To Diversify the Faculty, Start Here

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The Chronicle of Higher Education reports Duke University "If the nation’s colleges are going to succeed at diversifying the professoriate, work has to be done here, at this crucial point in the pipeline. It’s a concern commonly cited by students and others demanding that their campuses improve their climate on race: Even as the student body grows more diverse, the faculty has remained stubbornly white. Only about 12 percent of full-time faculty members are black, Hispanic, or Native American.

To be sure, many Ph.D. students, regardless of race or ethnicity, find graduate school isolating, experience impostor syndrome — the feeling of being a fraud despite a record of high achievement — or conclude that academic life is unappealing. But those feelings are more common among minority students. Compared with white and Asian men, scholars from underrepresented minority groups were substantially less likely to say they were highly interested in an academic career at a research university, according to a recent study of biomedical Ph.D.s.

study by the Council of Graduate Schools found that few institutions offer comprehensive programs focused on minority recruitment and retention in doctoral programs in the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Fewer than half of the 21 universities in the study engaged in targeted recruitment of underrepresented minorities, just over one-third offered targeted and peer mentoring, and only 9 percent had an organization for minority graduate students. While some agencies, most notably the National Science Foundation and the NIH, have long supported efforts to diversify the scientific work force, many university interventions remain "informal and ambiguous," the report found."

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The Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA is supported by Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health / National Institutes of General Medical Sciences under award number U54GM119024.