Report: U is failing to keep faculty of color

Joel Sawyer

The University fell short last year in its efforts to recruit and retain faculty members of color, according to a report delivered to the Board of Regents on Thursday.
“I’m not proud of this report because it does not put us at a point where I would like to see this University,” said Marvin Marshak, senior vice president for Academic Affairs.
Although the University exceeded its stated goals for the total number of faculty members of color hired and retained last year, administrators expressed disappointment over not meeting goals for African-American and American Indian faculty members.
“We’ve achieved some goals but there’s still much to be done,” said Nancy Barcelo, associate vice president for Academic Affairs-Diversity.
Since 1988, the University hired 206 faculty members of color but retained only 86 members of that group. During that time, the number of faculty members of color increased from 212 to 298.
That retention rate is of particular concern to administrators who said the University is losing talented faculty members of color, particularly African-Americans, because of the institutional climate at the school.
In 1994, 27 faculty members of color were hired while 21 left. In 1995, 17 were hired and 6 left.
Some of those faculty members left for other jobs and others left because they were not happy, Barcelo said. “The University of Minnesota wasn’t fulfilling their expectations,” she added.
The University hopes to retain faculty members of color by addressing some of the underlying causes for poor faculty member retention, enlarging the pool of potential faculty members and supporting existing faculty members of color.
“The responsibility for moving this University forward in this area is the responsibility of everyone of us in the leadership of this institution. In fact, it’s the responsibility of everyone in this community,” Marshak said.
Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs-Diversity Robert Jones said the University needs to build an “educational pipeline” to reach out and support minority students from preschool through college and into their professional careers.
The University would sponsor K-12 and college outreach programs and lure new professors to the school by offering post-doctoral fellowships for academic diversity and a visiting scholar program for faculty members of color.
Those programs would augment current recruiting measures and would be used in conjunction with a new approach toward improving the overall institutional climate for faculty members of color.
Regents agreed that the University needs a new approach toward recruitment and expressed their frustration with the current state of affairs, without taking any new actions.
“I’m not really proud of what I see,” said Hyon Kim, who attended her last meeting as a regent. “I’d like to see a timeline and a more complete plan.”
Other regents agreed. Using a football analogy, Regent William Hogan described the slow rate of minority advancement in the United States.
“We’ve made five yards in 100 years,” he said. “We’re on the 25-yard line after 100 years.”