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Last week two $600,000 grants were awarded in Southern California by the National Science Foundation to increase the number of female professors, particularly females of minority origin, in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. UC Riverside and the University of San Diego received funds to support the AFFIRM program - Advancement of Female Faculty: Institutional climate, Recruitment and Mentoring.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to become a model for undergraduate institutions that want to increase their diversity and provide a supportive environment for female faculty,” said Mary Boyd, dean of USD’s College of Arts and Sciences, in a press release announcing the grants.

While women earn about 40 percent of degrees in these fields, male professors outnumber females 2-to-1 nationwide. Only ten percent of faculty, including males and females, are African American, Hispanic, or Native American.

Critics, however, argue that the money at USD might be misplaced. Mark Perry, a University of Michigan professor of economics and finance writing for Daily Markets, points out that the USD president, provost, VP for Student Affairs, and three deans of affected fields (Math and Computer Science, Chemistry, and Sociology), are female. 28 of the 58 faculty in these fields (also including Biology and Environmental Studies), or 48%, are also female, Perry says. He also argues that the school of Nursing and Health Science should be considered in the sciences, claiming 96.5% of USD’s faculty there is comprised of women.

Boyd says USD “has made some progress in these areas but there is much more we can do.” By the university’s count, 41% of professors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are women, but only five of them are “female professors of color.”

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Comments

Joaquin_de_la_Mesa Sept. 20, 2011 @ 10:31 a.m.

When is our government going to get out of the race business? We'll never move past racism while stupid race-based social engineering projects like this persist.

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