Marilla Svinicki

James Stice, right, accepts the Lifetime Acheivement Award from the American Society of Engineering Education for his work in improving teaching effectiveness. 

Photo Credit: Courtesy of James Stice | Daily Texan Staff

James Stice, the Bob R. Dorsey Professor Emeritus in the Cockrell School of Engineering, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society for Engineering Education on June 16. 

The award recognizes his accomplishment on enhancing teaching effectiveness. Norman Fortenberry, the society’s executive director, said he was honored to recognize Stice’s achievement. 

“Dr. Stice is a pioneer in engineering education,” Fortenberry said. “He inspired and mentored multiple generations of faculty members.”

Stice taught in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering for a total of 28 years. During his early years as a faculty member, Stice said he founded and served as the first director of the Center for Teaching Effectiveness. This initiative, which was at first intended for new faculty hires in engineering, was quickly expanded for other faculty members across campus, according to Stice.

Although the the center was eventually closed, educational psychology professor Marilla Svinicki said it leaves a lasting impact.

“When [the center] was in place, it raised [awareness]…of the idea of general teaching skills,” Svinicki said. “It wasn’t something that a lot of people bought into at the time.” 

Svinicki, who has worked together with Stice for 15 years, served as the center’s director after Stice stepped down from the position to return to teaching full-time.

In 1991, Stice also co-founded the National Effective Teaching Institute under the American Society of Engineering Education. The institute offers workshops for engineering instructors.

Svinicki said Stice enjoyed working with students more than doing research during his time teaching on campus.

“He was the most curious person, always willing to try something new,” Svinicki said. “Students were always in his office talking to him. They remembered him.”

Thomas Truskett, chair of the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, experienced firsthand Stice’s passion for teaching. 

“I took a senior-level chemical engineering class from him in the ‘90s,” Truskett said. “He was always the professor that everyone wanted to take. He was able to give you a very realistic [picture] of how the things he was teaching you had an actual impact on the chemical engineering profession to this day, such as how chemical plants are built and how they work and what can go wrong.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article misquoted Truskett about chemical plants and failed to refer to the chemical engineering department by its full name, the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, in his title. 

Two years after a UT task force told chief administrators how to ease the pay gap between male and female faculty, about 59 percent of the UT’s academic core and athletics salary payouts go to half the workforce — the male half.

Though women make up 48 percent of all UT faculty and staff, they earn about 41 percent of the total salary payout, leaving an 18-percent pay gap between male and female UT faculty and staff.

Female full professors make an average of $120,000, while their male counterparts make an average of $134,000 — but there are large disparities between and within different academic departments.

In 2008, the Gender Equity Task Force, a commission created to report on the work environment for female employees at UT, including pay disparity, made several recommendations about how to decrease the gap among faculty.

The official overseeing the implementation of those recommendations, Vice Provost Judith Langlois, said women have gotten higher percent raises since 2008, but many raises aimed at reducing the pay gap will have to wait because of the sluggish economy.

“The whole economy is slowing down the effort to reduce the gap,” Langlois said. “This is not just a one year, ‘Oh, let’s throw some money at it’ and it will go away.”

The Gender Equity Task Force recommended creating alternative criteria for awarding faculty raises, prioritizing intellectual diversity in hiring faculty, recording all tenure cases with the Office of Information Management and Analysis and creating committees to oversee how colleges are making faculty jobs more equitable.

Langlois said the college committees are currently looking at individual units and determining whether some faculty are underpaid.

“That’s not something we can decide at the provost level,” she said. “In the particle physics department, I can’t evaluate whether their highly technical work is moving the field forward. But can people in the physics department tell? Yes.”

The council is currently evaluating the ways faculty productivity is measured across departments so it can address the criteria that departments use to dole out raises, said Jennifer Wilks, an associate English professor and a member of the College of Liberal Art’s Gender Council.

Within academic departments, the disparity between male and female faculty salaries highlights the gender pay gap prevalent across campus.

In the College of Liberal Arts, departments as different as English and Economics have varied gender pay gaps and number of female faculty. In Economics, there is only one female full professor, while there are six in English.

The number of male and female professors is about even in the educational psychology department, but men make an average of $95,000 while female full professors made an average of $84,000. Educational psychology professor Marilla Svinicki said if starting salaries are unequal, most raises are going to be unequal because they are based on the percentage of the salary. Svinicki said she earns money from writing books and keeps her costs lower than the average child-rearing woman, but her salary would be an issue if not for those things.

“I think it’s true for my female colleagues who have children,” she said. “It’s a real problem because they have day care expenses, but they’re getting less money. Women tend to bear the bulk of any child-care expenses.”

Educational psychology professor Diane Schallert said the real injustice is differences in salaries between departments. For example, the education and some liberal arts professors are paid much less than in engineering, Schallert said. Faculty in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction within the College of Education prepare future teachers at schools, but are paid less for harder work, she said.

“They work really hard, and they’re in the schools because they believe in the system of training teachers out there in the schools,” she said. “It’s way harder work than some people do, so I don’t understand why they aren’t being paid the same.”

Researchers have found that sexual discrimination plays a role in gender pay gaps across several fields.

Anthony Carnevale, a Georgetown University education professor, said when researchers control for all possible factors, such as age and choice of career, there is still at least a 10-percent pay disparity between men and women across different fields. Carnevale said he can only attribute the disparity to discrimination.

Associate communication professor Dana Cloud said sexual discrimination is one of history’s holdovers from a bygone era but still inhabits UT and many other institutions. The short-term University efforts to reduce the pay gap have not been effective, she said.

“It could discourage women from coming here, and it certainly discourages women who are already here who are saying I’ve been here as long, I work as hard and my evaluations are strong [as men] and yet I’m not making as much money as my male peers,” Cloud said.