Report on faculty sheds light on demographics

By and
April 27, 2010, 1:04 a.m.

The number of black and Hispanic faculty members at Stanford reached a new high last year but, their numbers as a percentage of total faculty have not increased in a decade.

That was among the conclusions in this year’s Report on the Faculty, an annual study by the provost’s office about hiring, loss and demographics at a university where about one in four faculty is female and about one in five is a person of color.

“We’d like to move those numbers up more quickly,” said Patricia Jones, the vice provost for faculty development. Jones presented the report, whose latest data is from 2008-2009, to the Faculty Senate this month.

“We’d much rather be at sort of 50 percent women faculty, like our student body,” Jones said, adding that the University would like the percentage of faculty of color to more closely mirror the student or national population, too.

“But obviously we can’t get there that quickly,” Jones said.

The number of female undergraduates is nearly level with males — 3,405 versus 3,473 — this school year, while 3,065 women make up 36 percent of the graduate student population.

Stanford’s top administrators have made plain their support for faculty diversity. In 2007, President John Hennessy and Provost John Etchemendy said in a recruiting report that Stanford’s commitment to diversity is based “on the belief that a more diverse faculty enhances the breadth, depth and quality of our research and teaching.”

“A diverse faculty also provides a variety of role models and mentors for our increasingly diverse student population,” Hennessy and Etchemendy said.

Three years later, Jones said challenges still exist in recruiting and keeping a diverse teaching staff. Chief among those challenges is the slow rate of faculty growth in general, she said.

“The faculty as whole grows slowly,” Jones said. During last year’s study period, the faculty grew 1.9 percent to 1,908 members, an average rate in “recent years.” That net growth came from 100 hires and 65 departures.

“By growth in faculty, we mean how many new hires we can make,” Jones said. “That reflects the fact it costs money to hire new faculty,” which can includes such costs as salaries, lab renovations and additions to library collections.

The report also cited low faculty turnover, “inadequate pipelines” channeling women and minority scholars toward faculty careers, and the local cost of living as challenges to diverse faculty recruitment.

In fact, in a survey of academics who turned down jobs at Stanford in 2007-2008, housing cost and availability was the top-named reason for rejecting offers here. About two thirds of the 45 people who turned down faculty jobs that year responded to the survey, according to Jones.

The median sale price for an on-campus home, where faculty and some staff are eligible to buy, was $1,556,000 in 2009, according to statistics from the University’s Faculty Staff Housing office. There were 12 sales in 2009.

The two homes sold so far in 2010 went for a median $1,438,500. Santa Clara County’s median home price in March was $500,000, the San Jose Mercury News reported; in San Mateo County, the median price was $700,000.

Diversity by the Numbers

The report this month broke down women and minorities’ share of faculty positions by rank, school and other metrics.

Of the University’s 1,908 faculty members, 488 are women, according to the report. They make up 40 percent of senior fellows at Stanford’s policy centers and institutes and 19 percent of full professors. 20.5 percent of tenured faculty are women, as are 34 percent of non-tenure line faculty.

Women’s shares of spots in all schools rose from 1999 to 2004, and again from 2004 to 2009. Faculty of color now make up 21.1 percent of faculty at Stanford, according to the report. The number of Asian faculty — 290 as of September 2009 — has grown since 1999 and 2004. The number of black faculty grew by four professors, to 49, between 2004 and 2009.  The number of Hispanic faculty is up one during that period, to 61 members, while the number of Native American professors — three — has remained unchanged.

The report also examined tenure rates by gender and ethnicity. Among faculty up for tenure between 1995 and 2002, 85.5 percent of women and 79.3 percent of men received tenure. 82.4 percent of Asian faculty, 74.3 percent of under-represented minorities and 83.3 percent of non-minority faculty who were up for tenure between 1989 and 2002 received it.

For non-tenure line faculty up for tenure between 1995 and 2002, women’s and men’s rates were nearly level, at 53.5 percent and 53.7 percent respectively. Between 1989 and 2002, 52.5 percent of Asian faculty, 39.4 percent of under-represented minorities and 53.5 percent of non-minorities got tenure. The data are from an internal database of the Faculty Affairs division of the provost’s office, Jones said.

‘Ongoing Efforts’

Among the University’s attempts to “support” diverse faculty recruitment is the Faculty Development Initiative of the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity.

Albert Camarillo, a history professor, heads the project “to facilitate the identification and recruitment and appointment of faculty who do race and ethnicity studies,” he said.

The initiative provides “some guidelines and information about consideration of their pool of faculty recruits and applicants” to departments searching for new hires, Camarillo said.

The five-year project, which began in 2007, has been involved in hiring six faculty in the School of Education and the School of Humanities & Sciences so far, according to Camarillo; it is authorized to help make 10 faculty appointments in total.

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