Influences on female counseling psychology associate professors' decisions regarding pursuit of full-professorship

Nathan T Pruitt, Marquette University


In most areas of academia, including counseling psychology, significantly more men than women have achieved full professorship. The reason for this discrepancy is not understood, and there is a dearth of research on this topic. Twelve women who were tenured associate professors of counseling psychology were interviewed regarding their interest in promotion to full-professor. Most participants indicated a strong interest in promotion, and most stated there was nothing that would change their minds about wanting to obtain promotion. Participants agreed that major benefits of full-professorship were an increase in salary and prestige, though there was little agreement about the drawbacks of promotion. Many of the participants reported their universities had vague written guidelines describing what was needed to attain promotion at their universities. These vague criteria caused many women to informally seek further clarification of the written criteria from colleagues and other sources. Pursuit of full-professorship appeared to be encouraged by having a current mentor, receiving encouraging feedback about applying for full professor, and publishing notable research. In contrast, pursuit of promotion appeared to be discouraged by not having a current mentor, feeling discriminated against by departmental colleagues, negative tenure and promotion experiences, feeling that colleagues did not value the participants' research contributions, and by having a conflict between career and family priorities. Implications for research and women in academia are discussed.

Recommended Citation

Pruitt, Nathan T, "Influences on female counseling psychology associate professors' decisions regarding pursuit of full-professorship" (2005). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI3201929.