University strives for more diverse faculty

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CSUN plans to continue its efforts to increase the diversity of its faculty so that professors more closely reflect the student body, according to university officials.

According to a report compiled this semester by Joe Medina from Human Resources at CSUN, of the 2,019 faculty members on campus, 1,485, or 74 percent, are white. Of the 837 full-time faculty on campus, 594 are white. Of the 1,182 part-time faculty on campus, 891 are white.

Of the 31,312 students who enrolled at CSUN in Fall 2004, 32.4 percent were white. Of those 31,312 students, 60.2 percent were women.

“Of course, all ethnicities are not represented equally, although there has been a significant improvement in this since I first came to the campus 20 years ago,” said Elizabeth Say, dean of the College of Humanities.

According to Penelope Jennings, associate vice president for Faculty Affairs, more important than the color of the faculty member’s skin is that he or she is committed to working on a diverse campus like CSUN.

On the Faculty Affairs website, where new faculty positions are advertised, part of the advertising process involves highlighting the diversity of the campus, Jennings said.

“The ads specify that if you want to work with diverse students and have a commitment to learning and teaching, then CSUN is the place to teach,” Jennings said.

During the hiring process, faculty members discuss their experiences with diversity as they are interviewed and are put through teaching seminars. The process helps identify the faculty members who will be most committed to their position, Jennings said.

John Chandler, CSUN spokesperson, said faculty members are chosen by their qualifications and not because of their ethnic background.

He said CSUN is doing well in employing equally among genders and ethnicity.

CSUN hired 19 new faculty members this semester. Fourteen of the new hires were women, making up 74 percent of new faculty, Chandler said. Of those hired, 11 were white, four were Asian, three were Latino and one was black, he said.

Minority groups made up 42 percent of the hires, which is the highest number since tracking began in 1998, according to Jennings. CSUN has also remained consistently above the totals for the CSU system, Jennings said.

In 2001, 39 percent of hires were of minority groups, compared to the CSU system, whose overall minority hires for that year was 30 percent, Jennings said.

According to the 2004 Report on Faculty Recruitment Survey, 33 percent of the total faculty recruited was minorities. The highest proportion of minority faculty was at CSU Los Angeles, where 56 percent of the hires were minorities, and at CSU San Francisco, as 50 percent of the faculty hired were minorities. The report also showed that at the Chico and Humboldt state campuses, 50 percent or more of the faculty recruited were white males. The 2004 report showed that in Fall 2004, minorities totaled only 24.5 percent of the tenured faculty for the entire CSU system.

“The CSU believes that it is very important to have a faculty which mirrors the diversity of the student body we serve,” said Clara Potes-Fellow, CSU spokesperson. “The CSU stresses the importance of diversity and assists faculty in conducting inclusive search processes to increase the opportunity for a diverse applicant pool.”

Say stressed the importance of a diverse faculty.

“A diverse faculty is very important for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that faculty serve as mentors and role models for students and it is important that students can see themselves in their faculty,” Say said.

Stella Theodoulou, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, said she believes that a student body as inclusive as CSUN’s deserves faculty that reflects that diversity.

“Notice I used the word ‘inclusive’ a lot,” Theodoulou said. “That’s because I believe that is what we are striving to be.”

Ariana Rodriguez can be reached at ariana.rodriguez@csun.edu.