The Southern Regional Education Board has released new data that shows that the level of Black, Hispanic, and other underrepresented college faculty members is not keeping pace with the changing student demographics in many states.
The data shows that only 9.2 percent of full- and part-time faculty members were Black at public four-year institutions in the 16-state region of the Southern Regional Education Board in 2017-18, the latest year data is available.
In those same public four-year colleges and universities, 17.9 percent of undergraduate students were Black. White faculty members were substantially overrepresented when compared to the undergraduate enrollments of their states.
Some 20.2 percent of students in the region’s two-year and technical colleges were Black, but only 14.1 percent of full- and part-time faculty in two-year colleges were Black.
At private, not-for-profit institutions of higher education, 22 percent of undergraduates were Black but only 10.4 percent of faculty members were Black.
The report also breaks out statistics for the 16 states in the region. For example, Blacks make up 27.3 percent of all undergraduate students at four-year public universities in Georgia. But Blacks are only 12.6 percent of the total faculty at these institutions. Remember too, that these figures include data for the state-operated historically Black universities in Georgia.
At private, four-year, not-for-profit institutions in Georgia, Blacks make up 32.4 percent of the undergraduate students but only 17.9 percent of the total faculty.
“States need more students from all backgrounds to complete all levels of postsecondary education,” said Stephen Pruitt, president of the Southern Regional Education Board. “These disparities are an important factor the South must address in building a workforce prepared for tomorrow.”
“Having more people from underrepresented backgrounds complete their Ph.D.s and become professors is a critical step toward helping more students of color succeed,” added Ansley Abraham, the director of the organization’s State Doctoral Scholars Program.