The most significant initiative to support women in higher education at the University of Arizona as the year 2000 begins is the UA Millennium Project: Enhancing Campus Climate for Academic Excellence.
The Millennium Project was initiated in part as a response to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology study on the status of women faculty in science, and has received the complete endorsement of University of Arizona President Peter Likins. The work of the Millennium Project is prompted by the observation that women are underrepresented in faculty positions at different levels at The University of Arizona, and that even in cases where women are not statistically under-represented, their voices are not always being heard. Not only are there gaps between salary levels of female and male faculty members, but salary disparities can be viewed as an outcome of the cumulative effects of discrepancies between male and female faculty in availability of research funds and lab space; teaching assignments and advising workload; collegial support; appointments to key committees; and roles in departmental, college, and university decisions.
The aim of the Millennium Project is to enhance the development of an institutional culture at The University of Arizona that fosters productivity, creativity, and academic excellence. The Project supports The University of Arizona's goal of achieving an enabling academic climate that will allow all faculty, staff, and students to be productive and unhindered by any impediments due to considerations of gender or race/ethnicity.
The UA Millennium Project can serve as a national model for analyzing and improving the status of women in higher education. As a Research I, land-grant, state university, with 1,600 faculty and 34,000 students, The University of Arizona represents a large-scale model of the challenges facing women and minority faculty in higher education at large. The UA Millennium Project aims to examine the situation of faculty at all thirteen colleges at the university, ranging from Science and Medicine to Agriculture and Humanities.
The Millennium Project involves analysis of quantitative institutional data on workload, compensation, and promotion patterns, as well as qualitative data from focus group interviews with female and male faculty members randomly selected from every college, discussion group interviews with existing groups of women faculty, and survey data on faculty perspectives drawn from The University of Arizona's participation in a recent national survey of 400 higher education institutions (34,000 faculty responses nationwide) conducted by the University of California Los Angeles Higher Education Research Institute.
The Millennium Project is supported by a National Advisory
Board, composed of scholars with expertise in the area of gender and compensation
in higher education; a Community Advisory Board, composed of leading members
of the local community with commitment to the excellence of higher education
in the state of Arizona; and a Campus Advisory Board, composed of representatives
of different colleges, organizations, and leadership positions at The University
of Arizona. The collaborative leadership for the Millennium Project
is provided by Association for Women Faculty President Naomi Miller, Commission
on the Status of Women Chair Myra Dinnerstein, and Project Director Christine
Cress (Portland State University).