Research by Mangala Subramaniam

© 2019 Mangala Subramaniam

Climate and Inclusion - Reliable and Valid Measures

For more information on this study please contact
A note on conceptualization and operationalization of measures for climate is available here.


We developed a pilot survey instrument to test the validity and reliability of the above discussed seven sub-dimensions of climate which comprised a total of 44 measures. We created the questionnaire in Qualtrics, a web-based survey tool. Questions were grouped by whether they referred to experience or perceptions, with experience questions being rated on a three-point frequency scale (frequently to never) and perception questions being rated on a five-point agreement scale (strongly agree to strongly disagree). We included additional demographic variables in the survey- rank, years in rank, gender, and whether subjects had attended a college-level meeting in the past year. Given our interest in testing for validity and reliability, we did not allow participants to skip questions, an option enabled by the Qualtrics software. Approval was obtained for the use of human subjects from the university’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). We used a consent form as approved by the IRB.

Analytic Strategy

For our reliability and validity analysis, we relied on two key statistics: coefficient alpha and factor analysis (Spector, 1992). Coefficient alpha (Cronbach, 1951) is a measure of the internal consistency of a scale. It is usually positive and takes on values from 0 to just under 1.0 where larger values indicate higher levels of internal consistency. We use Nunnally’s (1978) widely accepted rule of thumb that alpha should be at least 0.70 for a scale to demonstrate internal consistency.


The final set of reliable and valid measures is listed below. Alpha (α) is reported from reliability tests. Validity of scales are based on factor analysis; factor loadings are in parentheses.

(A) Mistreatment Experience: Verbal (α = 0.86)

  • Being yelled at (0.630)
  • Being prevented from expressing your opinion in meetings (0.668)
  • Having someone try to turn others in your department against you (0.683)
  • Being the target of a derogatory verbal remark (0.731)
  • Being pressured to change opinions (0.665)
  • Being called demeaning names (0.523)
  • Humiliation in front of others (0.779)
  • Belittled (0.778)
  • Being discouraged from speaking in department meetings (0.755)

Response options were on a frequency of occurrence scale of 1 (Never) to 3 (Regularly)

(B) Mistreatment Perception: Verbal (α = 0.90)

  • Some faculty have a condescending attitude toward LGBTQ people (0.840)
  • Some faculty have a condescending attitude toward women (0.807)
  • Some faculty have a condescending attitude toward racial/ethnic minorities (0.895)

Response options were on an agreement scale of 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 5 (Strongly Agree)

(C) Bias: Implicit (α =0.84)

  • Yearly evaluations at the department level are fair (0.708)
  • Criteria for research support at the department level is uniformly applied (0.746)
  • There is adequate feedback regarding progress toward promotion (0.587)
  • My research is valued in my department (0.792)
  • My teaching is valued in my department (0.796)
  • I do not know the criteria for allocation of research support in my department (0.667)
  • My service contributions to my department are ignored (0.718)

Response options were on an agreement scale of 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 5 (Strongly Agree)

(D) Bias: Explicit (α= 0.83)

  • Research on race and gender is devalued in my department (0.671)
  • Members of my department have hostile views toward racial/ethnic minorities (0.817)
  • Members of my department have hostile views toward women (0.741)
  • Members of my department have hostile views toward LGBTQ people (0.759)
  • Women are consistently denied tenure in my department (0.640)
  • Racial/ethnic minorities are consistently denied tenure in my department (0.762)
  • My department doesn’t offer accommodation for faculty with disabilities (0.440)
  • Faculty who have needs for accommodation in my department are reluctant to bring it up (0.548)

Response options were on an agreement scale of 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 5 (Strongly Agree)

References Cited

Cronbach, L.J. (1951). Coefficient Alpha and the Internal Structure of Test. Psychometrika 16: 297-334.
Spector, P. (1992). Summated Rating Scale Construction: An Introduction. New York: Sage.


Research Assistant: Zak Palmer


Recognition and Women’s Success: Associates in the Academy

© 2019 Mangala Subramaniam

Gendered forms of recognition have implications for who is rewarded and how power is structured. For instance, in the academy women’s success is often attributed to luck or affirmative action. Such attribution adversely affects the recognition of women’s accomplishments with variations in experiences among women as well as if race and ethnicity is considered. Structural conditions shape experiences and so the presence or absence of conducive conditions, often referred to as ‘climate’ will likely result in different outcomes for women compared to men. Women can get close enough to the ‘glass ceiling’ but few can break through the seemingly invisible barrier that excludes them. Though women have moved into academic positions in universities in increasing numbers over the past few decades, they are still under represented at the highest rank, that of full professor. How can we break down the barriers that women face at this level? The main goal of the proposed project was to examine the barriers faced by associate professors and develop recommendations. It is expected that institutional mechanisms identified through this project will lead to models of best practices for universities to adopt. The study was conducted in the College of Liberal Arts this year (2017).

The faculty fellow exploratory project comprised four parts. The first part involved ‘taking stock’ which involved examining current trends in promotion of associates (women and men). The second part focused on gathering information about the practices that two major universities had put in place to facilitate the recognition of post-tenure faculty: Michigan State University and University of Nebraska. The third involved organizing two main events: a meeting separately for assistant and associate professors in CLA to review promotion procedures and guidelines and a panel of two invited speakers for a workshop for associates followed by presentations focused on recognition of associates. In the fourth part, primary data about recognition and climate related experiences of associates were gathered through focus groups and in-depth interviews with associates in CLA.

Key Accomplishments:

To make information about promotion criteria and processes available to faculty, the meeting organized for assistants and associate (as two separate groups) will continue annually. Report was presented at CLA Senate’s Spring 2018 meeting. See full report here.

Research Assistant: Zak Palmer


Building an Effectiveness Tool for Coaching and Resource Network (CRN)

© 2019 Mangala Subramaniam

The CRN was created to support faculty members, specifically assistant and associate professors. Currently the CRN has a diverse set of 19 full professors from across disciplines and colleges. Although open to all assistant and associate professors, only women and women of color have elected to participate.

In a comprehensive review of scholarship on mentoring, de Janasza and Sullivan (2004), rely on past studies to note that complexities and challenges in within and outside institutions make the single mentor-mentee model insufficient. Faculty members may rely on a network of coaches who can serve different functions such as being a role model or providing career-related or emotional support (Corneille et al 2019). In addition, programs such as the CRN can have the potential to minimize barriers by decreasing isolation and alienation and increasing opportunities for collaboration. Initiatives such as the CRN can provide access to key scholarly networks or opportunity structures which build social capital and make mentees privy to the unwritten rules of the institutional culture and the larger discipline

Measuring the effectiveness and impact of such an initiative is complex. In addition to the very straightforward tangible measure of tenure and promotion, the tool is intended to capture its wider functions that perhaps has an effect on productivity.

References Cited

Corneille, Maya, Anna Lee, Sherrice Allen, Jessica Cannady, Alexia Guess. (2019). “Barriers to the advancement of women of color faculty in STEM: The need for promoting equity using an intersectional framework.” Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal. 38(3): 328-348

de Janasza, Suzanne C. and Sherry E. Sullivan. (2004). “Multiple mentoring in academe: Developing the professorial network.” Journal of Vocational Behavior 64 (2004) 263–283


Purdue University, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-4600

© 2019-2020 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence

Trouble with this page? Disability-related accessibility issue? Please contact Office of Maintained by Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence at