Summary Results of Rutgers AAUP-AFT Climate Survey – November 2017

To assess the concerns of its members, Rutgers AAUP-AFT undertook an online survey of members during the spring of 2017. 1,765 responded, an overall response rate of about 23%. The sample approximates proportions of the population by rank, but contains a significant overrepresentation of women (63%). Questions focused on three general areas: experiences of sexism/racism, perceptions of working conditions and rewards, and assessment of the climate around diversity in hiring and curriculum.


There were six items asking whether respondents had experienced overt and covert racism/sexism, or whether they had witnessed such acts during their careers at Rutgers. Results appear in figure 1.

Figure 1. Experiences of sexism/racism at Rutgers

In every instance, women were significantly more likely than men to report these experiences; the same was true for tenured and tenure-track (TT) faculty, more likely to report such instances than NTT/PTL/TA/GA faculty. URM faculty (African-American, Hispanic, Native American, multiracial or biracial) and Asian/Indian faculty were more likely than their white counterparts to report experiencing overt or covert racism, URM faculty were more likely to have witnessed racism.  Among those who had personally experienced sexism or racism whether they had reported the incident. In all, 36% of faculty reported sexist incidents, about a third were satisfied with the response. 34% reported racist incidents, 22% were satisfied with the response.

Working conditions/climate/rewards

Answers to many items indicated positive perceptions of the work environment at Rutgers. For example, upwards of 70% of TT faculty and TAs/GAs perceived a supportive environment for their academic work in their departments and at Rutgers; the same was true for half of NTTs and PTLs. Differences between groups largely indicate less positive perceptions by women and URM faculty. For example, one item asked whether faculty believe they receive the same commendations for their achievements as others in their departments. Significantly fewer women agreed with this statement than men, so too did fewer URM and Asian/Indian faculty agree than their white counterparts. Similarly, women were less likely than men to perceive that their promotions and compensation were comparable with similar colleagues in their departments and schools.

One of the most striking differences between men and women TT faculty lay in their perceptions of the distribution of service responsibilities. These results are depicted in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Perceptions of distribution of service responsibilities

In every case, women were significantly less likely than men to perceive that service is divided equally (there were no significant differences by race or rank).

Diversity climate

A series of items tapped this dimension, asking, for example, whether respondents perceive their departments support TT and NTT female faculty and faculty of color in hiring and promotion, or whether their department’s curriculum is conscious and inclusive of race and gender.  Again, white faculty and men were more likely to report positive perceptions. On hiring and promotion and graduate student diversity (a question asked of TAs/GAs, women were less positive than men, as illustrated in Figure 3.

Figure 3. Perceptions of diversity climate

On diversity and curricula, faculty were generally positive, with about 85% perceiving inclusion of gender and race. For the latter item, however, there were significant differences by race, with only 71% of URM faculty in agreement, versus 75% of Asian/Indian faculty and 87% of white faculty.

The survey was designed by the Gender and Race Equity Committee of the AAUP-AFT headed by Deepa Kumar. It drew from a previous survey conducted by the School of Engineering at the New Brunswick campus by Melike Baykal-Gürsoy in 2008-2009. The Center for Women and Work at Rutgers administered the survey, analyzed the results, and provided us with this report. We thank Elaine Zundl and Dana Britton for this.