Percentage of women faculty rises at CSUN

OnTay Johnson

The number of women faculty members at CSUN has grown steadily over the years, according to statistics provided by CSUN’s Office of Institutional Research.

In Fall 1987, CSUN had 242 women in 876 filled faculty positions, 28 percent of CSUN’s full-time faculty at the time, according to Institutional Research.

Now, there are 354 women among the 803 full-time faculty positions.

Women make up about 44 percent of the full-time faculty at CSUN.

“As far as numbers go, there are a good number of women in my department,” said Patricia Watkins, interim associate chair and professor of the English Department.

The statistics provided by Institutional Research indicate more women are filling faculty positions.

In Fall 1990, nearly 31 percent of CSUN’s full-time faculty were women.

In 1995, the percentage rose to 33 percent. In 1999, it grew to 38 percent.

But some faculty members said they believe that though these statistics are a positive development, the statistics do not tell the whole story.

Marta Lopez-Garza, associate professor and chair of the Women’s Studies Department, said the numbers make it acceptable for her to say how much CSUN is progressing. The reality, however, cannot be seen if not looked at more intently, she said.

“I want to see the breakdown of race,” she said. “Once we know the racial composition of women teaching on this campus, then we will have and idea of how this university is progressing.”

Lopez-Garza said an examination of the departments in which women instructors are employed must be completed to test how inclusive CSUN really is.

“The bulk (of women professors) are in Pan-African Studies or other ethnic studies programs,” she said. “Are we seeing them not teaching (in) ethnic studies programs?”

Lopez-Garza said when issues about gender are raised, race must also be addressed.

“It’s important that when we look at issues of gender that we also look at issues of race,” she said. “The two can’t be separated.”

Watkins agreed race should also be a concern that goes along with gender.

She said she is the only full-time black faculty member in the English Department.

“I think there has definitely been some progress, but not enough,” said Rosa Furumoto, a professor in the Chicano/a Studies Department. “I think the faculty should reflect the diversity of the community, and if you look at the community we don’t reflect.”

Furumoto said the rise in the number of women faculty members is not enough because women in Chicano/a, Pan-African and Asian Studies make up most of the percentages.

“I feel at home in this department,” she said. “But I know from talking to others that it’s different.”

Sometimes female professors just leave their positions at CSUN, Furumoto said, adding that some are sexually harassed.

“A lot of things happen,” she said. “Women are marginalized a lot more than men.”

Diana Hernandez, sophomore geography major, said she does not see more women in the classes she has taken.

“I have had two female professors out of the 13 classes I’ve taken here in my two years at CSUN,” Hernandez said. “I would say there aren’t many.”

Ontay Johnson can be reached at