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Advancing Women in Academic STEM Fields Through Dual Career Policies and Practices


reviewed by Dianna R. Mullet - April 11, 2019

coverTitle: Advancing Women in Academic STEM Fields Through Dual Career Policies and Practices
Author(s): Marci R. McMahon, Marie T. Mora, & Ala R. Qubbaj (Eds.)
Publisher: Information Age Publishing, Charlotte
ISBN: 1641132426, Pages: 168, Year: 2018
Search for book at Amazon.com


Underrepresentation of women among university faculty in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines remains an issue, particularly for women in advanced academic ranks or from underrepresented groups. Over the last decade, attention has turned to dual career hiring and its potential for recruiting, retaining, and advancing women faculty. Dual career hiring has attracted intense interest from funding agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institute of Health (NIH).


Advancing Women in Academic STEM Fields Through Dual Career Policies and Practices presents the argument that, in order to recruit, retain, and advance women faculty in STEM disciplines, academic institutions must incorporate initiatives aimed at improving work-life balance. Particularly important are dual career initiatives that concentrate on the needs of women in STEM. Despite interest and growth in dual career programming, there is relatively little literature focused on increasing and diversifying female STEM faculty through dual career initiatives. This volume addresses the gap by providing a comprehensive review of research findings, a collection of lessons learned from dual career hiring programs, and a summary of evidence-based best practices for dual career hiring. Importantly, the volume expands and enriches existing discourses by embracing an intersectional perspective on dual career hiring. In particular, the book provides findings and models from new dual career programs, including programs that recognize the intersectional identities that exist among underrepresented women, particularly Latinas.


Intended for current or aspiring administrators of dual career programs, the volume’s higher goal is to expand the dual career discourse to include the perspectives of Latinas and women of other demographic groups underrepresented in STEM. The editors are colleagues at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), a bicultural and biliterate university on the US-Mexico border in South Texas and one of the largest Hispanic-serving institutions in the nation.


The concise 152-page volume provides information from dual career experts on how dual career issues affect women faculty’s progression. The volume, divided into three parts, begins by reviewing the recent development of dual career hiring initiatives and ends with a description of research findings and case studies of recently implemented dual career programs that focus specifically on diversity and intersectionality.


Part One provides an overview of scholarship on dual career programming and emphasizes the need for dual career programming as a means of recruiting and retaining women in STEM. Part Two describes successful strategies and specific case studies of dual career hiring initiatives at institutions throughout the United States, including NSF ADVANCE programs at the University of Maine, Texas A&M University, and the Tech Valley Connect consortium at Rensselaer Technical University. Notably, the chapters in Part Two point out that not all women academics have academic partners and also call attention to the need for dual career hiring to accommodate non-academic partners. Drawing on the experiences of Tech Valley Connect, the section illustrates the value of extending dual career initiatives beyond the academic sector to better serve women with non-academic partners. Of interest in this section is an examination of dual hiring practices in geographically isolated contexts, supported by dual career experiences at the University of Maine and Texas A&M University. The section ends with discussions of the myths, realities, and challenges of dual career hiring.


Part Three is intended to assist institutions with increasing numbers of women, Latinas, and other groups underrepresented among STEM faculty. With its focus on Latinas in STEM, Part Three highlights the importance of intersectional identities that exist among academic women in STEM. The chapters describe dual career hiring initiatives at several Hispanic-serving institutions: University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, and the University of California, Davis.


Research on work-life integration over the past decade has focused primarily on women’s gender inequality while neglecting the fact that recruitment and retention may not be the same for all groups of women. In contrast, this volume adopts a positive, work-life balance approach based on mentoring and institutional supports, rather than one that places the burden entirely on the woman. Literature, research findings, and case studies presented in the book are very recent and illustrated with real-world examples and quality sources. Repetition of background material is one problem with the work, but that weakness is far outweighed by its strengths.


The book is a timely and valuable source of guidance for institutions looking to develop or improve existing dual career programs in order to recruit and advance diverse, high-quality faculty members. Readers will also gain a more complete understanding of contextual and intersectional issues involved in dual career programming. This is a book I will use in my own work and will recommend to my colleagues and administrators.

 

 





Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: April 11, 2019
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 22758, Date Accessed: 1/29/2022 12:18:30 AM

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About the Author
  • Dianna Mullet
    Navajo Technical University
    E-mail Author
    DIANNA R. MULLET, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Psychology and Program Advisor for the Counselor Education Program at Navajo Technical University. Her research focuses on culturally relevant approaches to creativity and talent development in higher education, particularly in science and technology. She recently published Developing Creativity in the Classroom: Learning and Innovation for 21st-Century Schools, a guide for fostering creative thinking across the curriculum.
 
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