In an increasingly diverse state, professors who teach at four-year colleges in Colorado are predominantly white.
Of the 3,500 full professors, only 15 of them are black women. 38 others are black men.
Hispanic students now make up about 20% of universities in the state. But the Hispanic teachers? Less than 8% of all full professors across the state.
In one region, Colorado has a similar representation: the Asian faculty. Asians make up 6.4% of full professors compared to 4% of students attending four-year universities in the state.
Who teaches students matters. Studies show that it affects a student’s sense of belonging, and whether students and families see colleges as being for them. Advocates say that diversifying the faculty would also help diversify enrollment and provide role models.
Last month, faculty, advocates and social media focused on faculty diversity after the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill board denied journalist Nikole Hannah a permanent job. -Jones. Commentators have denounced the small percentage of full professors nationwide who are black women.
White males dominate the ranks of full professors at the state’s 12 four-year colleges. In each of Colorado’s public universities, whites make up at least 70% of full professors.
The diversity of the faculty, especially those with tenure and therefore job security and freedom of expression, is important on campus, said Maria del Carmen Salazar, professor of curriculum, instruction and teacher training at the University of Denver.
A diverse faculty signals to diverse communities that schools are open to them and that there are opportunities to aspire to, said del Carmen Salazar.
Research also shows that faculty diversity promotes a sense of belonging when students attend school. del Carmen Salazar said the students said her presence on campus opened doors for them.
The question of representation comes down to desirability, said del Carmen Salazar. Fewer people of color are getting graduate degrees, but colleges often don’t prioritize hiring people with diverse backgrounds.
“There are obstacles and gaps along the way,” she said. “If they don’t go to college, then they can’t graduate and go through the pipeline to get into graduate school, let alone a doctorate, so the gap really starts in the early stages and persists throughout. long.”
She added that “it is absolutely a false story” that colleges do not have qualified candidates of color for the positions. She suggested that schools create research committees that prioritize diversity.
del Carmen Salazar also warned that statewide figures could include international faculty, who do not necessarily represent the experience of students who grew up in the state.
“We are often role models of what students can accomplish,” said del Carmen Salazar, a first-generation Mexican immigrant who graduated from Denver public schools. “It is essential to bring in people who look like students, but also people who share their experiences.
Chalkbeat is a non-profit news site covering educational change in public schools.