Greater Equity in IT

Seeking Greater Equity in the Promotion of IT Professor

In the United States, only about 20 percent of full professors of information technology (IT) are women.

With a $998,053 grant from the National Science Foundation, a team of researchers that includes Elizabeth Long Lingo, assistant professor in The Business School, will explore ways to foster greater equity in the promotion of IT faculty.

The researchers are collaborating with the Association for Information Systems (AIS), an international professional group and a leading organization for IT scholars, to gain additional insight into the role of professional societies and the connections, community, and support they provide, from meeting up with collaborators to developing ties to journal editors and conference organizers.

Long Lingo notes that, in IT, professional associations play a particularly important role for women and underrepresented minorities who want to advance to the rank of full professor. “That’s why it is so important to focus on associations and their role in fostering more equitable outcomes,” she says.

We see an opportunity to forge potentially powerful mechanisms for change across the IT field, and STEM academia more broadly.

Elizabeth Long Lingo

The researchers plan to analyze and improve the way AIS gathers data about IT professors across the globe, create practices that will support women as they aim to become full professors, and implement practices and training programs that will reduce and address biases within AIS and its members.

“From these insights we can understand how associations can play a role in supporting more inclusive scholarship, foster greater diversity among journal editors and award committee members, and build stronger communities of practice among women and underrepresented minorities,” says Long Lingo, a co-principal investigator of the project known as “ImPACT IT: Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in Information Technology.”

“Coupled with gathering data and creating accountability systems based on that data, we see an opportunity to forge potentially powerful mechanisms for change across the IT field, and STEM academia more broadly.”

The grant was awarded under NSF’s ADVANCE program, which aims to increase the number of women in science and engineering by encouraging academic institutions, industry, and professional groups to address factors that impact women in their ranks.

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