Academic journal article Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict

Why So Few Minority Professors in Higher Education?

Academic journal article Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict

Why So Few Minority Professors in Higher Education?

Article excerpt


In the United States minorities have long been underrepresented in many different areas. Since its infancy social inequities have been a part of this country with the majority building a structure that ensures things will always remain the same. The teaching field, specifically college professors, is one of those areas that have not seen much change over time. In 1980 Blacks made up 4.3% of full-time faculty in American universities, and by 2003, that figure had only risen to 5.5% (Cooper, 2009). In more than two decades (23 years) the numbers had only gone up by 1.2%. If change is to occur, this number has to be considered unacceptable and something must be done to rectify the situation.

This paper will investigate some of the reasons behind the lack of minority professors in higher education. It will discuss a few of the obstacles that minorities face not only as students, but also as professors. Then, it will analyze the education of our public school teachers, and end with some of the measures taken at private institutions to assist minority students in overcoming some of the obstacles they face. For a positive adjustment to take place, the first step would be to get to the root of the problem.


Not a lot of literature is devoted strictly to the minority professor, but a lot of research is devoted to studying the problems minorities face as students, the hardships experienced by professors of color, the education of our public school teachers because of the big impact they have on students and the actions taken by colleges and universities.

The studies will be discussed as each topic is addressed.


Most minority students do not grow up thinking of becoming teachers, or even going to college. They may not always have parents that are able to be completely involved in their education, so they turn to their peers. This could be good or bad depending on who they choose to associate with. Teachers can also have a lot of influence on the educational choices of economically disadvantaged minority students. Whoever is influencing these kids needs to make sure they are influencing them in the right direction.


Adolescents' decisions can often be influenced by many different people or things. Parents can be a huge factor in determining if their kids will end up enrolling in college or not. Children from low-income families, which many minorities are, often have less parental involvement in their education than their wealthier counterparts. The low-income parents may not know anything about higher education. In fact, to many of them the high school diploma is still considered the sign of upward mobility. While a diploma is something to be proud of, the importance of a college degree in today's world cannot be ignored.

The minority students' parental involvement is at a disadvantage. Michael J. Smith (2009) argues that parental involvement in college choice can be a huge factor for underprivileged students. The study explains how access to selective colleges and universities has become a very competitive game where parents try to make sure their children attend the most prestigious schools possible. This can often work against students from low-income families because their parents lack the economic and social resources to help them compete (Smith, 2009). Many factors such as: inflexible work schedules, inconveniences in public transit, and resource inequities might work against low-income parents. Because these parents often work odd hours, they have less time to attend meetings at school. If they do not have at least one car, they will also have a difficult time attending meetings and activities at their kids' schools. Being limited to public transit is definitely inconvenient. Finally, resource inequities exist, also. These families may not have internet access making it nearly impossible to do any college research at home. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.