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Growth of Faculty Diversity Happening Slowly in U.S. Colleges

Colleges and universities across the nation are struggling to recruit and retain diverse faculty who are needed to deliver a well-rounded education, a new study conducted by University of Kentucky College of Education researchers found.

The study “Considering the Ethnoracial and Gender Diversity of Faculty in United States College and University Intellectual Communities,” published in the South Texas College of Law Houston Hispanic Journal of Law and Policy, found that schools granting degrees up to the doctoral level are the least likely to have diversity among their faculty members.

The journal was founded in 2016 to address key issues of importance to the Hispanic community, including social work, public policy, government, and law, in addition to other pertinent fields.

The gender and ethnoracial faculty data, taken from the public Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, found that only 4.6 percent of tenured faculty at such schools are Hispanic, and only 4.05 percent are African American.

Authored by Julian Vasquez Heilig, the incoming dean of the College of Education, the study found that ethnoracial diversity among tenured faculty continues to lag across institutional types.

“While reports have shown modest gains in faculty diversity through the years, most have been in untenured positions,” Vasquez Heilig said in a statement. “We wanted to take a closer look at the data and provide a more thorough description of faculty diversity. Across the board, we found the composition of faculty across the country is not keeping pace with the diversity of the U.S. population.”

The representation of women in tenured faculty level positions at doctoral level institutions also continues to lag behind the men. Only 32.63 percent of women enjoy tenured faculty status within these institutions.

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