Prof diversity behind curve

By Mika Mandelbaum
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, October 6, 2005

ASU, NAU ahead of UA in ethnic minority faculty percentages

Departments across campus are trying to increase their faculty diversity, but recent reports show the UA as a whole is trailing behind the other two state universities in its percentage of ethnic minority faculty.

Each university's report on faculty includes professors, associate professors and assistant professors, and does not include instructor, lecturer, research or visiting titles.

Arizona State University leads the three Arizona state universities with the highest percentages of blacks at 2.4 percent, Asian Americans at 9 percent and Hispanics at 6.6 percent, according to the ASU Institutional Analysis Web site.

Northern Arizona University has the highest percentage of American Indian faculty at 3.3 percent and the highest percentage of white faculty at 83.5 percent, said Tom Bauer, assistant director for the Office of Public Affairs at NAU.

The UA does not lead in any of the faculty ethnic minority categories, but is making efforts to change that, said Vice Provost Juan Garcia.

"It's important that the faculty reflect the kind of population that we serve and educate," Garcia said. "They bring a quality that is very much needed at university campuses, a quality of work and a quality of perspective."

It is against federal law to set quotas or goals for recruiting minority faculty, so the UA has a goal to simply attract as many minority faculty members as possible, Garcia said.

Success of diversity recruitment efforts vary from college to college, usually because the pool of minority candidates is higher in certain fields than others, Garcia said.

"In some colleges there have been significant strides and in others the success has not been as great as we'd like," Garcia said.

The James E. Rogers College of Law is one of the most successful colleges in diversity recruitment with a 25 percent minority faculty, Garcia said.

Faculty diversity comparison

Total Faculty

Black 22 11 55
American Indian 18 30 20
Asian American 99 204 19
Hispanic 73 149 28
White 1278 1830 512


Black 1.38 2.43 1.79
American Indian 1.13 1.32 3.26
Asian American 6.21 8.99 3.10
Hispanic 4.58 6.57 4.57
White 80.23 80.69 83.52

Faculty includes all professors, associate professors and assistant professors. It does not include adjunct, lecturers, clinical, emeritus, research or visiting titles.

Sources: UA Diversity Action Plan Progress Report, ASU Institutional Analysis Web site and Tom Bauer, assistant director of Office of Pulblic Affairs at NAU

The College of Education has shown the greatest improvement in recruiting diverse faculty members over the past few years. Since 2001, the College of Education minority faculty grew from 9 percent to 17 percent, Garcia said.

Ron Marx, dean of the College of Education, said he meets with every faculty search committee to talk about the importance of diversity in a college where about 35 percent of the students are minorities.

"We need to make sure our faculty is prepared and can address the issues," Marx said. "We have a very high need for (diverse faculty) and I need to make sure everyone understands that."

Competitive starting salary packages also help with the College of Education's success in diverse recruitment, with starting packages valuing $35,000 to $40,000.

"The leading education schools have the same kinds of packages, so we're in good competition with them," Marx said.

Recruiting diverse faculty is difficult because there is strong competition among universities across the country to diversify their faculty and staff, which gives people in the job market a lot of opportunities to choose from, Garcia said.

The UA has also had trouble because some people want to live in a larger metropolitan area than Tucson and the search committees do not always do a good enough job of trying to address a diverse applicant pool, Garcia said.

But every college finds its own individual ways to diversify its faculty.

The College of Public Health uses connections to national groups within the American Public Health Association as a way to find minority experts in the field, said Dean G. Marie Swanson.

The department of mathematics' faculty expose themselves to diversity issues and organizations outside of the classroom, said Nicholas Ercolani, head of the department.

Mathematics faculty members run programs such as the Center for the Mathematics Education of Latinos, the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans, and the Native American Summer Institute, to name a few, Ercolani said.

"I think the university is like most universities around the country, but the difference here is that we have a president and a provost who care about diversity," Swanson said. "But even with that, we still have a long way to go."