AAS Committee on the Status of Women 
Issue of November 16, 2007 
eds. Joan Schmelz, Hannah Jang-Condell & Caroline Simpson 
 
This week's issues: 
 
1. Female Friendly Physics Graduate Programs 
 
2. Cornell ADVANCE Lecture on Women in Academia 
 
3. Discussion Thread - Why Don't Women Apply? 
 
4. Discussion Thread - Grants for Post Docs 
 
5. Post-Doctoral Position at UCLA 
 
6. Tenure-Track Assistant Professorship, Illinois Wesleyan University 
 
*** FOLLOWING POSITIONS WERE TAKEN FROM WIPHYS *** 
 
7. APS/IBM Research Internship for Undergraduate Women 
 
8. Tenure-Track Position, Astronomy, Haverford College 
 
9. How to Submit, Subscribe, or Unsubscribe to AASWOMEN 
 
10. Access to Past Issues of AASWOMEN 
 
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1. Female Friendly Physics Graduate Programs 
From: CSWA 
 
[In the August 17, 2007 issue of AASWOMEN, we asked if Physics Department 
advertising on a "female friendly" web site should have to do more than 
simply fill out a form. There was enough concern from CSWA members and AASWOMEN
readers that we drafted and sent the following letter -- Eds.] 
 
Dear Committee on the Status of Women in Physics, 
 
The Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy (CSWA) would like to 
express some concern about the use of the phrase "female friendly" on the APS 
web site describing physics graduate programs: 
 
http://www.aps.org/programs/women/female-friendly/index.cfm 
 
The CSWA agrees that information provided by the institutions is likely to 
be of interest to students applying to graduate programs, and we support 
making it available. However, it does not actually indicate that these 
departments are "female friendly." In fact, there is no definition of 
"female-friendly" so such a label could be misleading. For example, a 
department which is not listed may appear "unfriendly" by comparison, even 
if it has a good number of women in faculty positions and graduates a high 
fraction of women PhDs. 
 
We feel that "female friendly" is an unfortunate choice of phrase and that 
a department advertising on a "female friendly" web site should have to do 
more than simply fill out a form. Instead, we suggest that it might be more
 accurate to describe this information as, "Women in physics graduate 
programs: Institutional statistics." Please don't hesitate to contact us at cswa
aas.org if 
you have any comments or questions. 
 
Regards, 
 
Geoffrey Clayton 
Chair, Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy, 
American Astronomical Society 
http://www.aas.org/cswa/ 
 
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2. Cornell ADVANCE Lecture on Women in Academia 
From: WIPHYS November 9, 2007 
 
A so-called "chilly climate" persists for women at academic and research 
universities because of an archaic construct of what an "ideal" worker is, sa
id Joan C. Williams, Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of 
California-Hastings, speaking at Cornell Oct. 17. Cornell Chronicle 
 
http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Oct07/advance.williams.aj.html 
 
A great news article on the bias that still exists for women faculty. It's 
part of Cornell's ADVANCE program. 
 
Arlene Modeste Knowles 
Knowlesaps.org 
 
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3. Discussion Thread - Why Don't Women Apply? 
From: WIPHYS November, 2007 
 
Original Query from Robin Selinger [robinlci.kent.edu] 
 
In the past this listserv has been a great place for group discussion on 
issues concerning the progress of women in physics, not just for 
announcements. For those who have time/energy to participate in such a 
discussion, I'd like to bring up the issue of faculty hiring. 
 
In recent faculty searches at my institute, the number of women in the 
applicant pool has been shockingly low. We know women are earning graduate 
degrees in record numbers, so the question is: why aren't they applying for 
faculty positions? 
 
Some commentators, e.g. Prof. Emily Carter of Princeton, argue that many 
women avoid the academic career track because of its culture of very long 
work hours leaving little time for family life. This is a "climate" issue. 
 
Another concern is the two-body problem, particularly in the years 
immediately after finishing grad school, when a new PhD aiming for an academic 
career would typically move three times in about 4 or 5 years (to postdoc 1, 
postdoc 2, and then to a faculty position.). Coordinating these multiple 
moves with a spouse/partner is so difficult that it could prevent many women 
from following the usual academic career path. 
 
Questions: 
1. When you made the decision whether or not to pursue an academic career, 
what factors influenced your career choices? 
2. Is the high workload expectation for assistant profs a major concern? 
3. Is the way we employ postdocs an important factor diverting women from a
cademic careers? If so, how can we fix it? 
4. What can a university do to attract qualified female faculty candidates? 
If you don't feel comfortable sending your responses to the listserv, feel 
free to respond to me privately at 
robinlci.kent.edu . 
 
Posting from Renee D. Diehl 
[rdiehlpsu.edu] 
 
In response to your posting about the lack of women applying for faculty po
sitions, you (and others) may be interested in this study from NIH about wh
y women scientists often do not pursue faculty positions: 
 
http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/oct2007/od-31.htm 
 
Posting from Anneli Aitta [A.Aittadamtp.cam.ac.uk] 
 
I could suggest a couple of answers. 
 
3. Yes. Arrange for each gender a lot of about 5 year grants (from NSF as 
discussed here simultaneously?) which the individual can take to other 
institutions if they need or want to move (would help in the trailing spouse 
problem), and take half-time for double length if they need to (would address 
the women's need to support children or elderly relatives). Generous 
length is important: it allows one to establish oneself as an independent 
researcher. If women can compete among their own sex, it would encourage them 
to apply. I believe this could be a means to break men's habit to see 
excellence in men, but not so easily in women. Men usually write referee 
letters, and if they know that a particular set of grants will go to women in 
any case, they would be released from their peer pressure to support men, and 
actually want to start to see some excellence in women who they know. 
 
4. Do you consider only people with excellence in their referee letters as 
"qualified"? If so, gendered posts may do the trick: women are more 
confident to apply when they know they are not against men, and men are more 
confident to call them excellent in their letters. 
 
Posting from Beth Ruskai [Marybeth.Ruskaitufts.edu] 
 
Could we PLEASE have a WIPHYS moratorium on overly simplistic speculative 
comments such as: 
1) many women avoid the academic career track because of its 
culture of very long work hours leaving little time for family life. 
 
R1. Since when do women want to avoid hard work ?? 
R2. This is completely inconsistent with the much much higher numbers () 50
% ??) of women in law and medicine which are at least as demanding with 
less opportunity for flexible schedules than scientific and academic careers. 
 
2) Another concern is the two-body problem, ...multiple moves with a spouse
/partner is so difficult. 
R1. Yes, sure couples have real issues to deal with. 
 
BUT there is no evidence that single women have it easier or are more 
likely to be successful. Indeed, the "family" lifestyle culture of small 
towns in which many universities are located often makes life difficult 
for single women. 
 
There are many complex issues affecting faculty recruitment and career 
decisions. WIPHYS participants should know this and not contribute to 
oversimplified stereotypes. 
 
Posting from Alisa Walz-Flannigan [alisaiwgmail.com] 
 
I do agree with negative SPECULATION being unhelpful. But I do think it IS 
helpful to ask women directly these questions about their personal 
experience...why did they choose to pursue or not pursue an academic career, etc. 
 
If the answers keep coming back as work-life balance issues...than we see 
that it's important for departments to be aware of the image they are 
sending, or the reality they're perpetuating. Remember, it's not as if post-docs 
and graduate students are completely unaware of the realities of being a 
physics faculty... the successes, struggles and work-life that we see in our 
advisors, professors, colleagues inform our decisions to stay or go.  If 
these aren't the answers that women are giving, this is also informative. 
 
However, it's clear there is a drop-out, and endeavors to find why this is 
and to address institutional issues that may be contributing should rather 
be applauded. 
 
For additional comments and summaries, please see: 
 
http://lists.apsmsgs.org/read/messages?id=3D18733 
 
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4. Discussion Thread - Grants for Post Docs 
From: WIPHYS November, 2007 
 
Original Query from Elizabeth D. Freeland [papagenaearthlink.net] 
 
Because of my own situation and the acquaintance I have with some talented 
post-docs juggling the two-body problem, I was recently thinking that it's 
a pity that the NSF does not have some sort of post-doc grant program. A 
program where one could apply for research funds to use at any qualified 
institution. In browsing Myron Campbell's testimony to the House Science and 
Tech Committee (See WIPHYS Nov 8, message #2) I found that they DO - but NOT 
in physics!! 
 
Does anyone know why physics is not included? Does anyone know how this 
could be remedied?? I would imagine there would be good competition for such a
 fellowship and excellent scientists as recipients. (One could find out by 
examining current programs.) AND, it seems to me that such fellowships 
could help to alleviate some of the difficulties encountered by early-career 
physicist dealing with the two-body problem (man or woman). 
 
If the NSF can do this in other fields what is holding up physics? 
If you know, or have thoughts or comments on the situation, please post to 
WIPHYS. 
 
Posting from Elizabeth Simmons [esimmonsmsu.edu] 
 
NSF has grants for postdocs in the scientific disciplines that have asked 
the NSF to offer them. Some fields (such as mathematics, I believe) have 
done so. Others (like physics) have declined to do so, preferring the current 
system of grants to faculty PIs, who then hire postdocs. 
 
Posting from Elizabeth D. Freeland [papagenaearthlink.net] 
 
Thank you to Elizabeth Simmons for passing along this information; I was 
unaware. I have some further questions as well. 
 
I'm curious, who "declined to do so" and who "prefers the current system" 
of grants to PIs only? Is this just an acceptance of the status quo, or has 
this issue been discussed by some sub-group of physicists? One would not be
asking for the system to be either/or. 
 
)From my perspective the post-doc fellowship grant has many positive 
attributes. It would encourage creative, independent, motivated junior scientists 
(or groups of them?) to flesh out their ideas and begin working 
independently. The attributes needed to receive and work with such a grant seem 
ones that the physics community would want to foster. Also, as I (and one of 
today's writers) mentioned, it seems that such fellowships could help to ease 
the difficulties junior scientists have in balancing their career and life 
in the post- doc years. 
 
I would like to know what others think, what pros or cons they see to such 
a grant. In general, I'm wondering what "the community" thinks and whether 
or not this is something to ask the NSF about. 
 
Posting from Elizabeth Simmons [esimmonsmsu.edu] 
 
The various divisions of NSF periodically have review committees drawn from
 the relevant communities of scientists look at the portfolio of programs. 
There's only a certain pool of money available for physics within NSF. 
Starting a program of postdoctoral fellowships would mean cutting back 
on other existing programs that support physics research. 
 
A few years ago, the question of whether NSF should offer postdoctoral 
fellowships directly to postdocs in physics was discussed within the 
theoretical physics community. And the community was strongly in favor of 
maintaining the current system where PIs are funded and then hire postdocs. 
It will be interesting to see what the discussion on WIPHYS turns up. 
 
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5. Post-Doctoral Position at UCLA 
From: Andrea Ghez [ghezastro.UCLA.EDU] 
 
Applications are invited for a postdoctoral research position in laser 
guide star adaptive optics (LGS-AO) science with Prof. Andrea Ghez in the 
Department of Physics and Astronomy at UCLA. Of particular interest are 
applicants willing to work on Galactic center related research. 
 
Using the W. M. Keck 10-m telescopes, Prof. Ghez's group currently carries 
out research on the Galactic center, the formation of low mass stars and 
brown dwarfs, and the formation and evolution of circumstellar disks. 
Key aspects of this position entail collaborating with Prof. Ghez on 
science with current LGS-AO systems, understanding the ultimate limits of these 
systems, and working on science cases for future AO systems at Keck and TMT. 
 
A PhD in astronomy or physics and previous experience in the general area 
of high spatial resolution is preferable. The initial appointment is for 
two years, with the possibility of a third year, beginning in the Fall 2008. 
To apply, send your curriculum vitae, a letter of application, and 3 
letters of reference to 
 
Prof. Andrea Ghez 
Department of Physics and Astronomy 
UCLA 
430 Portola Plaza 
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1547 
 
by January 15, 2008. 
 
For further information contact Andrea Ghez (ghezastro.ucla.edu). 
UCLA is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer; women and members
 of minorities are especially encouraged to apply for these positions. 
 
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6. Tenure-Track Assistant Professorship, Illinois Wesleyan University 
From: Linda M. French [lfrenchiwu.edu] 
 
The physics department at Illinois Wesleyan University has an open 
tenure-track Assistant Professor position, specializing in any area of 
astronomy, beginning Fall 2008. Because we have a strong commitment to the 
mission of a liberal arts education, we are looking for like-minded faculty 
colleagues who have a deep affection for communicating the beauty of physics 
and astronomy to our students and to include them actively in their 
research program. 
 
The research specialty of the candidate is open. The teaching duties 
associated with this position consist of teaching Introductory Astronomy, 
our most popular general education course, supplemented by courses for the 
physics majors and other general education courses. The Ph.D. of the candidate 
may be either in Astronomy or in Physics, but prior training and/or teaching 
experience in Astronomy is expected. Candidates must have the Ph.D. by 
August 1, 2008. 
 
For further information, contact Linda French (lfrenchiwu.edu) or Naren
dra Jaggi (njaggiiwu.edu). Please submit your application, your c.v., t
hree letters of recommendation, a one-page statement of teaching philosophy
, a brief description of planned research that can meaningfully engage unde
rgraduate students and any other helpful materials to njaggiiwu.edu and
 cc to jhuffiwu.edu, either as pdf or as Word files. Review of applicat
ions will continue until the position is filled. 
 
IWU is an Equal Opportunity Employer and strongly encourages applications 
from women and minorities. Illinois Wesleyan is a highly selective, 
residential, liberal arts institution of approximately 2100 students. 
Located in Bloomington-Normal (also home to Illinois State University), 
Illinois Wesleyan is one hour's drive west of Urbana and two hours south 
of Chicago. US Residents Only. Employer will assist with relocation costs. 
This is AAS Job Register #24237, to appear 1 December. 
 
Related URLs: 
 
http://www2.iwu.edu/physics/ (homepage of IWU physics department) 
 
http://www2.iwu.edu/ (homepage of IWU) 
 
http://www2.iwu.edu/iwujobs/ (jobs at IWU for partners to consider) 
 
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7. APS/IBM Research Internship for Undergraduate Women 
From: WIPHYS November 13, 2007 
 
Information on the 2008 APS/IBM Research Internship for Undergraduate Women
 is now available! These summer internships are salaried positions 
typically 10 weeks long, and include in addition a $2,500 grant, plus 
the opportunity to work with a mentor at one of three IBM research locations. 
Applications must be submitted by February 1, 2008. Complete details on the 
program and how to apply are available at 
 
http://www.aps.org/programs/women/scholarships/index.cfm 
 
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8. Tenure-Track Position, Astronomy, Haverford College 
From: WIPHYS November 9, 2007 
 
Haverford College seeks to fill a tenure-track position in astronomy at the
assistant professor level, beginning September 2008. Candidates must have 
a strong commitment to teaching and establishing a vigorous research 
program involving undergraduate students in astronomy. Ph.D. required; 
post-doctoral experience highly desirable. The candidate will teach 
astronomy at all levels, contribute to the physics program, and support 
the observational component of our astronomy program. 
 
Applicants should submit c.v., a list of graduate courses taken, a 
statement of research plans, a brief statement of teaching philosophy, 
and three letters of recommendation to: Merleen MacDonald, Search Secretary, 
Haverford College, 370 Lancaster Ave., Haverford, PA 19041-1392. Questions 
to: Dr. Walter Smith, Chair, 
wsmithhaverford.edu. 
First priority will be given to applications received before November 
15, 2007. Haverford College 
 
http://www.haverford.edu 
 
a liberal arts college with a strong record of faculty and student 
research, is located 12 miles northwest of Philadelphia. Haverford is an 
Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action employer, committed to excellence 
through diversity, and strongly encourages applications and nominations 
of persons of color, women, and members of other under-represented groups. 
 
http://www.haverford.edu/physics-astro/Amador/Amador.html 
 
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10. Access to Past Issues of AASWOMEN 
 
Past issues of AASWOMEN are available at 
 
http://www.aas.org/cswa/AASWOMEN.html 
 
Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered. 
 
AASWList mailing list 
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