CWAE / COSBAE Survey Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ list has been adapted on the basis of information provided by CSWEP.

Currently, only the survey for department heads is available.


Helpful Definitions

Diversity: The concept of diversity acknowledges that every individual is unique, and recognizes our individual differences. This may be along dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.

Inclusion: The concept of inclusion encompasses involvement and empowerment, where the inherent worth and dignity of all people are recognized. An inclusive environment promotes and sustains a sense of belonging - valuing and practicing respect for the talents, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of living of its members.

Underrepresented Minority: Our definition of an underrepresented minority is an individual who is a member of a group that has historically comprised a minority of the US population, and whose racial or ethnic makeup includes, but is not limited to, the following groups: African American / Black, Asian American / Asian, American Indian / Alaskan Native, Hispanic / Latinx, and people of two or more races. This designation would also include foreign born persons who fall within any of these categories.

General Questions

Q: Why are we conducting this survey?
A: The missions of the Committee on Women in Agricultural Economics (CWAE) and the Committee on the Status of Black Agricultural Economists (COSBAE) includes monitoring the positions of women and underrepresented minorities in the profession and undertaking professional activities to improve those positions. Since 1972, the American Economic Association (AEA) has charged the Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession (CSWEP) to conduct an analysis of data on the gender composition of faculty and students in U.S. economics departments. We seek to create a similar set of data for the agricultural and applied economics profession, while considering broader metrics of diversity.

Q: What happens with the results?
A: We will give a presentation at the Summer 2019 AAEA Annual Meetings with our findings from this survey. We will also prepare a manuscript for publication in the following year. Findings will be distributed through the AAEA listserv and will also be posted on this page.

Q: Is this different from the CSWEP Annual Survey, or the AEA’s Universal Academic Questionnaire (UAQ), or the AEA’s Climate Survey?
A: Yes. However, there may be overlap in some questions. We are focused only on agricultural and applied economics departments, and therefore we survey a smaller number of departments than CSWEP or AEA surveys. This survey targets department heads / chairs and is thus distinct from the AEA climate survey, which targets individuals in the broader economics profession. We will also be following up with a survey of individuals in agricultural and applied economics departments to pair with the data from this survey.

Q: I am not comfortable submitting my contact information through the online survey. What can I do?
A: Departmental contact data is essential in helping us to ensure we are reaching all departments. Contact data submitted through the online survey will be viewed only by the research team. However, we understand your concern. Please consider submitting a PDF version instead or contacting to arrange an alternate submission method.

Q: Can I submit partial data?
A: Yes. While the integrity of our survey depends on receiving as complete information as possible, we would still prefer to receive partial data than no data at all.

Q: Can I make edits to my survey after I submit?
A: Yes. To edit a survey you have already submitted – for example to add data to a survey initially submitted with partial data – send an email to You will then receive instructions to make edits.

Faculty Questions

Q: Who are tenure track faculty?
A: Tenure-track faculty are those who hold voting rights in your department and carry titles such as Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor.

Q: Who are non-tenure track faculty?
A: Non-tenure track faculty do not or may not hold voting rights in your department. Non-tenure track faculty may have titles such as Adjunct, Instructor, or Lecturer. 

Q: Who are visiting or sabbatical faculty?
A: Visiting and sabbatical faculty from another institution should not be counted, even though they are currently visiting your department. You should, however, include faculty on sabbatical who are expected to return to your department.

Q: I am uncertain under which category to count a particular faculty member. What should I do?
A: Please make a note of the count and the faculty’s relationship with your department in the comments box in the online survey or email:

Student Questions

Q: Should student counts be based on graduation term (final semester prior to degree conferral) or degree conferral date (term awarded)?
A: We refer to academic years as Fall, Spring and Summer terms (i.e. Academic Year 2018-19 = Fall 2018, Spring 2019 and Summer 2019). For example, it is assumed that students completing their studies by Summer 2019 will graduate in Academic Year 2018-19. If you are still uncertain how to enter student data, or if your institution observes a different academic year, please make a note explaining your situation in the comments box on the online survey, by adding a text note to the PDF version or by sending an email to: