Gender Bias Alleged At UCLA Anderson

UCLA Anderson's School has cut its application down to a single essay

UCLA Anderson’s School of Management

Gender Bias Alleged at UCLA Anderson


It’s funny how quickly things change.

In April, UCLA’s Anderson School of Management  celebrated a 32% increase in applications for 2013-2014. On average, applicant GMAT scores had climbed five points. While the school had dropped to #16 in the 2015 U.S. News rankings, it was shaping up to be a banner year at Anderson.

And then an internal academic review was leaked.

Now, the school finds itself fending off accusations that the institution is “inhospitable to women faculty.”

Of course, if that’s true, UCLA has plenty of company based on the percentages of female faculty at many other highly prominent U.S. business schools. In fact, the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business (see table below) is even worse than Anderson (it’s at 15% vs. Anderson’s 18%), but there apparently was no report to be leaked out of Booth. Both Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business (19%) and MIT Sloan (20%) have percentages of female faculty that are just as low.

Anderson’s internal review was leaked to The Wall Street Journal which reported that the study found that the school “is inconsistent in how it hires and promotes women as compared with men; has created “gender ghettos” in certain academic areas; and shows a “lack of confidence” in female faculty.” The Journal adds that the report asserts that female faculty members had “high rates of job satisfaction when beginning careers at the school, but face a ‘lack of respect’ regarding their work and ‘unevenly applied’ standards on decisions about pay and promotions.”

The report strikes a nerve at Anderson, which has been headed by a female dean, Dr. Judy Olian, since 2006. The academic review stems from a 2013 review conducted by UCLA’s academic senate, which uncovered disenchantment from female faculty members at Anderson about their treatment. The followup academic review was conducted by a task force of three outside business school deans and several university professors.

Statistically, Anderson lags behind similar business schools in granting women leadership roles and tenure. All 24 of the school’s endowed chairs are held by men. The school also reports that women comprise 20% of tenure-track faculty and 14.3% of tenured faculty. In contrast, those percentages are, on average, 30% and 19.5% at 16 peer institutions, which included the University of Michigan (Ross), the University of Virginia (Darden), and Stanford University, according to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools.


Source: The Wall Street Journal

The controversy dusts off a 2006 university gender study, which was also critical of Anderson’s treatment of female faculty. However, Dr. Olian argues that the school has made progress on several fronts. For starters, the percentage of female students at Anderson has risen from 28% to 34% during Olian’s tenure. The number of tenured and tenure track female professors has also risen from seven to 14.5 since 2006, making them 17.5% of the 84.5 full-time faculty members.

For faculty, the review was “spot on” (in the words of an anonymous female professor). Professor Aimee Drolet Rossi, a faculty member since 1997 and a member of the task force, tells The Wall Street Journal that she hadn’t encountered “overt discrimination or hostility” at Anderson, but adds that she “witnessed subtle digs and dismissive comments at women from colleagues and students.” Another tenured professor, Barbara Lawrence, recounted her battle to rectify a pay gap of $30,000 between herself and male peers.

Dean Olian has established a gender equity task force after reviewing the initial findings. The school will also publish a progress report in early 2015. However, Olian expects that rectifying the issues raised in the review will be a long, deliberative process. “This is going to require a lot more than numbers and policies,” she tells The Wall Street Journal. “It’s really soul-searching. I have to ask myself, what here might have had unintended consequences? And what subtle things should we, can we, must we be doing to improve the climate?”

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Source: The Wall Street Journal

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