Diana Meyers: Distinguished Woman Philosopher 2012

The Society for Women in Philosophy is happy to announce that the winner of the 2012 Distinguished Woman Philosopher Award is Diana Meyers (Loyola University).

Diana Meyers has contributed original and innovative thought to philosophy and feminism for decades, providing new ways to conceptualize autonomy, victimhood, and human rights. Merging philosophy, politics, and personal identity, Meyers’s work has inspired many to strive for personal authenticity, while remaining philosophically rigorous. We applaud her tireless efforts to raise the visibility of women in philosophy through numerous editorial projects, including her editing involvement in Hypatia, and the APA Newsletter on Feminism and Philosophy; we similarly applaud her efforts to change the general status of women in philosophy through participation in SWIP, FEAST, the APA Committee on the Status of Women, and others. Most particularly impressive, however, is the dedication Dr. Meyers has shown to mentoring and assisting students; we received many letters from students and former students who gained inspiration and direct assistance from Dr. Meyers.

There will be a panel and reception celebrating Dr. Meyers at the 2012 Eastern APA

Congraulations, Diana Meyers!!

Associate professors less happy

In “Unhappy Associate Professors,” Scott Jaschik (Inside Higher Ed) tells us that, “The preliminary results of a national survey of professors by the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education, at Harvard University, has found that in most measures, associate professors have lower job satisfaction levels than both assistant and full professors do.”

The survey of 13,510 faculty members at 69 American four-year institutions (public and private) during the 2011-12 academic year did not include adjunct professors and we can presume that the adjuncts really would be the least happy of all.

One obvious issue is the length of time one spends at the rank of associate. Unlike the rank of assistant professor, there isn’t a limit as to how long you can remain an associate. Indeed one university I know had a culture of thinking of associate as the ‘career rank’ with the idea that there is no shame in not reaching full, which was seen as a research honour. One might expect that recently minted associate professors start out happy and that the satisfaction with work declines with years spent at that rank.

The article raises the issue of whether the happiness gap is gendered:

“Some of the work that has been done by others on associate professors points to gender as a key issue. A 2009 report, “Standing Still,” by the Modern Language Association, found that English and foreign language departments promote male associate professors to full professors on average at least a year — and in some cases, depending on type of institutions, several years — more speedily than they promote women. Over all, the average time for women as associate professor prior to promotion is 8.2 years, compared to 6.6 years for men.”

The promotion to associate usually happens with tenure and there is a fixed deadline at most institutions, while many universities require or expect a faculty member to put himself or herself forward for promotion to full. I have wondered whether this needing to put yourself forward results in a difference between men and women in the time for promotion to full professor.

I’d be curious too how this plays out in university systems around the world with a different set of academic ranks.