The Snail-Like Progress of Black Faculty in Engineering

A new report by Brian Yoder for the American Society for Engineering Education finds that Blacks are making only snail-like progress in obtaining faculty positions in engineering. The data shows that in 2011, Blacks were only 2.5 percent of all faculty in engineering positions at colleges and universities throughout the United States. In 2003, Blacks held 2.2 percent of all engineering faculty positions.

If we break down the numbers by faculty rank, we find that in 2011 there were 230 Black full professors of engineering. They made up 1.8 percent of all full professors of engineering. There were 226 Black associate professors of engineering. They made up 3.1 percent of all associate professors of engineering. At the assistant professor level, Blacks were 3.3 percent of all faculty in engineering.

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  1. There is no surprise in these numbers. Look at the low numbers of high-achieving Blacks in undergraduate engineering programs. Plus, the Black community puts such low value on the occupation of a university professor. I sit on many engineering industry boards and the lack of Black professors is no shock to me because there is no high quality pipeline of Blacks in engineering undergraduate programs, only one here and one there.

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