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The fatherhood bonus: Have a child and advance your career

December 14, 2011

The careers of different men progress at different rates. That’s just as we would expect. Higher performers are rewarded; lower performers slow down. Our accomplishments guide our careers. Good workplaces are meritocracies — do your job well, and you’ll get ahead. That’s what we believe.

Or, at least that’s what we want to believe. But after a few years on the job, we start to wonder. Other factors seem to play a role.

What about parenthood? Does that figure in to how we get evaluated? Does fatherhood affect the careers of men? How are fathers perceived when we’re asked to appraise them?

We know how it works for women. There is a motherhood penalty, and it’s not related to performance; evaluation in laboratory settings of otherwise identical files in which the only difference is parenthood proves this claim. If you’re a mother, that will affect how your job performance is perceived. Negatively.

Is there a fatherhood penalty, too?

It seems not. In fact, it seems that there’s a fatherhood bonus. Fathers don’t simply outpace mothers in the workplace; they even outpace men who don’t have children!

Read more…


The motherhood penalty: It’s not children that slow mothers down

December 8, 2011

There are fewer women at the top because they have a different work/life balance than men, it is claimed. Mothers’ careers progress slowly because they are mothers — because they have to spend more time on their children.

There’s some appeal in this explanation; it seems intuitively correct. Mothers have greater childcare responsibilities than fathers. And while we may hope for a different division of labor some day, we speculate that these work/life realities explain why women who are mothers are on slower career tracks than men.

It’s the realities of daily life behind the statistics that in fact explain the statistics. Correlation becomes causation. But that’s a mistake in how we think. There’s more to the story.

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New approaches to quality control in publishing

December 6, 2011

There are four key components to publishing, and they’re all about to change.

Ten years from now, publishing will be done in ways that we are only beginning to envisage. Politics and profit will of course compel these changes. But the specific innovations coming our way will be driven by a generation of tweeters, bloggers, status updaters and Wikipedia editors.

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How to get more women professors: success on the top of the world!

December 3, 2011

With focus and commitment, the University of Tromsø has become Norway’s leading university for gender balance. New statistics have arrived and they reveal that 27.4% of our full professors are women.

Tromsø is better than any other institution of higher education in Norway, and it is well ahead of the national average of 23%.

The Board of the University has articulated a goal of having 30% of our highest academic positions occupied by women by the end of 2013. Our progress has been steady and salient. In 2007, 18.3% of our professors were women. In 2008, it was 20.1%. At the end of 2009, we had reached 22.4% and last year we were at 24.6%. Today, we have reached 27.4%!

This progress reflects major investments in faculty development.

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Publishing in the Adjacent Possible

December 1, 2011

The link below takes you to a video of my talk at the 6th Munin Conference, at which the theme was Enhancing Publications. In the talk, I explore Stuart Kauffman’s concept of the Adjacent Possible and imagine what it might mean in the context of thinking about the future of scientific publication.

A very slightly revised text of this talk will appear in a subsequent post, and a much briefer blog on the topic will also appear in these pages soon.

The Munin Conference is an annual international conference on issues related to open access and publishing, held at the University of Tromsø. (Note that the video of the speaker and the video of the non-slides can be exchanged by clicking on the right side of the screen on “Swap Media Elements.”)

Publishing in the Adjacent Possible

(My talk from the 5th Munin Conference was entitled Open Access: The competitive advantage; the link takes you to the YouTube video.)

What happens when we have no students?

November 26, 2011

(Talen min fra åpningen av MONS 14 finnes på  slutten av denne bloggen.)

What should universities and colleges do when students don’t want to take our courses? What if no one wants a degree in German? What if Art History only attracts a handful of students?

We read often about the lost value of humanities degrees for the students who take them and how institutions lose money by maintaining a broad offering. Should we just shut those programs down?

What does it mean to be a classic university with credible breadth? How can we reconcile our ideals, our identity and our mandate with financing systems that fund us based on the number of students we produce?

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Social media and blog traffic: 4 tips that work and 2 that don’t

November 22, 2011

Traffic to my blog has jumped recently. Twitter and Facebook are the trick.

I’ve been blogging for just over 6 months. While I’m writing this entry, my blog will be visited for the 9,000th time. 2,000 of those visits came in October, and over 4,000 more have come in November.

Most of my visitors have been referred to my blog by social media. More than 2,000 have come from Facebook while just under 1,000 have come from Twitter. Only a few dozen have come from LinkedIn.

Here are six ways I use social media — four that work for me and two that don’t.

Read more…