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
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.