TIAA Institute Report Finds Slight Gains in African American and Latino Faculty Over Past Two Decades

A new report released by the TIAA Institute finds that diversity amongst faculty in higher education institutions in America has made only small improvements in the past two decades. “Taking the Measure of Faculty Diversity” a study by Martin J. Finkelstein, Valerie Martin Conley and Jack H. Schuster, notes that while the proportion of African American, Latino, and Native American faculty has increased slightly, most of the gains have been in non-tenure track positions.

The report provides a comprehensive breakdown of the faculty demographics of America’s higher education system. The Institute’s study notes that the current transformation of the faculty model has complicated efforts to increase diversity. While underrepresented minorities held 12.7% of faculty positions in 2013, up from 8.6% in 1993, they hold only 10.2% of tenured positions. Similarly, women now hold 49.2% of total faculty positions but just 37.6% of tenured positions.

“This report goes into deep detail with which to assess the state of diversity and inclusion in our nation’s higher education faculty,” said Stephanie Bell-Rose, Senior Managing Director and Head of the TIAA Institute. “The report allows us to see where diversification efforts have succeeded and where much work still remains. Colleges and universities must make note that changing faculty models have made it even more challenging to bring much-needed diversity to our campuses.”  

“In recent decades the American faculty has evolved from a predominantly white male enclave to an increasingly diverse workforce—-by race, ethnicity, gender, and country of birth. These changes are ongoing throughout higher education—-as evident in different types of institutions, academic fields, faculty rank, and tenure status. As our Faculty Diversity report underscores, the percentage of change most often has been very substantial. But the actual number, say, of underrepresented minorities or women in some academic fields, remains quite small. We believe that further efforts to diversify the faculty are imperative and should be intensified,” said report authors Martin J. Finkelstein, Valerie Martin Conley, and Jack H. Schuster.

The report has found that central reality of the current era is that academic appointments have been dramatically redistributed, and women and underrepresented minorities continue to be limited within that redistribution. The decreasing number of available tenure-track career jobs, along with the wider availability of part-time and otherwise more circumscribed work roles, has a direct impact on the future for academics.

To view the full report, please click here.

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