Minority faculty representation increases over 10-year period

Roberto Hodge, Multicultural Editor

Eastern’s ethnic minority recruitment and retention rates have increased in the past 10 years, despite the university only losing 90 faculty members.

In 2005, Eastern’s faculty enrollment was 755, with 81 percent of that number being Caucasian, 5 percent Asian-American, 2.4 percent Latino, 2 percent African-American, 0.7 percent Native American, 9.4 percent unclassified and 0 international faculty members.

Currently, the faculty enrollment is 665, with the university seeing improvements in some areas of minority faculty members, such as Asian-Americans at 6 percent, African-Americans at 4 percent, Latinos at 3 percent and internationals at 2 percent.

Despite the increase in faculty members, the university has lost 27 percent of their students in the last 10 years, going from 12,129 to 8,913.

Blair Lord, the provost and vice president for academic affairs, said the university tries to hire about 30 tenure-track faculty members and the Office of Civil Rights and Diversity complies with Affirmative Action laws to help pool diverse candidates.

Eastern’s Asian-American faculty rates have remained mostly unchanged throughout the 10 years, keeping an average of 30 or more.

However, the numbers in all ethnic minority faculty members still lag behind Caucasian faculty members. Ethnic minorities make up 114 of faculty members, with 20 being an unclassified group, compared to 551 faculty members identifying as Caucasian.

“Pools for minority candidates are often difficult to grow,” Lord said. “We have to keep working on it.”

Lord said gaining more minority representation is harder in certain fields; the university makes offers to ethnic minorities and sometimes they chose not to come.

“The essence of trying do good affirmative action hiring is on the front end of trying to get a diverse pool, then evaluate the diverse pool and hopefully you will have a selection—some years it has worked better than others,” Lord said.

Heather Dragoo, the assistant director of the office of Civil Rights and Diversity, said the office complies and analyzes information about the recruitment and retention of faculty for several reports to federal and state agencies annually.

She said the office also prepares the university’s affirmative action plan each year, which sets recruitment goals for specific job groups by comparing the current demographic data to the latest availability data for the specific discipline.

“The university carries out ongoing, aggressive, coordinated recruitment efforts to build large pools of highly qualified applicants for faculty positions who reflect the diversity found within their respective specialties,” Dragoo said.

The office also evaluates recruitment methods used in each search for faculty members to see how effective the efforts were in gaining a diverse pool of applicants. A survey is also put in place for those who decline offers to the university to gain a perception of the campus recruiting experience, Dragoo said.

Dragoo said a new initiative has been put into place for the next hiring of tenure-track faculty to have a commitment to diversity as a qualification.

Eastern has been at a hiring freeze for about two years because of the recent drop in enrollment, Lord said.

“This requirement communicates to potential applicants that diversity and inclusion are important to the university, and applicants will have to demonstrate their own commitment and/or experience,” Dragoo said.


Roberto Hodge can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]