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Marshall University Multicultural Affairs Recruitment of Underrepresented Minority Group Faculty Survey Summary Report. by Betty Jane Cleckley, Ph.D. Vice President for Marshall University Multicultural Affairs Huntington, WV with assistance of David Ochieng Okoth Graduate Assistant

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Marshall University Multicultural AffairsRecruitment of Underrepresented MinorityGroup Faculty SurveySummary Report

by

Betty Jane Cleckley, Ph.D.

Vice President for Marshall University Multicultural Affairs

Huntington, WV

with assistance of

David Ochieng Okoth

Graduate Assistant

September 15, 2006

abstract
ABSTRACT
  • Universities in the 21st Century are increasingly recognizing the importance of closing the gap between the diversity of the student and faculty bodies. Therefore, colleges and universities have created a variety of programs and strategies to rectify this anomaly. This study, based on a national survey conducted by Marshall University Multicultural Affairs Fall 2005, presents the progress made regarding underrepresented faculty in predominately white institutions.
the study
THE STUDY
  • Universities in the 21st Century are recognizing the importance of closing the gap between the diversity of the student body and the diversity of the faculty. Within the last decade, many colleges and universities have created a variety of programs and strategies to increase the number of underrepresented minority group faculty in predominantly white institutions.
  • However, there is still much room for improvement as statistics show that approximately 90 percent of full-time faculty members in the United States are white (Kayes and Singley, 2005).
  • During Fall 2005, Marshall University Multicultural Affairs designed a survey to determine what types of programs have been established to address this issue and to identify the strategies and strengths of these programs as well s the obstacles they face. Essentially, the study is a descriptive report of the practices of higher education institutions in increasing underrepresented group faculty.
methodology
METHODOLOGY

The Research tool

The basic research tool was the questionnaire mailed to institutions of higher learning nationally. In the initial mailing, 172 questionnaires were disseminated at random irrespective of whether they were private or public, large or small, urban or rural based, and whether they were graduate research universities or undergraduate; 40 of these schools and colleges responded. Thirty-eight completed the questionnaire and two respondents declined to participate in the survey; of the six open-ended items explored, a 70 percent response rate was achieved.

This research sought to elicit responses to the following key issues:

  • Describe programs aimed at increasing underrepresented minority group faculty e.g., African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans.
  • Identify institutional strengths that enhanced the recruitment of underrepresented minority group faculty.
  • Identify any obstacles encountered.
  • Comment on the strategies utilized, the procedure or process used to recruit, hire and retain underrepresented minority group faculty.
  • Comment on the advantages and disadvantages of the program.
  • Make any additional comments that they felt would be relevant to the research.
programs
PROGRAMS

Programs Described to Increase Underrepresented Group Faculty (Partial List):

  • Hiring post-doctoral candidates as “fellows” offers low teaching loads to give these individuals time to finish a dissertation. Providing supplemental resources to colleges and academic units to hire and retain diverse faculty helps in the adjustment of these candidates and reviewing any bias that may occur in the search helps to give all candidates a fair chance at these positions
  • A council is set up to identify the “best practices” that departments use in hiring minority group faculty within the university, which may be applicable to other departments in the university, and it also helps departments in their searches by identifying sources of minority candidates
  • Central administration will pay minority faculty higher salaries beginning with a rate that levels off over the following three years. Central university funds will also help pay for minority hires for three to five years, at which time the individual school(s) will begin to cover those costs
the results
THE RESULTS

Participating Institutions

the results7
THE RESULTS

Nationally, Pennsylvania was ranked the most responsive with five institutions participating in this survey whereas New York, California, and Ohio tied at 3 institutions each.

Table 2: Table of Numbers of Institutions according to State

*Figures from National Center for Educational Statistics: http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d97/d97t242.asp

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Respondents’ Noted Strengths

Below are the institutional strengths that enhance recruitment of underrepresented faculty (27 different categories of responses were reported). Among the major strengths were:

  • 12 respondents applauded the commitment of the Office of the Provost and/or President
  • Nine respondents cited an environment of University-wide commitment
  • Eight noted the large mass of (helpful) minority faculty
  • Eight respondents observed the formation of committees/centers/institutes for the study of race and ethnicity
  • Another eight reported being an urban campus
  • Seven noted departmental diversity plans and responsibility
  • Seven also pointed to the large local minority population
  • And, seven noted a large minority student enrollment.
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Other strengths are as follows
  • Involvement of Affirmative Action Officer
  • Advertising in publications likely to be read by underrepresented faculty
  • Charging responsibility to department chairs and search committees whereby accountability is required. Search committees are required to generate a plan of action.
  • A Community of Scholars Programs formed to link graduate students of color with their peers across the institution.
  • Postdoctoral fellowship programs
  • Reduced teaching loads for underrepresented minority group
  • Faculty hired as ABD’s

(Refer to Table 3)

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Other initiatives of significance derived from the survey
  • A respondent stated that from 1992 – 2003, there was a Black faculty Strategic Initiative, which sought to double the number of black faculty and, in fact, accomplished this goal one year ahead of schedule.
  • Another response was that a Faculty Search Ambassador project provides a half time faculty member and full-time analyst to work with search committees and to develop and update a list of places to advertise and recruit women and minorities.
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Obstacles Encountered

Obstacles encountered with respect to recruiting, hiring, and training underrepresented faculty (25 different categories of response were reported). Among them:

  • Nine respondents noted the lack of qualified candidates in some fields, e.g., Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics
  • Seven respondents noted a lack of financial resources to supplement recruitment budgets or to offer competitive salaries
  • Seven cited the faculty culture
  • Five noted a lack of retention of hirees
  • Four described a small/suburban college town
  • Four reported the small local minority population
  • Four highlighted a small number of diverse faculty and students

(Refer to Table 4)

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Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages and Disadvantages of the programs and strategies respondents used to increase numbers of underrepresented faculty are outlined as follows:

Advantages of the programs and strategies

  • Increased awareness and outreach efforts aimed at attracting young scholars and moving toward more diverse faculty.

Disadvantages of the programs and strategies

  • Difficulties securing faculty support at the departmental level where the majority of hiring occurs.
  • Limited fiscal opportunities and resources make meeting objectives of diversity efforts difficult.
  • Pace toward achieving racial-ethnic faculty is slow, and at times frustrating.
major finding
MAJOR FINDING

The small percentage of returns recommends against making generalizations from this study to the population at large. However, the recurring theme among the respondents was that institutions of higher education manifest commitment to diversifying the faculty through a variety of initiatives, projects, and efforts. Some are well along in the process, revealing a heightened atmosphere of campus interest and support. While the study reveals some clear successes, there are some clear limitations in terms of institutionalizing faculty diversity. This Study should help point way for the other institutions to practice what works and has worked for respondents successfully.

future prospects
FUTURE PROSPECTS

This survey has been successful in identifying broad trends with regards to institutional strengths and obstacles with respect to the recruitment, hiring, and training of under represented faculty.

This study recommends an in depth follow-up initiative concerning the various strategies utilized to diversify faculty.

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Table 3. Institutional strengths that enhance the recruitment of underrepresented minority group faculty.

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Table 4. Obstacles encountered in establishing and maintaining a program to increase underrepresented minority group faculty.