Gender gap in faculty decreases slightly with addition of four female staff members

by Kelli Herzberg

Four new female faculty members have been added to the roster of professors, addressing an important issue at Simpson – female to male faculty ratio.

Thirty-eight percent of the faculty are women. Out of 87 total faculty members, that adds up to 33 women.

Bruce Haddox, vice president of academic affairs, said this rise in female faculty is about equality.

“I am not happy with 38 percent,” Haddox said. “My personal goal would be 50 percent; it’s frustrating. However, it used to be 30 percent; it is getting closer to 40 percent. That’s an improvement.”

Junior Ben Sweet wants Simpson to strive for equality within the faculty.

“Equality is on the rise,” Sweet said. “As long as the [gender ratio] is similar to equal, I’m happy. However, if it is straying from equality, a problem is presented.”

In addition to equality, Simpson is working to strengthen their academic perspectives and enrich the curriculum.

“We are always trying to strengthen our academic program,” Haddox said. “Looking at a women’s or a minority’s perspective is an important way to do just that. They have a different slant I as a man may not have thought about. I can learn from that. In every area of academia, the curriculum is strengthened by different perspectives.”

New Spanish Instructor Tracy Rutledge agreed.

“Having female faculty members adds diversity and with that comes diverse perspectives,” Rutledge said. “It also provides strong female role models.”

Haddox stressed that faculty members can be mentors to both male and female students.

“Women faculty members are good mentors for both women and men,” Haddox said. “Both men and women have a lot to teach us … learn from them and debate with them.”

Nationally, women are becoming more and more involved in academics.

“I could appreciate Simpson’s efforts to create studies to attract women,” Sweet said. “Nationally, women’s role in academia is on the rise.”

However, Haddox wants people to understand hiring women at Simpson isn’t just to fill a quota for affirmative action.

“We are responsible to our mission of achieving academic excellence, not to be politically correct,” Haddox said. “We are not just being nice to women; we are trying to enrich education here at Simpson.”

Rutledge; Julie Schlarman, assistant professor of art; Deb Czarneski, assistant professor of math and Beth Jorgensen, assistant professor of English are the newest female faculty members to come to Simpson.