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Faculty Gender Diversity, Institutional Performance, and the Role of Diversity Climate


The current study examined the relationship between faculty gender diversity (GD) and college and university level outcomes and the role that diversity climate (DC) plays in these relationships in a sample of N = 282 4-year, public and private, non-profit, degree granting institutions in the U.S. Based on social categorization and signaling theories, we hypothesized a negative effect of increasing percentages of female faculty on institutional student graduation and retention rates measured at three points in time. We also hypothesized that these negative effects would be attenuated in higher education institutions with more positive DCs. Results revealed that faculty GD had a consistent linear negative effect on graduation and retention rates with little evidence for a moderating effect of DC. Supplemental analyses using cross-lagged panel analyses on a larger sample of 4-year, public and private, non-profit, U.S. degree granting institutions found that these negative effects were consistent across time, lending support for the causal effect of faculty GD.

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The authors would like to thank Jennifer Bustamante for her critical role in the data collection process and Belinda Rae for her important contributions to the revision of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Elissa L. Perry.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. No funding was received.

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Perry, E.L., Kulik, C.T., Mendelsohn, D.B. et al. Faculty Gender Diversity, Institutional Performance, and the Role of Diversity Climate. Res High Educ 63, 1204–1236 (2022).

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  • Faculty gender diversity
  • Graduation rates
  • Retention rates
  • Diversity climate