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Recent graduate Jamie Verwys' story on lower salaries for women in university leadership roles took first place nationally in the 2019 Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Student Magazine Contest in the investigation and analysis category.
She wrote the story, "Exploring gender gap in Arizona's college leadership," for Arizona Sonora News as a senior in retired Professor Terry Wimmer's capstone publication class.
In an analysis of salary data for leadership positions such as deans and directors at Northern Arizona, Arizona State and the University of Arizona, Verwys found that the average salary of women in those leadership roles at ASU and UA were lower than men. All three colleges have experienced an increase in the average salary of female leaders over time. However, the UA’s male averages for deans and directors continued to increase at a slightly higher rate.
"Professor Wimmer suggested the topic, I pursued it and then kind of determined what my focus would be," said Verwys, a 2018 School of Journalism graduate. "I worked so hard on this piece. Months of data collection and analysis — the biggest data project I've ever done."
When Verywys published the story in May 2018, the UA faced a lawsuit from former Honors college Dean Patricia MacCorquodale, who alleged that she and other female deans at the UA are underpaid. Last week, the Arizona Board of Regents agreed to pay a total of $190,000 to MacCorquodale and two other former UA deans to settle the gender discrimination lawsuit that began in January 2018.
Verwys became the Tucson Weekly's web editor last month after spending a year as a local government reporter at Herald/Review Media in Sierra Vista.
"Jamie has the potential to be a great journalist," Wimmer said. "She finds clarity in data and communicates it to her readers."