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Cambridge University Takes A Big Step Forward

In an attempt to diversify their faculty and be more inclusive, Cambridge University has posted a call for female professors. They say that this is because a study showed that of the population of educators throughout the US and the UK, only 22% were women. This means that not only is education limited with regard to the educators’ points of view, it is also limited in the variation of skill: there are some skills that are more predominant in women and which they would like to have both for the teaching aspect and the research aspect, the University says—such as multi-tasking, event planning and other tasks which the University feels will contribute to both the faculty part and the professional part of the job.

The academics also say that Cambridge’s move will be empowering for women: while it is significantly less than a few decades ago, a certain stigma still seems to pervade the academe (especially in further education) when it comes to women professors being given the same privileges as male teachers of the same esteem. Cambridge hopes to bypass this and make it easier for women in the academe to advance. They say that their present system (which is admittedly quite antiquated) definitely favors male professors as the faculty was predominantly male when it was put into place. They mean to change this in the next few years, so that it is gender-neutral.

A University-wide survey conducted for the period January 2013-2014 showed that while there is a significant number of women who work at the university, only a negligible number were professors. Most women working at the University are assistants, secretaries or academic work staff. 78% of the professors at Cambridge are male. Along with the call for female professors, Cambridge is also working on rules and regulations that will better fit a more gender-diverse faculty. They would also like to do away with certain parameters which benefitted only male professors and have, in the opinion of most faculty members, kept women professors from teaching at the establishment previously. They say they are looking forward to announcing these new rules and to introducing their new faculty members.

Furthermore, Cambridge stresses that they are concerned with obtaining success that goes beyond the traditional notions of what it means to achieve. While they say that of course money, grants and awards are important, they would also like to know that they are measuring the things core to an educational institution—they would like to know that their students are learning and that they are doing a good job and teaching. To further this goal, they are making changes in their system by putting out solid markers for students’ skills. They will be beginning this after their women empowerment project has been finalized and implemented.

Cambridge University stresses the need for academic institutions to take steps toward an effective educational system which will help enhance the human experience. They say is the best thing schools can give their students.


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