (2016, June), Into the Light: Diffusing Ccontroversy and Increasing Transparency in the Faculty Salary Equity Study Process Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25450

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