The Provost-Faculty Senate Faculty Gender Equity Committee is a standing committee, responsible for advancing the shared governance of the University via its consultative role to the Faculty Senate and Provost on issues related to gender equity among faculty. It was established on November 1, 2018, in response to a key recommendation of the Faculty Senate Gender Equity Task Force (2014-2017).
The Saint Louis University’s Provost-Faculty Senate Gender Equity Committee is committed to an anti-racist, gender-inclusive, and equitable experience for all faculty. The committee embodies the pursuit of truth, service to others, and flourishing in our community.
|School, College or Center
|Assistant Vice President for Faculty Equity, Division for Diversity and Innovative Community Engagement
|College for Public Health & Social Justice
|School of Medicine
|School of Law
|School of Education
|Doisy College of Health Sciences
|College of Arts & Sciences
|School of Nursing
|School of Professional Studies
|School of Science & Engineering
|Center for Advanced Dental Education
|Michael Swartwout / Irma Kuljanishvili
|SLU – Madrid
|Chaifetz School of Business
|School of Social Work
An ombuds role is someone or an office of people who provide a confidential space to field concerns of employees and students. This role assists with conflict resolution, addressing inequities in pay for individuals, and identifying resources needed for improving inclusion and equity. The committee is working on recommendations to the provost and Faculty Senate for establishing an ombudsperson for the north campus. This already exists in the School of Medicine in the Office of Professional Oversight. We hope to learn from various sources and the current structure in the School of Medicine for informing our proposal.
On an ongoing basis, the committee is advising the Office of the Provost on pay equity studies, decision-making for pay increases, and advocating on behalf of faculty to sustain an annual pay increase and equity pool.
The Developing a Service Metric for Equitable Faculty Workload and Advancement study began in July 2021 (SLU IRB # 32059).
Faculty workload includes time in teaching, research, service, and administrative tasks. However, this workload distribution varies by individual faculty, discipline, college, and university depending on many factors leading to ambiguity and inequity (O'Meara, et al., 2019). Many studies to date show inequities in workload by gender and race, with women (Misra et al., 2011) and people of color (Wood et al., 2015) engaging in more service. In particular, women of color experience particular demands for service to be representatives for both women and people of color (Hurtado & Figueroa, 2013; Turner et al., 2008). Yet service continues to be undervalued in the tenure and promotion process (Kanter, 1977; O'Meara et al., 2019). The outcome of this inequity in service workload is increased stress, increased length of time to advancement, and lower retention for women and people of color, in particular (Eagan, & Garvey, 2015; Watts & Robertson, 2011).
There are ways to mitigate inequity in faculty workload and advancements. One such step is defining, transparently, what service workload is and how it is valued by academic leadership who take part in workload assignments, promotion, and tenure processes. This study aimed to achieve this step for SLU across departments, schools, and colleges in order to guide a new workload policy and promotion and tenure guidelines. In addition, we believe our findings are generalizable to other universities who are struggling to define service workload and develop a culture within which service is assigned and valued equitably.
This study took a qualitative phenomenological approach where the focus is on description of the "everydayness" of service. Being-in an academic context and performing service activities carries particular meaning and value, as a result. Thus, we aimed to understand this from the perspective of those in academic leadership who make judgments about service activities as part of the faculty workload assignments and in reviewing promotion and tenure applications. We interviewed department chairs (n = 26) across Saint Louis University including representation from departments on the north and south campuses. Analysis and report writing included a team of committee members who are experts in qualitative research and an external review by a qualitative researcher.
A report of the findings will be available for review here.
The COVID-19 pandemic beginning in March 2020 in the U.S. impacted the lives and careers of the SLU community in a variety of ways; for example, increased caregiving to young children, increased health needs and fears, loss of time and energy to devote to scholarship, and many more.
Previously, the provost extended tenure and promotion clocks by a year due to the COVID pandemic in 2020, and it is clear that more is needed to offer practical support to faculty and prevent inequity in faculty advancement. The reverberation of the pandemic will likely be longstanding and, for many faculty, the consequences of the pandemic created barriers to the advancement of their professional careers.
Current research suggests faculty whose scholarship was affected by the pandemic are female caregivers to young children and Black/Indigenous/People of Color (BIPOC) women; people often already experiencing bias and barriers in academia. The impact of the COVID pandemic has heightened our awareness of the many challenges that faculty may face. In particular, many faculty experience personal turbulence - “unusual, rapid, and agenda-setting events” experienced in one's life that may potentially impact career trajectory (Tang, 2010, p. 472).
Personal turbulence includes life-changing events such as illness, mental health, new caregiving roles (e.g., infant, adopted child, illness of a spouse or parent/grandparent), mental health changes in the family (e.g., recent suicide attempt), divorce, domestic violence, a victim of crime, loss of housing, and others.
The Office of the Provost created the Billiken Boost Program for Supporting Equitable Faculty Scholarly Achievement to provide short-term funding to allow for a reallocation of time and resources to continue the faculty member's trajectory toward successful advancement. In an effort to empower faculty achievement that is equitable and specific to the needs of individual faculty, the program is sponsored and funded by the Provost’s Office in collaboration with the Joint Provost-Faculty Senate Faculty Gender Equity Committee and the Division of Diversity and Innovative Community Engagement.
Note: Scholarly endeavors take many forms in different disciplines. For the sake of brevity, the term “scholarship” is used, here forward, to refer to research, scholarship, teaching, and/or creative activity.
Aims of the Program
- Define the impact of personal turbulence (including the COVID-19 pandemic) on faculty scholarship and career advancement.
- Empower increased achievement for faculty whose scholarship was impacted by the personal turbulence through a one-time stipend for needed academic resources.
- Eliminate the gap in the timely advancement (i.e. promotion, tenure, merit raises) of faculty whose scholarship was impacted by personal turbulence.
To accomplish these aims, the program is designed to support assistant and associate professors whose records of scholarship were impacted by personal turbulence and who propose feasible plans for resuming their scholarly achievement. The program will offer a one-time stipend (up to $5,000) to be used over one academic year (Fall, Spring, and Summer) for a needed academic resource (e.g., course buyout, hire teaching assistant, hire graduate research assistant, summer salary support for research or other scholarship time, training/conference for professional growth, materials/technology to advance teaching pedagogy, release from service/admin time). Recipients will be required to report back on the impact of the stipend on their scholarly work and personal/professional development.
Faculty who request less than $5,000, will be considered on par with all other applicants. We aim to support as many individual faculty as possible, so please only ask for the budget you need.
Potential number of faculty: We anticipate this program running annually with about 20 faculty being supported each year, though it may be possible to support more faculty members, depending on the requested amounts in applications and depending on the amount awarded. We will reevaluate the program during the second year to assess for demand and impact.
5,000 per faculty X 20 faculty = $100,000
Annual Due Date
- Tenured, tenure-track, and non-tenure track assistant or associate professors
- Full professors, regardless of tenure status, are not eligible.
- Must be full-time faculty member.
- Clinical time for SSM/SLUCare cannot be bought out with the funds.
- St. Louis Campus
- Tenured, tenure-track, and non-tenure track assistant or associate professors
- Full professors, regardless of track status, are not eligible.
- Madrid Campus Faculty
- If ranked, assistant or associate professors
- If not ranked, completed assigned teaching at SLU-Madrid for fewer than 11 years.
- Support of program director and/or department chair for application.
- Meet expectations in each merit review category (e.g., for each of research, teaching, service, advising, etc.) for the most recent two full-time academic years of annual review.
- The funds must be used within 1 academic year (Fall, Spring, Summer).
The following criteria will be used to select recipients.
- Evidence of a strong record of scholarly accomplishments prior to personal turbulence events.
- Feasible plan for use of funds to support the faculty member’s scholarship, which
could include the following resources:
- Office of VP for Research (OVPR) programs and other workshops for supporting the successful use of the Boost funds. The office offers expert coaching, support, and accountability for research and grant-related scholarship. If applicable, please make it clear in your plan and how OVPR will support your efforts.
- Faculty Writing Fellows Program with Dr. Mark Ruff (Department of History) for expert coaching, support, and accountability. This would assist the Billiken Boost Program awardee by providing interdisciplinary writing groups in the humanities that meet bi-weekly. It would focus on grant writing, book writing and article writing in the disciplines of history, English, theology, philosophy, modern and classical languages and American Studies. It will assist assistant and associate professors looking to complete monographs and articles to meet standards for tenure and promotion. Participants will work not only to refine prose and ideas but to overcome stumbling blocks common to many large projects such as procrastination and writer’s block. The groups will establish timetables for completing individual portions of the projects.
- Clear description of the significant professional disruption resulting from personal
- “Significant disruption” is defined as evidence of reductions or slowing down of pace in scholarly endeavors. For example, reduction in number of peer-reviewed papers or grant applications submitted or 3-month delay in scholarly project.
- Clear description of how this program will support a boost for getting back on track toward professional advancement.
- The program is not restricted by gender or race or any other identity or group membership.
Stipend Award Description
Faculty will receive funding for use over one academic year (Fall, Spring, Summer)
Program Review Process
Applications will be reviewed by faculty and administrative members of the Gender Equity Committee and Office of Diversity and Community Engagement to determine awards. Each applicant will be reviewed by two reviewers and a third reader in the event of a significant discrepancy between the two reviewers. Group discussion will be used for creating a cut-off score and discussion of scoring.
The applications are reviewed by committee members of the Faculty Gender Equity Committee. The committee will hold all applicants’ identities in confidence given the stories that may be described. The Provost’s office will not see or review applications.
Submit all application materials to email@example.com with the subject line: Billiken Boost Program Application.
- Letter of support from program director/department chair for application stating that applicant has met expectations in each merit-review category (e.g., for each of research, teaching, service, advising, etc.) for the most recent two full-time academic years of annual review.
- Current Curriculum Vitae
- Professional Narrative:
a) Identify your rank, number of years at your rank, tenure or non-tenure status, and how far out from next eligible promotion/tenure.
b) Indicate the type of personal turbulence: illness, mental health, new caregiving roles (e.g., infant, adopted child, illness of spouse or parent/grandparent), mental health changes in the family (e.g., recent suicide attempt), divorce, domestic violence, victim of crime, loss of housing, or another. You are welcome to indicate more than one. Lengthy stories or explanations are not needed.
c) Describe your scholarly accomplishments and trajectory prior to the personal turbulence (250 words).
d) Describe how your scholarly work was significantly disrupted (i.e., evidence of reductions or slowing down of pace in scholarly endeavors) (100-250 words).
e) Description of how funds will be used to boost your scholarship and advancement (250-500 words).
- Budget & Budget justification including a timeline with an explanation for how funds will be used (1 page max).
Contact Katie Heiden-Rootes, Ph.D.
Assistant Vice President for Diversion of Diversity and Innovative Community Engagement, ex-officio member Faculty Gender Equity Committee