A Long Way to Go: Conversations about Race by African American Faculty and Graduate Students

By Darrell Cleveland | Go to book overview

8

THE DWINDLING POOL OF
QUALIFIED PROFESSORS OF COLOR:
SUBURBAN LEGENDS

Robin Hughes

The number of doctoral degrees awarded to students of color has remained significantly low over the past 25 years. Understandably, the number of students who graduate from doctoral degree granting programs affects the total number of faculty members of color. For instance, in 1986 only 804 or 3.5% of the 22,984 doctoral recipients were African American. In 1991, although the pool of doctoral recipients increased by over 10%, doctoral recipients of African descent remained at a steady low of 933 or 3.8% of the total degree recipients (Hacker, 1992). Ten years later, the Chronicle of Higher Education (2002) reported a 1% increase in doctoral degrees awarded to students of African descent. Given this trend, it should come as no surprise that the number of doctoral degree recipients entering the professorate has also remained virtually unchanged.

These numbers translate into shortages throughout the academy where African Americans constitute only 4.5% of the professorate (Chronicle, 2002, p. 232); Ladson-Billings, 1998). Even more astonishing is that, when disaggregated from the total, Blacks comprise approximately only 1% of the faculty in predominantly White colleges and universities (PWIs) while HBCU's account for the remaining 3.3% (Ladson-Billings, 1998). When it comes to professional administrative positions, only 186 of the nation's total 3,070 CEO's of institutions of higher education are African American (American Council, 2000). Accordingly, it comes as no surprise that Whites hold 90.7% of the faculty positions and 89.7% of all administrative positions in American colleges and universities.

While these figures should suggest to everyone that immediate attention be

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