In the past four years GW has managed to increase its level of
minority professors by 3 percentage points, but despite efforts to recruit them, has made no progress increasing the number of Hispanic professors on campus, University officials said.
According to GW’s Office of Institutional Research, the percentage of full-time faculty identified as racial minorities – black, Asian, Hispanic and Native American – has slowly risen from 16 percent in fall 2001 to 19 percent in fall 2005. Minority undergraduates constitute 20 percent of the 10,394 individuals working toward their bachelor’s degrees.
Annie Wooldridge, assistant vice president for Faculty Recruitment and Personnel Relations, said in an e-mail that over the past four years she has seen the most growth among Asian and black full-time faculty, but conceded that GW has been unsuccessful in increasing its percentage of Hispanic professors. Donald Lehman, executive vice president for Academic Affairs, presented a report from the Office of Institutional Research to the Faculty Senate last month that relayed these statistics.
“Over the past 15-plus years, we have been successful in increasing the presence of women and people of color in the faculty ranks,” the report stated. “However, these achievements have not perfectly matched our intentions; this is particularly true of our efforts to recruit and retain black and Hispanic faculty.”
According to the report issued to the Faculty Senate March 10, there are 387 women faculty members – or 36 percent of the faculty – yet they comprise 30 percent of tenure-track positions.
Currently, there are 31 Hispanic professors out of the 1,078 professors at the University, as compared to 21 of the 1,032 professors in 2001.
“The idea, in general, is to spread as broad a net as possible to increase the likelihood that we will reach all qualified, interested and available applicants, particularly women and people of color,” Wooldridge said.
Black professors constitute 4.5 percent of the total GW count with 49; there is one Native American professor at GW. Eleven percent of the faculty is Asian, and about 3 percent is Hispanic.
Lillien Robinson, chair of the Faculty Senate, said the report looked encouraging.
“To me, it looks like there has been steady progress made, particularly in recruiting and retaining women,” she said. “The administration and faculty have to be commended for the progress made.”
“(The numbers) must be looked at in the context of national figures of women and minorities, and who is available and who is in the pool,” Robinson added. “It’s not a very large pool.”
Neighboring universities have varying racial compositions among their faculty, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. In fall 2005, American University’s female professors constituted more than 40 percent of professors, yet the percentage of minorities was about 17. Georgetown had 40 percent women professors, but 18 percent minority professors. Howard had the highest percentages of both women and minority professors, 40 and 60 percent respectively, in the area.
Antonio L?pez, an English professor of Cuban descent, said that one benefit of a diverse faculty is that it shows a change from the generations of minorities who were not able to attend private universities.
“A minority professoriate will research and teach forms of historically suppressed knowledge when no one else will, and that their own minority identities and experience will somehow benefit this undertaking,” he said in an e-mail.
Robinson said the question of recruitment funding was not addressed at the Faculty Senate meeting or in the report.
The Faculty Recruitment and Personnel Relations Office continues to meet with department chairs and search committees to discuss how to conduct affirmative searches and to evaluate how inclusive their hiring processes are. While there is currently no specific initiative underway to recruit minority professors, the University continues to stress the importance of “affirmative searches.”