Open Letter to the Presidential Search Committee:
By Faculty Senate Committee on the Status of Faculty of Color
As the Temple University community prepares for a new era, the members of The Faculty Senate Committee on the Status of Faculty of Color (FOC) want to publicly acknowledge support of the University’s commitment to first-generation college students and our pride in being recognized by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education for being among the top ten institutions awarding the most bachelor’s degrees to African American students. We also want to encourage the University to reaffirm its commitment to the recruitment and retention of faculty of color. Building on our brand as “The Diversity University,” we must not rest on our laurels but strive to accomplish the work that’s yet to be done.
In particular, we want to draw the community’s attention to the fact that for a university that brands itself as “The Diversity University,” we have a very small number of faculty members of color. The University’s Common Data Set shows 32% of our current undergraduate population self-identifies as foreign national, Asian American, African American, Latino/Hispanic, or Native American. In contrast, according to the 2010 data available from the IPEDS web-site, only 23 % of our current full-time faculty are ethnically diverse (21.8% of the tenured/tenure-track faculty and 23.5% of the NTT faculty). If we limit ourselves to the traditionally underrepresented ethnic/racial groups (Native American, Hispanic, and African American), only 9% of the full-time faculty represents these groups compared to 19% of the undergraduate students.
As we prepare for the challenges presented by the resignation of President Ann Weaver Hart, we must strive to create new opportunities to bolster diversity initiatives:
• In addition to focusing renewed efforts on building diverse faculty of color in our academy of the future, we need to aggressively recruit faculty of color by identifying new networks and untapped resources;
• As we move forward in preparation for new transitions, both in administration and schools and colleges, we hope representatives of the various centers on diversity have a standing seat on all future searches to ensure more inclusive networks;
• The FOC strongly recommends establishing more professional development opportunities targeting faculty of color, who are often unaware of, or denied access to, the process of navigating the culture of the Academy;
• The FOC strongly recommends the University renew its commitment to institutional entities that support diversity initiatives such as the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, Advocacy and Leadership (IDEAL), The Academic Center on Research in Diversity (ACCORD), the Teaching and Learning Center (TLC ); and the Center for African American Research and Public Policy (CAARPP).
• The FOC strongly recommends that the University institute a pro-active, mid-level mentorship program.
We look forward to hearing from the Presidential Search Committee as to what extent and in what ways the diversity initiatives outlined above are being considered as factors in the presidential search process. Will there be further engagement with the larger Temple University community as this process narrows? Is a commitment to continue Temple University’s reputation as “The Diversity University” a necessary qualification for selection of our next President? A timely response to these concerns is greatly appreciated.
As we stand on the precipice of a new transition period, hopeful for an increased climate of “diversity inclusivity,” the Faculty Senate Committee on the Status of Faculty of Color looks forward to working in partnership with all stake-holders invested in continuing Temple University’s national reputation as a leader in diversity and education.
Faculty Senate Committee on The Status of Faculty of Color