increase faculty diversityCampus diversity applies to the entire education population – from students to staff to faculty. Not only do campuses need to enroll a diverse array of students, but they must also employ faculty members from various backgrounds and demographics.

To achieve faculty diversity, campuses strive to hire faculty members of different races, ages, genders, ethnicities and areas of the country. To better understand the strategies behind improving faculty diversity, it’s important to understand the benefits of overall campus diversity.

The Importance of Faculty Diversity

According to the study, “Does Diversity Make a Difference?” sponsored by the American Council on Education (ACE) and the American Association of University Professors, “More than 69 percent [of faculty members] believed that diversity was important for developing students’ willingness to examine their own perspectives and more than 70 percent reported that diversity is important for exposing students to new perspectives.”

With classroom and campus diversity being a main contributor to student education, faculty diversity is imperative to creating educational environments that promote this initiative.

All students, regardless of gender or race, seek a diverse education. According to Lilly Lavner, Associated Colleges of the Midwest CM Coordinator, “Students want to be educated in a diverse environment and to leave college with skills and intercultural capacities that will enable them to thrive in an increasingly global, multicultural, and interconnected world. If you want to prepare your graduates adequately, then enhancing diversity and promoting inclusion initiatives is something you will need to address on your campus.”

Overcoming Challenges to Creating Campus Diversity

Campuses face different challenges based upon factors such as location, mission, history, demographics, traditions, and finances.

Current Diversity Challenges

While the trend is heading toward more a more diverse faculty population, research shows that it’s a slow climb, especially for tenured positions.

According to data from the National Center for Higher Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, “underrepresented minority groups held approximately 13percent of faculty jobs in 2013, up from 9percent in 1993. Yet they still only hold 10percent of tenured jobs, according to the study. Women now hold 49percent of total faculty positions but just 38percent of tenured jobs.”

Funding to Attract Diverse Faculty Members

One way many campuses aim to attract diverse faculty is through financial support. Recently, both Yale University and Brown University dedicated $50 million toward faculty inclusion efforts.

In addition to doubling the number of faculty members from underrepresented minorities by 2022, Brown’s “Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion Plan includes multiple simultaneous strategies aimed at attracting and retaining underrepresented faculty members.” Examples include creating a Presidential Diversity Postdoctoral Fellows Program, investing in faculty mentoring, launching campus networks for faculty members of color, and training professors about biases.

The Next Generation

Aside from financial efforts, attracting the next generation of educators is an important tactic for increasing faculty diversity. Another way to increase faculty diversity is through organizations such as the ThePhDProject recruits minority students working or studying in business-related undergraduate or graduate programs to pursue doctorate degrees. The program, which graduates approximately 50 students each year, notes that nearly 97 percent of alumni teach in higher education institutions.

Ways to Implement Faculty Diversity Strategies

To increase faculty diversity on your campus, begin by assessing your institution’s current diversity status and availability of financial resources to support initiatives. Based on your findings, develop the best methods for your campus, which may include:

  1. Increasing student diversity to attract diverse faculty
  2. Providing ongoing diversity training for faculty, staff, students and campus community
  3. Supporting more diverse curriculum and research opportunities
  4. Creating policies and procedures to support and implementation diversity best practices
  5. Engaging the campus and community to support diversity
  6. Providing mentorship, leadership and promotion opportunities for tenured, diverse faculty members

For more information on implementing strategies to increase campus diversity and faculty diversity, view out diversity and inclusion training.