Doctoral Student-Faculty Advisor Relationships: The Impact Of Gender Matching On Student Educational And Employment Outcomes
Women continue to be underrepresented as tenure-track faculty members at research institutions despite the growing percentage of women completing doctoral degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Fostering mentoring relationships between women faculty and women doctoral students is commonly proposed as a method for facilitating student success. Yet, there is limited empirical evidence that a doctoral student-faculty advisor gender match contributes to improved outcomes. Thus, I evaluate the impact of advisor gender match on female doctoral students' likelihood of degree completion, time to degree, volume of publications, and post-graduation academic job placement. I analyze survey and administrative data on female and male STEM doctoral students from a selective research university using ordinary least squares, logit, and negative binomial regression analyses in a social identity theoretical framework. For comparison, I evaluate survey and administrative data on Humanities and Humanistic Social Science (HHSS) doctoral students across 13 highly-ranked research institutions. Since HHSS departments tend to have greater proportions of female faculty than STEM departments, they provide a different context for gender matching to operate. I find that numeric representation of female faculty influences student outcomes. An increase in the proportion of female STEM faculty leads to a higher graduation probability and shorter time to degree among female doctoral students. Larger proportions of female faculty may aid in improving climate, visibility of positive role models, and opportunities for informal mentorship. Advisor gender match appears to increase the likelihood of completion for women doctoral students in HHSS departments. In contrast, advisor gender does not impact likelihood of completion, time to degree, or academic job placement among women in STEM departments or among men in STEM and HHSS departments. Rather, advisor attitude toward dissertation completion and frequency of meetings during the dissertation process influence student publication rates, time to degree, and academic placement indicating that positive advising practices can enhance student educational and employment outcomes.
stem; Women; Gender Match
Ehrenberg, Ronald Gordon
Morgan, Stephen L.; Tolbert, Pamela S
Ph. D., Education
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis