Blacks Making Only Snail-Like Progress in Closing the Racial Gap in Faculty Posts

According to the U.S. Department of Education, in 2017, there were 821,168 full-time instructional faculty members at degree-granting institutions in the United States. Of these, 45,427, or 5.5 percent, were Black. This data includes faculty at the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities. Therefore, the Black percentage of the faculty at predominantly White institutions is undoubtedly significantly lower.

Blacks are making only snail-like progress in increasing their share of all faculty positions in higher education. In 2009, Blacks made up 5.4 percent of all instructional faculty.

The racial gap in faculty posts is most pronounced at the full professor level. In 2017, there were 184,023 full professors at degree-granting institutions. There were 6,921 Blacks in full professor posts. Thus, Blacks made up only 3.8 percent of all full professors. This is up from 3.4 percent in 2009.

There were 157,820 associate professors in 2017. The 9,151 Black associate professors made up 5.8 percent of all faculty at this rank. This was up from 5.4 percent eight years earlier in 2009.

Blacks were 6.4 percent of the assistant professors, the same percentage as in 2009 and 7.2 percent of the instructors, down from 7.5 percent in 2009..


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  1. It would be interesting to see what the “people of color” statistics look like. I notice that these same Black faculty do not use the word “Black” when speaking about university hire. They use vague and nebulous terms like “minorities”, “people of color”, “diversity” and no all of a sudden I hearing about “Black faculty”? We can’t advocate for “people of color”, and then when “people of color” are hired complain that there is not enough “Black”. Why not just advocate for Black and let “people of color” advocate for themselves?

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