Reaching Critical Mass: Women in Faculty and Administrative Roles (Report) - Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table

Reaching Critical Mass: Women in Faculty and Administrative Roles (Report)

By Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table

  • Release Date: 2010-06-22
  • Genre: Law
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Reaching Critical Mass: Women in Faculty and Administrative Roles (Report) Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table Book Review Score: ★★★★★ 5/5 stars

Introduction In Chemistry and Physics, critical mass is defined as the smallest amount of a fissionable material that will sustain a nuclear chain reaction, or a condition causing an abrupt change in a quality or material property. In recent literature on underrepresented group status, critical mass is used to describe a minimum number of individuals with certain characteristics that can cause significant change or improvement in a given situation. In other words, when there is a critical mass of women, people of color, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic that differentiates them from the majority, a positive change of status occurs for the whole underrepresented group. The focus here is on the role of women in the academy, so the discussion will be confined to critical mass in terms of number and roles of women in higher education, but the concepts may, in some cases, translate to other traditionally underrepresented groups as well.

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