Taking the Measure of Faculty Diversity

April 2016
Related Topics

U.S. colleges and universities have indeed increased faculty diversity over the past 20 years, but most gains have been off the tenure track.

Summary

The broad societal movement to diversify the American faculty over the past quarter century has reshaped the academic profession in many ways, but more work remains to be done. While underrepresented minorities held 12.7% of faculty positions in 2013, up from 8.6% in 1993, they held only 10.2% of tenured positions. Similarly, women in 2013 held 49.2% of all faculty positions, up from 38.6% in 1993, but just 37.6% of tenured positions. This report’s authors break down the proportion of women, African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans in U.S. faculty positions by appointment type, shedding new light on recent trends.

Key Insights
The American faculty has evolved from a largely white male enclave to an increasingly diverse workforce, but the actual number of underrepresented minorities in tenured and tenure-track positions remains small.
Women have been doing relatively better than men over the past two decades in securing full-time, tenure-track positions, but most of the infusion of women in academic roles has been in part-time and nontenure-track appointments.
Fewer than one in ten women faculty are full professors.
The decreasing availability of tenure-track positions in general, along with the wider prevalence of part-time roles, has complicated efforts to increase faculty diversity.
Methodology

The researchers noted the number and proportion of faculty holding various academic appointments in 1993, 2003 and 2013 based on data in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDs).