May 022004
Authors: Erin Frustaci

Although CSU prides itself in diversity, minority faculty

members make up a small population on campus.

CSU has 94 minority faculty members, compared to 866

non-minority faculty members. For the 2003-2004 school year, 59

faculty members were hired. Six of them were minorities.

“I am extremely concerned,” said Irene Vernon, the director of

the Center for Applied Studies in American Ethnicity. “I think we

need to promote the importance of diversity more.”

Vernon said people tend to ignore diversity issues when budgets

become a problem.

Budgetary issues within higher education have impacted the

faculty hiring process. Fewer positions were available because of

budget cuts. Also, the number of applicants has been down, CSU

official said.

Peter Nicholls, provost/academic vice president, said people are

not necessarily able to change jobs or universities during

difficult budget times but that this does not make CSU any less

devoted to diversity.

Tom Milligan, assistant vice president for University Relations,

agreed budgetary issues can affect hiring, but he said the

university still strives for the best faculty possible.

“The goal is to have well-trained leaders in their fields as

well as a diverse faculty,” Milligan said.

Blane Harding, academic advisor for the College of Liberal Arts,

said it is a Catch-22. The fact that CSU does not have a high

percentage of minority students is part of the equation.

“There seems to be effort, but the end result is not always

satisfactory,” Harding said.

Harding himself is a minority faculty member. He said he has had

a positive experience at CSU because he has had the opportunity to

do things he wanted to do.

Harding, Vernon and Nicholls all agreed that it is also a

question of supply. Sometimes certain fields do not have as many

minority applicants as others. In other cases, not as many

minorities have degrees in certain fields.

One way to encourage diversity is to be pro-active and reach out

in alternative ways when searching for candidates. The Office of

Equal Opportunity must approve all search processes.

Nicholls said he believes that if someone is on a search

committee, he or she should be actively engaged.

“All of us at CSU, in particular the president, deans and

myself, are very committed to diversity and it is important to

operate openly,” Nicholls said.

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