Institutions Adjust Faculty Diversity Strategies Amid COVID-19 PandemicPublished Oct 13, 2021
By Lois Elfman
Although budget cuts in the wake of COVID-19 have led to hiring freezes at some institutions, faculty diversity initiatives continue.
In the pandemic world of academia, many institutions are struggling to keep enrollment up and costs down, but there is still a distinct awareness that moves must be made to bring faculty diversity closer to student diversity. Data released in fall 2020 by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) show that, while underrepresented minorities comprise 32.6% of the U.S. population, they make up only 12.9% of full-time faculty.
“Beyond graduating increasingly diverse classes of students, institutions have the opportunity to really walk the walk. As employers of 3.9 million people, they can be leaders in equitable hiring.” –Eleanor Eckerson Peters, associate director of research and policy at the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP).
In an IHEP report co-authored by Eckerson Peters, “Ensuring a More Equitable Future: Colleges as Models for Equitable Employment,” and published in May 2021, the authors pointed out that the pandemic’s disproportionate health and financial toll on minoritized communities means that faculty of color — especially Black female faculty — are more likely to be coping with family illnesses and death as well as family job losses, all while needing to provide greater support to students.
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