Forum: Colleges and Universities Need More Black Faculty Members

By Rai, Kul B. | New Haven Register (New Haven, CT), May 16, 2017 | Go to article overview

Forum: Colleges and Universities Need More Black Faculty Members


Rai, Kul B., New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)


More than five decades after the passage of the first Civil Rights Act by Congress, black faculty ranks remain abysmally low in colleges and universities.

Although the laws and customs that maintained a separation between blacks and whites have disappeared, blacks still do not enjoy equal status when seeking employment in the academic world.

Two decades ago, black faculty employment was approximately 2 percent in the majority of colleges and universities. According to the latest data of the National Center for Education Statistics, in fall 2013, 43 percent of college faculty were white males, 35 percent white females, but only 3 percent black males, and 3 percent black females. Hispanics, now the largest minority in the country, are even fewer in college faculty positions than blacks.

States that are considered liberal do not have higher percentages of black college professors than southern states.

According to an article in the Washington Post, Nov. 12, 2015, "among the top-tier state and private universities, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, reported the highest percentage of black faculty at 6.8 percent." The Post statistics are from a 2007 study, apparently the most recent such study available, in the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education.

If the above study's forecast is correct, "it will take about a century and a half for the percentage of African-American faculty to reach parity with the percentage of blacks in the nation's population."

A closer look at the data reveals that black faculty are far more likely to teach in historically black colleges and universities in the South than in predominantly white colleges and universities in the Northeast. More than 90 percent of the tenured black faculty are in historically black institutions of higher education. …

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