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Monthly Archives: October 2011


Students and Faculty Studying Conservative Movements Win Chancellor’s Interdisciplinary Collaboratories Research Grant

Sociology graduate students Kate Wood and Ian Mullins, along with Communication Department graduate student Muni Citrin and History Department graduate student Ryan Reft, have been awarded generous funding through the UCSD Chancellor’s Interdisciplinary Collaboratories Initiative. The students will work with professors Amy Binder, Isaac Martin, Robert Horwitz, and Nayan Shah, representing the social sciences and the humanities. Building on a successful interdisciplinary Workshop for the Study of Conservative Movements and Conservatism established at UCSD in 2008, the funded research has two aims: First, to describe the plurality and diversity of conservative movements in the twentieth and twenty-first century U.S. and, second, to develop a shared intellectual framework that can make sense of this diversity without reducing American conservatism to a single tradition or essential trait. This shared framework will contribute to how scholars in the humanities and social sciences understand the rise of the American right as a defining event of the late twentieth century.


NSF award for the project, “Divergent Trajectories: A longitudinal study of organizational and departmental factors leading to gender and race differences in STEM faculty advancement, pay, and persistence.”

The Center for the Research of Gender in the Professions (CRGP) PI Professor Mary Blair-Loy  and Co-PIs Jeanne Ferrante (UCSD Faculty Equity AVC and Associate Dean, Jacobs School of Engineering) and Erin Cech (Stanford University) have received a five-year NSF award for the project, “Divergent Trajectories: A longitudinal study of organizational and departmental factors leading to gender and race differences in STEM faculty advancement, pay, and persistence.” This is the first major grant housed at the Center for Research on Gender in the Professions.

This is a five-year, multi-method, longitudinal study of the factors, characterizing individual faculty or located within their departments and disciplines, which can lead to differential treatment of women, racial/ethnic minority, and LGB faculty.  These factors can accumulate over time into larger disadvantages in career outcomes such as productivity, pay, advancement, and job satisfaction.   The research will shed light on how processes of accumulated advantage and disadvantage actually unfold and how departmental and disciplinary cultures, networks, and demography affect these processes.

The process of writing this grant was a UCSD community effort.  Prof. Mary Blair-Loy, Erin Cech (then a Sociology grad student), and Jeanne Ferrante wrote the proposal, drawing on previous research assistance from Sociology grad student Jon Shafran.  They received intelligence from STEM faculty on the challenges they face. They received expert advice on methods from Dept. of Sociology Professor, Akos Rona-Tas and former Sociology faculty, Maria Charles.  Dept. of Sociology Professor David Fitzgerald strategized on budgets.  Tanya Pohlson, Sociology fiscal manager, handled the budget creation, revision, and multiple re-revisions.  An early draft of the proposal was candidly and thoroughly edited by Sociology grad student, Kate Wood, which improved its clarity.

Now the project is going forward thanks to more UCSD talent, including Sociology grad students, Erica Bender and Melissann Herron as research assistants, Prof. Akos Rona-Tas as internal evaluator, Prof. Bob Bitmead (Engineering and former AVC Academic Personnel) leading the study of academic productivity.  Other important members of the research team include  Mandy Bratton (Jacobs School), Angela Song (Business Affairs), and the UCSD Directors of the LGBT Resource Center, Shaun Travers, the Cross-Cultural Center, Edwina Welch, and the Women’s Center, Marnie Brokolo.   Internal Advisory Committee of STEM faculty and senior administrators: Robert Continetti (Chemistry),  Lisa Levin (SIO),  Gabriele Wienhausen (Biology), and Kim Barrett (Dean of Graduate Studies) will provide counsel and critique.  They also have a high-caliber team of social scientists as external advisors – Shelley Correll (Stanford), Amy Wharton (Washington State), and Maria Charles (UCSB).

Erin Cech first author of article in American Sociological Review

Recent Sociology graduate student Erin Cech is the first author of just-published article in the American Sociological Review, one of the two top general-interest journals in the discipline. This article uses the same panel data set Dr. Cech analyzed for her dissertation.  This is a tremendous accomplishment.  Erin is now a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University.

Erin Cech, Brian Rubineau, Susan Silbey, and Caroll Seron. 2011. “Professional Role Confidence and Gendered Persistence in Engineering.” American Sociological Review October 2011; 76 (5): 641-666.  http://asr.sagepub.com/content/current


Social psychological research on gendered persistence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions is dominated by two explanations: women leave because they perceive their family plans to be at odds with demands of STEM careers, and women leave due to low self-assessment of their skills in STEM’s intellectual tasks, net of their performance. This study uses original panel data to examine behavioral and intentional persistence among students who enter an engineering major in college. Surprisingly, family plans do not contribute to women’s attrition during college but are negatively associated with men’s intentions to pursue an engineering career. Additionally, math self-assessment does not predict behavioral or intentional persistence once students enroll in a STEM major. This study introduces professional role confidence—individuals’ confidence in their ability to successfully fulfill the roles, competencies, and identity features of a profession—and argues that women’s lack of this confidence, compared to men, reduces their likelihood of remaining in engineering majors and careers. We find that professional role confidence predicts behavioral and intentional persistence, and that women’s relative lack of this confidence contributes to their attrition