GW analyzes faculty diversity

GW is making strides to maintain a level of diversity in its faculty, according to the annual Report on Recruitment and Retention of Women Faculty and Faculty of Color.

Presented to the Faculty Senate last Friday by the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the report lends insight into the demographic makeup of the University’s faculty.

Of the University’s 970 faculty members for the academic year 1999-2000, 144 are minorities. There are 668 men, with 84 minority men, and 302 women, with 60 minority women.

The most striking portion of the report is a statistical comparison between the academic years 1988-`89 and 1999-`00. Since 1989, the University experienced a 95-percent increase in the number of faculty of color and a 49-percent increase in the number of women faculty. Minority increases during this period are particularly notable in the Asian population, but the increase of African-American and Hispanic faculty members has not seen similar growth, the report indicates.

Although we continue to show long-term gains in the number of women faculty and faculty of color, we are concerned about achieving further increases, particularly since the percentage of Black and Hispanic faculty members has not increased substantially over this period, according to the report.

Faculty positions, classified by tenured or tenure-track and non-tenure-track, give similar results. Men compose 69 percent of the faculty and hold 75 percent of tenured or tenure-track positions. Women, who comprise 31 percent of the faculty, hold 25 percent of tenured or tenure-track positions. Faculty of color comprise 15 percent of the total population and hold 13 percent of tenured or tenure-track positions.

Evidence suggests that our recruitment efforts have been successful over the past 11 years, according to the report, in reference to these statistics. The data indicates that while we continue to make progress, it is slow, and we cannot relax our efforts.

Students said diversity is an important component of a well-rounded education.

I think that whoever is teaching a class has a very big impact on what students learn and how they learn it, freshman Hunter Elliot said. They definitely can lend a different perspective.

In the wake of last Friday’s report presented to the Faculty Senate, the University has several committees discussing issues of equity for minorities and women. The Faculty Senate approved in December a resolution for amending the Interim Policies and Procedures Governing Sexual Harassment Complaints. An ad-hoc committee was also formed to discuss sexual harassment.

The University continues to deal with complaints of sexual harassment, according to the report. Committed to maintaining a positive climate where individuals can pursue their academic and work activities in an atmosphere free from coercion and intimidation, we are determined to work toward alleviating occurrences of sexual harassment.

As indicated by national research, issues of sexual harassment go hand-in-hand with equity for women and minorities.

Quelling harassment and increasing diversity should be a main focus of the University’s efforts, freshman Liza Sacks said.

If all the professors were the same – if they were all white males – you wouldn’t be getting a diverse perspective of a certain subject, Sacks said. There should be a variety of diverse ethnicities and males and females.

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