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V30N4_32-39_Phillips

V30N4_32-39_Phillips

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Published by: The Integrated and Well-Planned Campus on Apr 17, 2013
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 W
orkforce development issues are at the fore-front of agendas for most organizations andcommunities—universities should be noexception. Many universities face great challenges incompeting for outstanding faculty, especially minority fac-ulty. Quality jobs are also needed for partners who followfaculty and staff to universities. As in many collegetowns, limited job opportunities in the region for partnersof faculty may serve as formidable obstacles for bothrecruiting and retaining faculty members. Thus, the issueof faculty workforce development is two-pronged: theneed to
recruit 
diverse faculty members and
retain
thesemembers once they are recruited. This article discusses aresearch project that explored these two facets of univer-sity workforce development and concludes with a sum-mary of ideas.
Study design.
The research for the project is basedon (1) a search of literature to identify relevant informa-tion and programs or policy approaches at other organiza-tions and (2) survey research of a sample of Associationof American Universities (AAU) member institutions.
32
Summer 2002
Recruiting and Retaining aDiverse Faculty
 Despite efforts to alleviate problems associated with women and minority recruitment and retention, problems still exist, as shown in a review of current literature and a survey of selected institutions.
by Rhonda Phillips
Rhonda Phillips
is an assistant professor ofurban and regional planning in the College ofDesign, Construction and Planningat theUniversity of Florida. In 1999, she wasselected as a participant in the GoldenOpportunity Leadership Program, which pro-vides academic leadership training towomen and minority faculty members. Shecompleted this study while on (unpaid)maternity leave.
 
Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse Faculty
The literature search included an exploration of avail-able databases and data from relevant organizations. Forthe comparative analysis, a survey instrument wasdesigned. A list of 40 AAU member institutions that haveparticipated in data sharing was obtained and used as thesample database. A copy of the survey instrument wasmailed to each of the AAU institutions, and 12 respondedwith useable, completed surveys. Those responding tothe survey represented administrators with varying posi-tions, including such titles as associate provost, vicechancellor, vice president for academic affairs and/or affir-mative action, and director of equal employment offices.The respondents represented the following universities:Columbia University; Indiana University; Iowa StateUniversity; Michigan State University; The Ohio StateUniversity; Purdue University; the University of California,Irvine; The University of Iowa; the University of Missouri;and the University of Washington. The remaining two sur-vey respondents did not identify their university affiliation.Because confidentiality was assured, the summaries offindings from these data are presented in aggregatedterms only.
Faculty characteristics.
It is helpful to understandsomething about the overall status of women and minori-ty faculty members in higher education. For example, onenationwide study conducted by the Higher EducationResearch Institute (HERI) in 1999 surveyed more than33,000 full-time faculty members at 378 colleges and uni-versities, and revealed that female faculty members rep-resent 36.2 percent of overall faculty positions. I com-pared these national data with characteristics of faculty atmy own institution, the University of Florida, using datafrom the university’s Office of Academic Affairs. The per-centage of female faculty for all budgetary units in1998–99 was 22.4 percent, considerably lower than theHERI average of 36.2 percent of overall faculty positions,with 45.5 percent of this number tenured. (For compari-son, males hold 63.8 percent of faculty positions, with68.8 percent tenured.) When considering only tenuredfemale faculty at the University of Florida, the percentageis far lower: only 11.6 percent of the whole faculty.Even more disheartening is the finding that minori-ties account for only a small percentage of faculty mem-bers in the HERI study. Figure 1provides a summary ofthe racial and ethnic background of the faculty memberssurveyed. (Note that the total is greater than 100 percentbecause the categories are not mutually exclusive.) Otherstudies place the percentage of minority faculty slightlyhigher; for example, the Association of AmericanColleges and Universities gives a figure of 12.2 percentnationwide (Carter and Wilson 1997). Regardless, there isclear evidence of underrepresentation of women andminorities in faculty positions, especially when one con-siders that more than half of the current U.S. collegeundergraduate student population is female and thatminority students account for nearly 30 percent of thestudent population (Turner and Myers 1999).
Issues.
What are some of the underlying causes ofsuch a small percentage of women and minority facultymembers at the nation’s colleges and universities?Various studies, including the 1999 HERI survey, identi-fied a number of key issues:
Family planning conflicts.
Female faculty, of whommore than one-third are estimated to be of child-bearing age (Higher Education Research Institute1999), face particular obstacles when deciding familyissues. According to a report in
The Chronicle of Higher Education
(Wilson 1999), many female facultymembers face difficult decisions regarding whetherto begin or expand their family through childbirth oradoption. The unspoken rules about childbirth includesubtle and sometimes not-so-subtle advice aboutpregnancy planning, such as “timing” the birth ofchildren to occur during the summer semester tominimize disrupting the rhythms of the academicschedule. Compounding this issue is the fact thatmany of these women hold junior faculty positions inwhich they are expected to spend their summersworking on significant research during the time thatis supposedly ideal to start their families.Planning for Higher Education
33
Figure 1
Racial and Ethnic Background,U.S.Faculty Members
Caucasian/White91.7%Asian American/Asian3.3%African American/Black2.6%American Indian 2.0%Mexican American/Chicano 1.0%Puerto Rican American 0.4%Other Latino 1.3%Other2.0%Source: Higher Education Research Institute, 1999
 
Rhonda Phillips
Family leave policies.
Few institutions seem toacknowledge that when job pressures are highest,family pressures and needs are also high. Policies forsupporting women faculty in their childbirth decisionsvary widely. For example, although all institutionsmust abide by the federally mandated Family andMedical Leave Act and offer employees up to 12weeks of unpaid leave, institutional policies regardingpaid leave are much more uncertain. Only a handfuloffer paid leave, with most women relying on a fewweeks of sick leave for pay. Even when a paid leave isoffered, such as by Harvard University, the Universityof California, and the University of North Carolina, thedepartment head typically determines how muchteaching relief is offered. Untenured women facultymay find that it is difficult to negotiate, given their vul-nerable position. “Because the decision making is sodecentralized, you are at the mercy of your chair,” saysan associate professor at a research university, whoasked not to be named. “I don’t think as a juniorwoman you can go in and start raising the roof”(Wilson 1999, p. A15). Despite the fact that someinstitutions strive to create a family-supportive envi-ronment, it can be perceived as a career interruptionfor a woman faculty member to take time off for child-birth and child rearing. This situation affects morewomen than men, with almost 30 percent of womenreporting that they have had to interrupt their careerfor more than one year for family reasons, versus only5.9 percent of their male colleagues (Higher EducationResearch Institute 1999).
Various stress factors.
The HERI study also surveyedfaculty members’ perceptions, attitudes, and issuepriorities. Among the issues rated as a high prioritywere the need to hire more women and minorityfaculty and administrators, the need to recruit moreminority students, and the desire to create morediverse multicultural campus environments. Whileboth male and female faculty members rated theseissues as high priority, there were differences in thestress factor ratings among males and females.Figure 2 illustrates these differences and providesinsight into the sources of stress for female facultymembers.
Undersupply of minority Ph.D.s.
In
Faculty of Color inAcademe: Bittersweet Success 
(Turner and Myers1999), the authors examined several issues thataffect minority faculty. Numerous data sources wereexamined and original qualitative and quantitativeresearch was conducted. The authors concluded that,regardless of data interpretation, African Americans,American Indians, and Latinos are substantiallyunderrepresented in U.S. universities. One of themost common conceptions is that the lack of minori-ty faculty members stems from the perceived under-supply of minority Ph.D.s. However, the authorsfound that an undersupply has a statistically signifi-cant but small impact on minority faculty representa-tion; rather, market wages exert a far greater impacton the underrepresentation of minority faculty inhigher education (Turner and Myers 1999). In otherwords, minority Ph.D.s are often presented withhigher-paying job opportunities outside academe.
Coolness toward minorities.
Compounding the inabili-ty to attract minority faculty members is the reputa-tion of a “chilly climate” for minorities at many insti-tutions. Universities in eight Midwestern states wererecently studied, and the findings revealed a persist-ent environment of exclusion, isolation, alienation,and racism for faculty of color in predominately whiteuniversity settings (Turner and Myers 1999). A majorfactor contributing to this uninviting climate is theassumption exhibited by some that minority facultymembers are hired without the appropriate creden-tials or qualifications. Further, ifthe minority facultymember chooses to study atopic associated with his or herown ethnic group, the researchinterest is often dismissed asself-serving or too narrow. Evenafter earning tenure, manyminority faculty members
34
Summer 2002Figure 2
Faculty Members’ Sources of StressFemale FacultyMale Faculty
Review/promotion process51.9%43%Subtle discrimination (prejudice, racism, sexism)34.9%17.1%Time pressures91.5%82.2%Lack of personal time 88.1%74.9%Managing household responsibilities80.8%65.7%Source: Higher Education Research Institute, 1999

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