Did You Know?

Woman shouting

Are you familiar with self-monitoring behavior? Research published in the Journal of Occupational Psychology finds that when it comes to earning promotions, women who “self-monitor” their behavior to keep stereotypically male behaviors in check are more likely to be promoted.  The research reports that behavioral traits “consistent with successful managers (self-confidence, assertiveness and dominance) are perceived negatively” in women and can lead to a “backlash” effect where women are viewed as more competent, but also “ less socially skilled, less likeable and less likely to be promoted.” Women who were aware of how others perceived them, however, and who self-monitored their behavior to seem more congruent with traditional female stereotypes, were more likely to be promoted.

As one of the researchers commented, “Working women face a real dilemma: if they are seen to behave in a stereotypically male way, they may damage their chances of promotion, even though these traits are synonymous with successful managers. These findings suggest if these women learn how to self-monitor their behavior, they have a better chance of promotion." What do you think? Does this research conclude that we need to “change the women,” or does it point out institutional barriers that need changing?

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Would you teach computing courses without pay?  A story from UCLA’s Daily Bruin about two CS lecturers who decided to do just that provides an interesting student perspective on the value of a computing professor. As post-secondary education evolves in the digital age and students measure the “ROI” of a computing degree, we wonder: Have you thought about how will the growth of online learning and free podcast lectures change the value of a classroom experience? When it comes to teaching abstract theoretical computing, does it matter to students whether you have a PhD or corporate IT experience?

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Do you subscribe to LearnVest? It’s a web-based set of financial resources geared towards women, similar to DailyWorth (whose founder, Amanda Steinberg, was a recent interviewee of our Entrepreneurial Heroes interview series.) LearnVest founder Alexa von Tobel was a Harvard grad who went to work for Morgan Stanley in 2006 to manage other people’s money, without any sense of how to manage her own finances. In 2008 she won a business plan competition sponsored by Astia, and shortly after launching LearnVest  she landed $4.5M in funding from Accel Partners. This week she shared her Top 10 tips for becoming a successful entrepreneur.

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Did you hear that the Gates Foundation is refocusing its sights on K-12 education? This week the foundation launched an RFP for a second round of Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) grants, worth up to $10M, funded in part by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. NGLC is supported by a collaborative of K-12 and post-secondary institutions, including EDUCAUSE,  League for Innovation in the Community College, the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, and the Council of Chief State School Officers.

The RFP calls for programs that focus on improving math and literacy for 7th-9th graders, but can expand to other grades as well.  We love the sound of the features requested in the RFP:  “modular content that can be mixed and matched by learners and teachers; embedded assessment that can capture and assess student performance and provide feedback to improve the learning process; use of interactive and contextualized learning and scaffolded learning that results in deeper disciplinary understanding of concepts; and focus on student progression and mastery of concepts and skills, rather than ‘seat time.’”

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This week General Motors named Mary Barra its new Senior Vice President of Global Product Development, a position in which she will have deep influence on GM’s next generation of products. Previously Barra was VP of Global Human Resources and VP of Global Manufacturing Engineering. With her background in both human resources and manufacturing, and a degree in electrical engineering, GM CTO  Tom Stephens says that Barra’s appointment represents a leadership structure modeled after a telcom or tech company.  Barra is the first woman to hold a leadership role in product development at GM.  What do you think? Is this a step forward and a savvy choice for GM, or is it an example of the “glass cliff” phenomenon, in which women are selected to lead a formerly male-led company through a time of crisis?

Did You Know? is a brief round-up of information and news that crossed NCWIT’s radar this week that we think might be of interest to you. Practices or content of the news presented are not vetted or endorsed by NCWIT. Please join the conversation about Did You Know? by adding your comments.