Faculty Senate to discuss study of gender, career satisfaction in STEM

By Jackie Nevarez

Faculty and administrators will present their research on career satisfaction and gender in science, technology, engineering and mathematics faculty at today’s Faculty Senate meeting.

Chris McCord, principal investigator and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences dean, said the presentation has been given to the Council of Deans, the leadership of NIU’s colleges. The presenters will discuss the results of a study conducted in 2010-2011 to understand what NIU can do to improve the status of opportunities for women in science.

The study analyzed a work-life survey given to faculty in Liberal Arts and Sciences and Engineering and Engineering Technology, gathering information from 121 people. Of the 121, 49 were female, 66 were male and 16 did not report a gender. The study was conducted with the help of a grant from the National Science Foundation.

“We started with the question of, ‘What drives workplace or job satisfaction?’ and we started with that because there is a lot of literature that suggests that, particularly for very self-motivated roles, … job satisfaction is really an indicator of job success,” McCord said.

The study focuses on what factors promote job satisfaction. The research concluded an active role in controlling one’s environment and working toward one’s future, as well as a sense of respect of others, were key findings to job satisfaction, McCord said.

“The funding was about women in STEM. The findings were really more broad than that and they really speak to these issues of what promotes job satisfaction, broadly across the faculty,” McCord said. “People who are satisfied with what they are doing are likely to do well.”

Other business

A second reading of a revision to the Faculty Senate Bylaws to adjust the individuals who serve the evaluation committee for faculty and supportive professional staff personnel adviser and the Faculty Senate president/University Council executive secretary will be held.

A report on NIU Progressive Learning in Undergraduate Studies, a general education reform program, will be given. NIU PLUS would decrease the credit hours needed to fulfill general education requirements, allow credit earned in other courses to fulfill general education and major requirements and allow certain extra co-curricular activities to appear on students’ transcripts.

Brandon Phillips, NIU PLUS task force member; Anne Birberick, vice provost of Academic Affairs; and general education coordinator Michael Kolb gave a presentation on NIU PLUS to the Student Association Senate Sunday. The senators passed a resolution in support of the program.