Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

Recruiting and Retaining the Missing Piece to Latino

Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

Recruiting and Retaining the Missing Piece to Latino

Article excerpt

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Latinos have accounted for most of the nation's population growth over the last decade (56 percent) and currently represent 16.3 percent of the United States population (50.5 million people). Unfortunately, this growth hasn't been mirrored in higher education. Latino students had the lowest percentages (27.5 percent) of college enrollment compared to White and Black students (45 percent and 37.7 percent, respectively). Nevertheless, Latino enrollment numbers are on the rise: going from 14.8 million in 1999 to more than 20 million in 2009· These dramatic demographic changes and the increased presence of Latinos in American higher education highlight new challenges for academe.

While Latino students are enrolling in greater numbers, Latino faculty have not seen similar growth, making up only 4 percent of faculty nationwide. These contrasting images between the faculty and student demographics portend an inevitable truth that, while the higher education student population is dramatically changing, the faculty members of color still are not representative of the incoming cohort of students of color, especially the Latino student population.

As a Latino faculty member, these troubling trends resonate with me and remind me that additional work is needed to understand how higher education institutions can improve their commitment to Latino faculty members. In this article, I examine how education leaders can improve the recruitment and retention of Latino faculty members in higher education institutions. After providing an overview of the current situation vis-à-vis Latinos in higher education, I offer 10 specific policy and programmatic recommendations to improve conditions for Latino faculty members.

Latinos in Higher Education

In response to poor institutional recruitment efforts and low retention rates of faculty members of color, higher education researchers have examined the institutional and educational benefits of having these underrepresented faculty members in higher education institutions. For example, researchers have found that Latino faculty members benefit higher education by uniquely engaging students in the classroom, improving Latino students' higher education retention and degree completion rates, enhancing campus pluralism, and conducting academic research on racial/ethnic communities. …

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