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Panel: COVID-19 and Its Impact on Academic Women

Panel: COVID-19 and Its Impact on Academic Women

Panel Description

Much has been written in the popular and higher education press asserting that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionately negative impact on the scholarly productivity and thus the career trajectory of academic women, primarily due to increased care burdens. While most academic institutions have responded by offering tenure clock extensions and providing some accommodation regarding evaluation of teaching, it is not clear how these efforts will affect the longer-term career progression of women faculty and researchers. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on women have not all been negative.

This panel will explore the issue from three angles. First, Dr. Karen R. Stubaus, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Rutgers University, will provide a brief review of the literature to date on the pandemic’s impact on women faculty and researchers. Then, Maria Lund Dahlberg, Study Director, will provide an overview of the study and its key findings. Next, Dr. Eve Higginbotham (Chair), Vice Dean of Inclusion and Diversity at University of Pennsylvania, and Dr. Leslie D. Gonzales, Associate Professor in the Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Learning Unit in the College of Education, Michigan State University,  from the authoring committee for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) March 2021 report, “Impact of COVID-19 on the Careers of Women in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine,” will review the range of disruptions experienced by women in academic STEMM careers during 2020 and how the COVID-19 pandemic amplified structural inequities, such as those related to child and family caregiving responsibilities.  Finally, Dr. Juli Wade, a psychologist and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at University of Connecticut, will discuss how institutions of higher education can most effectively address these issues in a manner that will ensure that academic women do not disproportionately suffer long-term career damage due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Panelists Bios

Ms. Maria Lund Dahlberg is a Senior Program Officer and Study Director with the Board on Higher Education and Workforce and the Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Her current work focuses on the Impact of COVID-19 on the Research Careers of Women in Academic Science, Engineering, and Medicine; the Response and Adaptation of Higher Education to the COVID-19 Pandemic; the Science on Effective Mentoring in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine); and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Postsecondary Education. Her work with the National Academies spans topics ranging from equity and identity in science, through science communications, to postdoctoral research experiences, health care, and innovation ecosystems. She came to the National Academies by way of a Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellowship, which she received after completing all requirements short of finalizing the dissertation for her doctorate in physics at the Pennsylvania State University. Ms. Lund Dahlberg holds a BA with high honors in physics from Vassar College and an MS in physics from the Pennsylvania State University.

Dr. Eve Higginbotham is the inaugural Vice Dean for Inclusion and Diversity of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, a position she assumed on August 1, 2013. She is also a Senior Fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics and Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Pennsylvania. She has been a member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) since 2000 and is now an elected member of the NAM Council, upon which she chairs the Finance Committee. Dr. Higginbotham is also a member of the Governing Board of the National Research Council and Past President of the AΩA Medical Honor Society. Notable prior leadership positions in academia include Dean of the Morehouse School of Medicine, Senior Vice President for Health Sciences at Howard University, and Professor and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, a position she held for 12 years.  A graduate of MIT with undergraduate and graduate degrees in chemical engineering (Course X, S.B, and S.M.) and Harvard Medical School, Dr. Higginbotham completed her residency in ophthalmology at the LSU Eye Center and fellowship training in the subspecialty of glaucoma at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston. In 2020, she completed a Masters of Law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School.  Dr. Higginbotham currently serves on the Board of Directors of Ascension, a member of the Finance and Audit Committees, and she chairs the Quality Committee for the system. Ascension is the second largest private health system in the United States, with hospitals and clinical sites in 20 states.  Dr. Higginbotham, a practicing glaucoma specialist at the University of Pennsylvania, has either authored or co- authored over 150 peer-reviewed articles and co-edited four ophthalmology textbooks. She continues to remain active in scholarship related to glaucoma, health policy, STEM, and patient care.

Juli Wade has been Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) at the University of Connecticut since July 2019. CLAS is the University’s largest college, with more than 9,800 undergraduate, 1,700 graduate students, and 750 faculty members.   She was on the faculty at Michigan State University from 1995 until that point, with appointments in the Departments of Psychology and Integrative Biology.  Wade served as chair of the Psychology Department 2010-17 and then as the Associate Provost for Faculty and Academic Staff Development at MSU.  Wade’s scholarly research has been focused on understanding how structural and biochemical changes within the central nervous system regulate behavior, using lizards and songbirds as model organisms.  She has published more than 130 original articles, reviews, and commentaries. Since 1996, Wade has secured more than $7 million in research funding from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. During the 2018-19 academic year, Wade was a fellow of the American Council on Education, hosted by the University of Pennsylvania. She earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from Cornell in 1987, and her doctorate in psychology from the University of Texas in 1992. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology at UCLA’s Brain Research Institute from 1992 to 1995.

Leslie D. Gonzales is an associate professor in the Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Learning unit at Michigan State University in the College of Education. She also serves as an affiliate faculty member in the Center for Gender in a Global Context and Chicano/Latinx studies. As a working class, Latina, and first-generation-college-student-turned academic who earned all three of her academic degrees from Hispanic Serving Institutions, Gonzales understands how relations of power, privilege, and prestige operate in ways that can be detrimental to people that have been historically underrepresented in the academic profession. With the realization that the effects are both individual and collective, Gonzales’ research aims to expose these relations of power in hopes of shaping departmental, disciplinary, and organizational cultures that are more just and inclusive of historically minoritized persons. In practice, Gonzales often examines how academics appraise one another in peer review contexts, such as hiring, tenure, and publishing. Gonzales pays particularly close attention to how such appraisals are detrimental to historically underrepresented scholars, to scholars whose work challenges conventional norms of knowledge production, and to scholars situated in historically marginalized disciplinary and organizational spaces within the academy. Gonzales is currently the co-PI on Aspire, a multi-million dollar project sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Karen R. Stubaus, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Administration at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Douglass College, Dr. Stubaus received her Ph.D. in seventeenth-century American history from Rutgers. Responsible for a broad array of academic, budgetary, strategic, and policy matters across the university’s three geographical locations in New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden, as well as for Rutgers Biological and Health Sciences, Dr. Stubaus has been a leader in increasing the diversity of the faculty and in promoting women’s leadership at all levels of the institution. She is responsible for faculty and academic labor relations and provides the primary interface between Academic Affairs and General Counsel’s Office on all faculty matters. She is also centrally involved in the development and implementation of the first New Brunswick Campus Strategic Plan in over two decades, and in the full academic and policy integration of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences into the broader Rutgers community. Dr.  Stubaus teaches whenever she is able in the School of Arts and Sciences Department of American Studies and the Department of Women’s and Gender studies as well as in the Rutgers Ph.D program on Higher Education.  Her favorite course is Death and Dying in American History, which her students note “is not nearly as grim as expected.”