By Natalie Jeffery
Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writer
Cassidy Pawliczek, an elementary education student at Towson University, has become accustomed to her classrooms being filled with women — both peers and professors. This was not the type of environment that initially led Cassidy to pursue a career in education. Eleven years ago Cassidy sat in her fifth-grade classroom looking up to a male teacher who later inspired her to become an elementary educator.
“He made me more interested in subjects I wasn’t very fond of before,” Pawliczek said. “He made me enjoy going to school much more as well as learning.”
Mr. Kritz, Pawliczek’s teacher, changed her classroom experience. He was one of the first teachers she had who emphasized the ability to make learning an interactive experience.
“We took a field trip to Williamsburg and Jamestown in Virginia and got to learn more about the American Revolution and the Virginia colony,” Pawliczek said. “We also got to build our own protective fort with different materials and had to explain our strategy and why this would be an effective form of shelter.”
While Mr. Kritz had a lasting impression on Pawliczek, he was the only male teacher she had in elementary school. And that’s far from rare.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, during the 2015-2016 year, male teachers only represented 11 percent of elementary school educators while women represented 89 percent.
An analysis of data from Towson University’s website found that male elementary education professors who are tenured or on the tenure track represent 28 percent of the department — among the lowest percentage of all departments across the university.
As of 2016, TU’s representation of women in the College of Business and Economics was almost 36 percent whereas the national average for women in this field was roughly 30 percent. For science and math, TU’s representation is almost 39 percent and the national average is 31 percent, according to Seeberger.
In 2015, Seeberger created the Diversity Faculty Fellows Program at Towson University as a way for professors to diversify curriculum and institutional practices. An economics professor who is participating in the fellowship this upcoming year has a goal to increase female faculty in the economics department due to its gender imbalance.
Seeberger said that she believes this is a goal everyone in the College of Business and Economics would like to achieve.
As of 2018, female professors are least represented in the College of Business and Economics at Towson University while male professors are least represented in the College of Education.
There are even a few departments that have zero male representation. These departments include health science, and women’s and gender studies. Additionally, early childhood education, nursing and dance have low male representation with one tenure-track professor in each.
The accounting and economics departments have the lowest representation of female professors.
Towson University is using searches and outreach to increase the representation of women in colleges that are heavily male. Seeberger gave two examples of how Towson University is doing so. The first example was if the school is in need of female biology professors they may reach out to a biology association with significant female membership. Towson would then request that the caucus release a vacancy announcement to inform the females of the job opening, said Seeberger.
Additionally, Towson might contact schools with high numbers of women who are close to obtaining a doctorate degree. The intention is to inform these females of the job opportunities available.
Female professors make up about 6 percent more of department chairs than men. This data seems to correlate with the overall population of female professors at Towson University.