collegegrad

“…We welcome applications from women and members of historically underrepresented minority groups, persons with disabilities, and others who would bring additional dimensions of experience to our community.” – De rigueur boilerplate at the bottom of a typical job description

Looking around a crowded classroom during the last three Saturdays of students taking a Graduate Records Examination (GRE) preparation course, I repeatedly thought to myself:

Where are the guys?

Can I count them on one hand, including me?

Do women have a better approach toward learning?

Is the pink brain superior to the blue brain?

I don’t want Almost DailyBrett to come across as a whine or to imply that I do not celebrate the shattering of one class ceiling after another, but to question the absence of men…particularly pale males…from one classroom after another.

Is it just a matter that I am looking in all the wrong places? Sure, I know that men can be found in engineering schools, (particularly Asian men) sales conferences, and football practices, but is something more complex happening here?

Is it a case of: Pale + Male + (Assumed Privilege) = No “Additional Dimension of Experience?”

Almost DailyBrett offers zero empirical data to support this uneasy sense, but nonetheless one has to question why aren’t more males competing for advanced degrees or even undergraduate degrees? There is a growing amount of literature questioning why aren’t males doing better academically. Do they (men) believe it is not worth making the effort?

Is this a recent development or part of a multi-decade trend?

Pursuing my bachelor’s degree at the University of Southern California way back when Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter occupied the White House, the ratio of men-to-women students was approximately three-to-one. This was not good news for men (including me) looking for coed attention. Many times we were compelled to outsource to UCLA to find females that were willing to give us (SC guys) the time of day.

In my fraternity house, you became a “Row God” and signed autographs, if a Pi Phi merely breathed on you, let alone permitted any other physical activity. It was all a function of the preponderance of males on university campuses at the time. If women were to be found on campus, it was usually in education or nursing, not the journalism school.

Times have clearly changed and I have absolutely no desire to go back to the days when the scales were so unevenly balanced on behalf of males. I am just wondering whether the pendulum has swung to the point of no return?

Checking out the U.S. News & World Report gender stats for the campuses of the Pac-12 Conference, seven have female majorities (e.g., Arizona, Cal, Oregon, UCLA, USC, Washington and WSU); four have male majorities (e.g., Colorado, OSU, Stanford and Utah); one is locked in a 50-50 percent statistical tie (e.g., ASU).

Looking deeper, the ratios are relatively close with Utah having the largest percentage of males, 55 percent, and UCLA having the highest percentage of females, 55 percent. Liberal arts schools and those located near the coast trend toward female majorities, while engineering, scientific, agriculture and mountain schools tend to have more males.

Could my feelings of unease simply revolve around my teaching at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, amplified by the fact that I have served as an instructor of public relations? Women absolutely dominate public relations as they do real estate and local government. If you don’t believe me, just check out virtually any metropolitan public relations agency.

Coming back to my Saturday GRE class, I didn’t recognize any of the perspective graduate students as hailing from our journalism school. They were coming from other disciplines on campus. The ratio in my GRE class is about seven-to-one, female.

Is this the experience at other public research universities? And if it is, what does it mean for the future? Sounds like a great research project.

Technology has produced a paradigm shift in how work gets done in this country and other developed nations around the world.

The days in which we relied on brute strength, ignorance and testosterone for the majority of the heavy lifting in the workplace are in the rear-view mirror. Today, we are focused on productivity. Today, we rely on a service-oriented economy. The “services” provided by knuckle-draggers in the form of brute strength, ignorance and testosterone are no longer desired. Can they (e.g., males en masse) shift to providing services with a smile? I have my doubts.

Can I prove the reasoning behind my trepidation about the future of men? Not yet. Can I deny that I have these concerns? No.

Are all men doomed to being academic second-class citizens? There are going to be men that will do well, very well. As a gender, I suspect that blue brains are taking a back seat to pink brains.

Some may inclined to think: How come it took you so long to come to this obvious conclusion?

http://www.usnews.com/rankings

http://www.askmen.com/entertainment/better_look/7b_why-schools-arent-built-for-boys.html

http://news.slashdot.org/story/13/01/04/1555229/why-girls-do-better-at-school

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/05/01/pr%E2%80%99s-endangered-species/

Advertisements