While racial diversity among college students has increased steadily in recent years, racial diversity among college faculty has grown far more slowly, Education Dive reports. According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the percentage of nonwhite undergrads grew from 28 percent in fall 1997 to 45 percent in fall 2017, while the percentage of nonwhite postsecondary faculty increased from 14 percent to 24 percent.
Tenured faculty are still far more likely to be white; only 5.2 percent of tenured faculty members are Black, and 6.6 percent are Hispanic or Latinx, according to the Hispanic Journal of Law and Policy. Much of the increases in non-white faculty can be attributed to Black and Latinx faculty members hired for non-tenured roles, a 2016 report from the TIAA Institute found. “[J]ust as the doors of academe have been opened more widely than heretofore to marginalized groups, the opportunity structure for academic careers has been turned on its head,” the authors of that report wrote. “The available jobs tend, less and less, to be the conventional ‘good’ jobs, that is, the tenure-track career ladder jobs.”
Pew Research Center notes that the faculty-student racial imbalance on college campuses can have detrimental effects on student success. Evidence shows that students of color tend to perform better and have higher aspirations when taught by faculty members of color.