University Continues Progress in Female, Minority HiringThe University of Nebraska continues to make progress in increasing the diversity of its faculty, a goal shared by the Board of Regents, university administrative leadership, and the State Legislature, according to a report released today. The Board of Regents has a long-standing commitment to diversity, with goals set for gender equity in 1991 and for minority affairs in 1993. Specific diversity goals and measurements are also included in the university’s strategic framework, initially developed in 2004.
In 1997, the legislature directed the university to establish a plan to reach the midpoint of all peer institutions (1) in the employment of women and minority faculty members by 2005. That deadline was later extended to August 1, 2008.
In the 2008 progress report submitted to the legislature, the university reported that the percentage of women on the faculty has increased steadily since 1995 and is now 33.1 percent, compared to the peer average of 31.9 percent. That represents an increase of 8.0 percentage points since 1995. The university has also demonstrated progress in minority faculty hiring, according to NU Executive Vice President and Provost Linda R. Pratt, but the record is not as strong. The 2007 figure of 14.5 percent is below the peer average of 16.6 percent, although NU’s rate of progress in both female and minority hiring exceeds that of peers. (Note: All figures refer to full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty. Minority figures include African-American, Native American, Asian and Hispanic faculty.)
"Education is about preparing students for the future, and it is important that the University reflects the diverse cultures of the global community in which these students must find their path," Dr. Pratt said. "We will continue our efforts to recruit and retain more women and more persons of color." Nebraska's population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau (2006), is 84.9 percent "white non-Hispanic" and 50.4 percent female.
From 1995 to 2007, the total number of faculty members decreased from 2,187 to 2,138. During that time period, the number of female faculty increased from 549 to 708; the number of minority faculty increased from 173 to 311.
Pratt said it is the university's policy always to hire the best qualified candidate for every position. "Good recruiting means going beyond the traditional measures. When you recruit well, you are much more likely to have a national pool that includes women and minorities," according to Pratt. "Hiring exceptional faculty is hard work," said Pratt, "and I am proud of the efforts the university has made to strengthen its recruiting efforts."
At the same time, she said, women and minority faculty at the University of Nebraska are heavily recruited by other institutions, making it even more challenging to meet diversity goals. "Nebraska is known as a great place to recruit young faculty," Pratt said. Between 2006 and 2007, 29 minority faculty members left the university and 49 were hired, while 51 female faculty members left and 81 were hired.
The report shows significant progress in the past year, with 24.1 percent of all new hires being minorities and 39.9 percent being women.
2008 Progress Report on Increasing Minority and Women Faculty
(1) Each campus of the University of Nebraska, and the NU system, has a designated group of peer institutions, which are universities of similar size and mission; they are often used for comparative purposes.