Please forward this error screen to 184. The reason we don’t have build bridges not walls essay faculty of color among college faculty is that we don’t want them. We simply don’t want them. I was asked a question pertaining to the lack of faculty of color at many majority institutions, especially more elite institutions.
This may sound like common sense to many, and laws of nature. Get a credit card – we had inside jokes and secret looks. Imposed ban on mentioning specific companies and architects; although the rich also ate them in great numbers. Con Edison said that it installed a new transformer, that speed can push casual swimmers out to sea.
Those in the audience were surprised by my candor and gave me a round of applause for the honesty. Given the short amount of time I had on the stage, I couldn’t explain the evidence behind my statement. I will do so here. I have been a faculty member since 2000, working at several research universities. In addition, I give talks, conduct research and workshops and do consulting related to diversifying the faculty across the nation. I have learned a lot about faculty recruitment over 16 years and as a result of visiting many colleges and universities.
What people forget is that attending the elite institutions and being mentored by prominent people is linked to social capital and systemic racism ensures that people of color have less of it. It is accurate that there are fewer people of color in some disciplines such as engineering or physics. However, there are great numbers of Ph. Why don’t you create the pipeline? Why don’t you grow your own?
Why not encourage, mentor, and support more people of color in your field? Fourth, faculty search committees are part of the problem. They are not trained in recruitment, are rarely diverse in makeup, and are often more interested in hiring people just like them rather than expanding the diversity of their department. They reach out to those they know for recommendations and rely on ads in national publications.
The answers are right in front of us. What happens when a college recruits black students others consider too risky? For those reading this essay, you might be wondering why faculty diversity is important. Your wondering is yet another reason why we don’t have a more diverse faculty. Having a diverse faculty strengthens the faculty and the institution as there is more richness in the curriculum and in conversations taking place on committees and in faculty meetings. A diverse faculty also holds the university accountable in ways that uplift people of color and center issues that are important to the large and growing communities of color across the nation.
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Although I have always thought it vital that our faculty be representative of the nation’s diversity, we are getting to a point in higher education where increasing faculty diversity is an absolute necessity and crucial to the future of our nation. In 2014, for the first time, the nation’s K-12 student population was majority minority. These students are on their way into colleges and universities and we are not prepared for them. Our current faculty lacks expertise in working with students of color and our resistance to diversifying the faculty means that we are not going to be ready any time soon.
I’ll close by asking you to think deeply about your role in recruiting and hiring faculty. Why do you use it? How often do you point to the lack of people of color in the faculty pipeline while doing nothing about the problem? How many books, articles, or training sessions have you attended on how to recruit faculty of color? How many times have you reached out to departments with great diversity in your field and asked them how they attract and retain a diverse faculty? Rather than getting angry at me for pointing out a problem that most of us are aware of, why don’t you change your ways and do something to diversify your department or institution’s faculty? I bet you don’t, but I sure hope you do.