North-Central Section - 57th Annual Meeting - 2023

Paper No. 10-9
Presentation Time: 4:10 PM


JOHNSON, Beth, University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh, Fox Cities Campus, 1478 Midway Rd., Menasha, WI 54952

Studies have shown that only 20% of the geoscience instructors at top-tier universities identify as female. Explanations for this include how female geoscience instructors choose not to work at such institutions or are not able to because of professional goals, gender discrimination, and personal factors like family and health which impact their research productivity. Such studies fail to examine employment motivations behind geoscience instructors at two-year colleges (2YCs) to see if they are in alignment with such explanations. The purpose of this research is to determine the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations for undertaking employment as a geoscience instructor at a two-year college campus and compare those motivations by gender.

Data was collected using a nationwide electronic survey. Preliminary data shows that those respondents who identify as female more frequently chose motivations such as not wanting to perform research (36.8%), family responsibilities (42.1%), personal relationships (13.2%), and avoiding relocation (50%), the latter of which was also an important motivation for those who selected Other/Prefer Not to Answer for their gender identity (100%). Those respondents who identify as male more frequently chose reasons like wanting to change career paths from industry (26.1%) and that a position at a 2YC was the only position available at that time (34.8%). There is significant overlap between all genders for the motivations of working at a teaching-emphasis institution, concerns about tenure requirements, and that teaching at a 2YC was in their career plan. The categories that only had female respondents were for the motivations to teach online (5.3%), medical issues (2.6%), or avoiding sexism/racism/prejudice against gender identity (7.9%).

Additionally, as this research began during the COVID-19 pandemic, the data collected here can serve as a potential baseline measurement as instructors deal with the aftereffects of the pandemic on their teaching, their research, and their family/personal lives, potentially resulting in employment shifts. One study participant selected that part of their motivation to take employment at a 2YC did so because the pandemic affected their ability to perform research and publish.