Piedmont Defeats Gender Gap


ALENA HANSON Opinions & Features Editor

Like other workplaces, women are often times outnumbered in higher education employment. However, when it comes to Piedmont College faculty, women have been outpacing men.

According to a Chronicle of Higher Education database, women comprise 55 percent of Piedmont College’s faculty. Nationwide, women comprise 49 percent of faculty positions at four-year colleges, and that number has been steadily increasing.

“I believe there are two main reasons,” said Monika Schulte, associate professor of German at Piedmont College. “You find usually more females in teaching positions. Teaching and nurturing are stereotypical female domains.”

Schulte’s second reason is less positive. “The teaching professional at a college or university is the lowest paid in the teaching profession and therefore the least interesting for the male,” she said. Furthermore, at a small, private, rural institution like Piedmont, faculty salaries tend to be less than larger institutions. And with little opportunity for promotion and tenure, male faculty may be less likely to apply for faculty openings.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education database, the 2014 average salary for an assistant professor at Piedmont College is $48,456, significantly less than the state average salary of $57,020 and national average salary of $65,851 for assistant professors. Piedmont has always had a decent female-to-male faculty ratio, according to The Yohanian yearbooks.

From 1998-2012, the college has had a running trend of having more female professors than its counterparts. Dr. Cynthia Vance, a psychology professor, has noticed this trend in her two decades at the college. and attributes it to the creation and growth of certain academic programs at Piedmont.

“There are certainly more women faculty members here now than when I came 23-plus years ago,” she said. “This could be due to a couple of things. One is that the graduate programs in education started when I came, and more have been added since. Most education faculty are women. The other is the nursing major; the vast majority of nurses are women, and the same is true of our nursing faculty.”

While female professors dominate the faculty ranks, the college still has strides to make at the administrative ranks. In its 120-year history, Piedmont has yet to have a female president. And of the four schools at the college, only one – nursing – has a female dean.