Perform period gender equity audits and make a corresponding change in data collection and reporting procedures at Colorado State University to ensure meaningful audits.

The 2005-06 project of the Commission on Women and Gender Equity (CWGE or the Commission) was to lay the foundation for a thorough audit on the status of women at Colorado State, which has not been done for a number of years.  In the process of requesting and analyzing date from the Office of Budgets and Institutional Analysis (OBIA), the Commission ran into difficulties as a result of the way such data is collected and reported at the institution.  Our conclusion and resulting recommendation is that the University should institute periodic gender equity audits and change the way certain data is collected and reported.

First, we recommend that the University, as part of its regular reporting and evaluation procedures, institute a periodic gender equity audit of employees in all classifications.  A periodic gender equity audit is important for a number of reasons, including the ability to accurately monitor university progress towards diversity goals; the need to create a fair and equitable working environment for all university employees, including women; the availability of results and institutional changes based on results for recruitment purposes; and the benefits to morale and university climate for women that institutionalization of such an audit would generate.  We have concluded that such periodic audits must be done at the university level, as opposed to a group like the Commission, because of the difficulty such groups have in obtaining information and in requesting information in formats other than those currently used.  Furthermore, the audit should be done by those with particular expertise in analysis and evaluation of such data.

One of the available models for such an audit is the “Report on the Status of Women” at Georgia Institute of Technology, covering the years 1993-1998, available online at: http://www.academic.gatech.edu/study/report/htm.  This study is, in our opinion, an excellent model for Colorado State.

Second, based on its own attempts to gather information to begin an audit on the status of women at Colorado State University, the Commission also recommends that changes be made in the way data is collected and reported at the institution.  Specifically:

  1. Develop mechanisms whereby meaningful salary comparisons can be made between male and female administrative professionals.
    1. Salary comparisons among categories of administrative professionals at the institution are impossible currently because of the enormous range in duties and responsibilities of individuals with the same title (“director,” “manager,” “coordinator”).  For example, OBIA date indicates that the maximum 2004-05 salary at the institution for an administrative professional “director” with a regular appointment is $224,554 (a male) and the minimum is $33,030 (a female).  Despite that enormous range and the gender of the individuals at each end of the range, a comparison is not at all meaningful unless there are comparable duties and responsibilities for both positions.
    2. Another barrier to meaningful comparison is that the data provided to the Commission simply indicated salary title, and gender and did not differentiate the part- or full-time status of the individual.
    3. Meaningful comparisons require, at minimum, identification of similar positions based on such things as size of budgets managed, number of people managed, nature of position, date hired into position, and so on, as well as indication of the full-time percentage of this position.
  2. Report salary data for purpose of the audit or other institutional analysis using these more refined categories for administrative professionals.
  3. Report the full-time percentage of the position as well as, if part-time, what a full-time salary for that position would be.
  4. Continue to use the “Individual Salary Equity Study,” which is based on years since terminal degree, to identify potential salary equity issues among tenured and tenure-track faculty.  This information has been helpful in identifying and, when funding is available, addressing some salary equity issues.  We encourage the university to consider whether other factors, in addition to years since terminal degree, might be added to this analysis in order to fine tune its equity analysis regarding salary of tenure-track and tenured faculty.
  5. Examine positions in which women are well and poorly represented in the state classified system and identify ways in which to evaluate the equity of hiring into particular position classifications.  Salaries for state classified personnel are dictated by the state based on position classification, and numbers of women in some position classifications are so small that meaningful comparisons by positions are difficult.

One result of the data analysis performed by the Commission during the academic year was a determination that most colleges have made positive progress in both hiring and advancement of women.  A concern shared by members of the Commission prior to data analysis was that women might spend longer than their male counterparts at the associate rank; however the data did not indicate significant problems in this regard.