Female faculty overall, submitted fewer proposals
and had fewer proposals funded than their male counterparts.
Research, including grant writing, has become an important aspect
of promotion and tenure at most institutions of higher education,
including comprehensive universities and liberal art colleges (Daniel
& Gallaher, 1990). As this requirement for research increases,
so does the need for external funding from public and private sources.
Meeting the challenges of successfully competing for shrinking research
dollars requires a high level of skills in grant writing, and has
proved to be challenging for some women faculty. As women faculty
advance through the academy, several disparities exist between them
and their male colleagues. Specifically, research has shown that
when compared to male faculty, women faculty do not advance through
the academy as quickly (Hall & Sander, 1986); prefer teaching
instead of research (Armour, 1990); spend more time teaching than
engaging in research, but some prefer to allocate more time to research
like their male colleagues (Finkelstein, Seal, & Schuster, 1996).
Additionally, female faculty tend to be untenured (Armour, 1990),
and do not conduct research to the extent of their male counterparts
(Bentley, 1990), including grant writing.
Additionally, despite some advances women have made in the academy,
male faculty still outnumber women in research institutions. Research
conducted by Finkelstein, et al. (1996) found that female junior
faculty made up 41% of the faculty population compared with only
28% of senior female faculty nationwide; 33% of new hires at doctoral
institutions are women. After controlling for gender, junior and
senior female faculty are more likely to be in non-tenure track
positions than their male counterparts; 46% of full-time female
faculty at research institutions have been there for seven years
or less (Finkelstein et al., 1996).
One cannot address the issue of gender disparities in funded grants
and without discussing the effect it has on publication and eventually
promotion of faculty. Finkelstein et al. (1996) asserted that males
are more likely than females to be involved in research and publication.
However, explanations are unclear as to why these differences exist
(Bentley, 1990). Bentley (1990) speculated that the differences
are related to the fact that few women are not concentrated in research
institutions. While Davis & Astin (1987) contended that the
differences exist in the type of publications and not quantity or
quality of work.
Other research suggests that faculty members' beliefs about themselves
affect their research endeavors. For example, Taylor, Locke, Lee,
and Gist (1984) argued that research self-efficacy (self-perception
in one's ability to successfully perform research) is related to
faculty research productivity. Self-efficacy, as defined by Vasil
(1992), is the perception faculty possess in their ability to successfully
perform research or the belief that faculty possess certain skills
and they are able to utilize them in a particular situation (Landino
& Owen, 1988). Moreover, women faculty with self-competence,
belief that if one possess the necessary research skills, do publish;
faculty who did not have self-competence published little (Bentley
& Blackburn, 1992).
The present study is an effort to understand differences in research,
more specifically grant writing, among faculty members at Association
of American Universities (AAU) 'Research I' institutions as classified
by Carnegie. More specifically, the focus of this research concentrates
on factors that motivate and hinder faculty in their pursuit of
grant proposals. The question guiding this research is: "Are
there any differences in the factors that motivate and hinder faculty
in their pursuit of grants when gender is considered?"
Procedure and Study Participants
A list of AAU 'Research I' faculty members were obtained from sources
such as the Peterson's Guide to Business, Education, Health &
Law and the internet. The names of the faculty were placed in
alphabetical order and numbered. Then faculty were randomly selected
utilizing random numbers generated from SAS. Addresses of the faculty
were obtained via the internet from faculty respective institutions'
A questionnaire was mailed to 370 College of Education faculty.
A sample of 248 (67%) usable surveys were completed and returned.
The sample, identified through a systematic random selection of
names of AAU faculty, was designed to have a confidence level of
90% with a margin of error =.05.
Questionnaire and Data Analysis
The questionnaire was developed based on instruments utilized by
Monahan (1993) and Dooley (1995) as well as a review of the related
literature. As shown in Tables 1 and 2, the questionnaire assessed
15 items for both motivating and hindering factors. Chi-square test
of independence was utilized to answer the research question, "Are
there any differences in the factors that motivate and hinder faculty
in their pursuit of grants when gender is considered?"
Of the AAU faculty responding to the questionnaire, 141 (57.3%)
were males and 105 (42.7%) were females. The study participants
include, 143 (58.1%) full professors, 58 (23.6%) associate professors,
and 45 (18.3%) assistant professors; 191 (77.6%) of the respondents
were tenured professors and 55 (22.4%) were untenured professors.
The women faculty comprises of, 38 (36%) full professors, 35 (34%)
associate professors, and 31 (30%) assistant professors. The male
faculty represents, 103 (74%) full professors, 23 (16%) associate
professors, and 14 (10%) assistant professors.
As shown in Table 1,
comparison of female and male faculty revealed the following significant
motivating factors for female faculty, "consideration in tenure
or promotion decisions" (c2 =8.072, df=3; p<.05);
"having access to boilerplates" (c2 =13.862, df=3;
p<.01); and "building my professional reputation as a capable
researcher" (c2 =13.862, df=3; p<.01).
Significant differences by gender were also found in the following
barriers to grant writing. The barriers were, "inadequate support
available to submit a proposal in a timely manner" (c2 =11.137,
df=3; p<.01); "lack of training in grant seeking
and grant writing" (c2 =9.926, df=3; p<.05); "too
time consuming" (c2 =8.912, df=3; p<.05) were all
found to be significant when compared to the gender of faculty (Table
Regarding submitting proposals for funding, the results show virtually
no differences between female (10%) and male (8%) faculty who did
not submit proposal for funding. When one to three research proposals
were submitted for funding, female faculty (47%) submitted proposal
at a higher percentage than male faculty (37%), while male faculty
(54%) tend to submit four or more research proposals at higher percentage
than female faculty (42%) (Table 3). In this study, female faculty
(23%) have a higher percentage of proposals that were not funded
than male faculty (16%). When one to three proposals were funded,
female faculty (59%) have a slightly higher percentage than male
faculty (56%). When four or more proposals were funded, male faculty
(27%) have a slightly higher percentage than female faculty (18%)
(Table 4). Tables 3 and 4 are based
on proposals submitted or funded from the previous five years.
This research indicates that there is a significant gender difference
in factors that motivate and hinder faculty in grant writing. Also,
the results of this study suggest gender differences in the number
of proposals submitted and funded. Female faculty reported lacking
the necessary training to pursue grants. In fact, the lack of training
was a main factor that influenced the decision of the female faculty
not to pursue grants. In most cases, women faculty were not knowledgeable
about how to initiate the process of grant writing which accounts
for fewer proposals being submitted. These findings hold important
implications for university administrators who are interested in
assisting their women faculty in successfully competing for limited
Therefore, once faculty members are hired, university administrators
play a major role in their success when pursuing grants. If the
goals of university administrators are to support and facilitate
success of women faculty, more emphasis should be placed on providing
adequate training and mentorship to them. This notice is supported
by the work of Teague (1981) who proposed a collaborative effort
between female faculty and those with knowledge of proposal writing.
It is recommended that universities implement faculty development
program with sessions on identifying appropriate funding sources
and techniques in writing successful grants.
Previous studies have found male faculty more involved in research
and publication. The findings of this study are inconsistent with
results of previous research. For this study, female faculty overall,
submitted fewer proposals and had fewer proposals funded than their
male counterparts (Table 3 and
Table 4). However, there are some
female faculty who submitted four or more proposals and had four
or more proposals funded.
Universities judge themselves and are judged by others based on
research productivity (Fulton & Trow, 1974) and the dollar amount
of grants acquired (Geiger, 1986). Since universities are competitive,
goals for the faculty are to seek prestige for their particular
institution and themselves. For faculty who seek opportunities to
build their professional reputations as capable researchers, incentives
must be individualized which will motivate them in making "a
name for themselves," their universities, and contribute to
their area of research interest when grants are funded. It is imperative
that these motivators and barriers be taken into account if women
faculty at AAU 'Research I' institutions will have an equal chance
of succeeding in the academy. However, it is important to note a
potential limitation to this study is the results are based on faculty
in colleges of education at AAU 'Research I' institutions and thus
it is unclear if the results can be generalized to faculty from
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- Dr. Patricia Boyer is an Institutional Researcher
at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
- Dr. Irv Cockriel is the Associate Dean and
Director of Grants & Contracts Support Office at the University
Dr. Boyer and Dr. Cockriel would like to thank Dr. Cherrie B.
Boyer for her helpful comments on this manuscript.
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