Lack of faculty diversity unacceptable
February 19, 2010
Filed under Archives
The Guilford faculty handbook lays out procedures for hiring non-white candidates during the job-search process, showing that the policy is making the correct steps to diversify the faculty. However, the reality of faculty diversity, as demonstrated in data provided by the Office of Institutional Research Assessment, is very different from the progressive goals. Unlike larger colleges, Guilford doesn’t have a department set up that is solely responsible for recruiting a racially diverse faculty. The faculty handbook says that we take a vigorous approach towards inviting professors of color to Guilford. Yet, looking at how many departments here do not have a professor of color makes me question how vigorous our approach really is.
Recruiting lies on the shoulders of busy search committees and department heads, some of whom appear to have forgotten that the diversity of the Guilford faculty should be made paramount during the hiring process. The priority to fill the position in a timely manner may outweigh the priority of finding a successful non-white candidate.
This can be made more difficult because in certain fields of study there are fewer non-white job candidates than there are in others. The size of the pool of non-white applicants varies according to academic discipline, and sometimes it is more difficult for certain departments to recruit faculty of color than it is for others.
Guilford’s faculty needs to be as diverse as the students. Simply inviting racially diverse applicants without such diversity being reflected in the actual faculty hints at a process that might unconsciously privilege white candidates.
At Guilford we see some diverse faces in some of our classrooms, yet there are departments without any professors of color – that is a reprehensible example of selective hiring.
In order to teach diversity, we must have a diverse faculty who will teach history and other subjects from many different cultural perspectives.
Having diverse professors from many culturally different backgrounds is central to our education. Face-to-face interaction with faculty members who come from different cultural, economic, and racial backgrounds will challenge some of our unexamined notions of how the world operates.
A racially diverse mix of professors is an educational benefit that serves our entire academic community and will help prepare Guilford students to develop informed, constructive leadership roles in the world.
We claim diversity as one of our core values and weave it into the marketing of our college, but some of our actions on campus are a long way from promoting it.