A Scant Presence

By Fields, Cheryl D. | Black Issues in Higher Education, March 5, 1998 | Go to article overview

A Scant Presence


Fields, Cheryl D., Black Issues in Higher Education


For many faculty, particularly those who favor research over teaching, securing a faculty position at a major research institution is a dream come true. These universities, of which there are 120 nationwide, offer some of the most ideal conditions available for the pursuit of scholarly and scientific research.

Research institutions employ roughly one quarter of the faculty working at four-year institutions and produce roughly three-quarters of all Ph.D. scholars. They produce 61 percent of all African American doctorates and 76 percent of all Latino doctorates. Nevertheless, African American and Latino faculty, particularly those with tenure or on a tenure track, continue to be scarce at research institutions.

African American and Latino scholars, of which there are 5,278 and 3,318 respectively at research institutions, constitute only 5.2 percent of the 163,548 faculty at these universities. Among faculty with tenure (119,838), only 2.9 percent are African American (3,479), and 1.9 percent (2,326) are Latino.

This issue's BI The Numbers analysis, which is based upon data collected by the U.S. Department of Education, paints a detailed portrait of where African American and Latino scholars are within the nation's research institutions. It also offers insights on how these schools are performing in relationship to one another with respect to minority faculty recruitment and retention.

The BI Faculty Ranking of research institutions is based upon the number of tenure/tenure-track Black and Latino faculty on each campus. While some institutions may have a higher aggregate number of African American of Latino faculty, tenure-related statistics indicate a deeper commitment to faculty diversity.

The analysis included only Research I and II institutions, and omits all nine of the University of California institutions as well as the University of Hawaii-Manoa, the University of Kansas-Main Campus, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for which faculty demographic data were either incomplete or missing.

Howard, University of New Mexico In the Lead

Howard University has long been the nation's leading research institutions when it comes to hiring and granting tenure to African American faculty. This, perhaps, is no surprise, since Howard is both a historically Black and a Research I institution.

In 1995, Howard had 516 Black faculty, representing 68 percent of the university's faculty. Of these professors, 356, or roughly two out of three (61 percent), were either tenured or on a tenure track.

Following Howard, the top four institutions in terms of tenure/tenure-track African American faculty are: University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (98), University of Maryland-College Park (85), Temple University (85), and Ohio State University-Main CAmpus (83).

Black Issues In Higher Education editors were also curious to know which institutions would emerge with the highest percentages of all African American and Latino faculty, irrespective of tenure status. …

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