Secret Service: Revealing Gender Biases in the Visibility and Value of Faculty Service

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Abstract

Although the demand for faculty service has increased substantially in recent years, the workload is not shared equitably among tenure-track faculty (Guarino & Borden, 2017; Pyke, 2011). Women faculty tend to spend more time on service activities than men, and they tend to perform important yet less institutionally recognized forms of service like mentoring, committee work, emotional labor, and organizational climate control (Babcock, Recalde, Vesterlund, & Weingart, 2017; Misra, Lundquist, Holmes, & Agiomavritis, 2011). Drawing from the theory of gendered organizations (Acker, 1990), this interview study examined how institutional gender biases impact the visibility and evaluation of faculty service across the tenure-track career trajectory. Our findings reveal how task-oriented forms of service tend to be more visible and valued than relationally oriented service. In addition to addressing a gap in the literature, our study presents practical recommendations to make service more visible, valuable, and equitable across faculty ranks and gender identities.

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