Monday, April 9, 2018

Employment Diversity in Higher Education

Diversity in our workplaces is a crucial component to bringing the range of perspectives from communities into each profession.  It’s important for current and future generations that multiple viewpoints are incorporated into workplace decisions. This allows for norms and initiatives to evolve as more opinions become integrated into processes. Additionally, it’s important for young people to have role models and be inspired. The more diverse a profession is, the more likely a young person can find someone they identify with and are inspired by.

Higher education institutions require an infusion of ideas to prosper.  Novel research and teaching methods originate through new ideas and need to be fostered by institutions to be tested and developed. The future Ph.D. students, faculty and staff who will develop these ideas are currently attending higher education institutions across the country. It is important that at higher education institutions those students find role models that they identify with and allow them to feel welcome and part of the academic process.

While there have been significant steps toward this goal, there remains opportunity for progress. This is particularly true for Black and Hispanic communities. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, over 31% of college students now identify as black or Hispanic while only 11% of college faculty do. However, a study by the Department of Education shows that over the twenty years from 1993 to 2013, the percentage of Hispanic faculty rose from 3 to 5 percent and the percentage of black professors increased from 4 to 6 percent. This progress is only the beginning and higher education institutions, as well as HERC, are committed to continuing increasing diversity.

Hiring is a crucial component in reaching diversity goals. HERC is committed to diversity in Higher Education and offers diverse jobseekers free webinars with diversity topics, regional multicultural resources to help with relocating to a new community and a list of diversity resources to learn more about publications, websites, organizations and professional societies that serve various constituents and may help you in your process.

Higher education institutions are changing their processes to meet diversity targets at their institutions. This has included creating Chief Diversity Officer positions or more diverse search committees. Diversifying higher education will require making different decisions over a long period time and each institution is creating their own diversity goals and processes to achieve them. As you continue your job search, understand what an institution’s diversity goals are, the change in faculty and staff diversity the institution has realized, and what steps they are implementing to reach their goals.

As higher education diversifies, there will continue to be new career opportunities in higher education. Be sure to check HERC job boards to keep up to date on new opportunities for you to start your career in higher education.

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