Black Faculty Are Vastly Underrepresented at Southern Colleges and Universities

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.

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  1. What this study only shows and proves that higher education institutional racism is even more entrenched in 2021. Anyone with an a modicum of intelligence can see this very easily without any sort of quantitative, qualitative, or MM study. The unfortunate facts remain is that most Historically White Universities and Colleges (HWCUs) only want a sprinkling amount of so-called native born Black American faculty within their ranks.

  2. I am in total alignment with this article. I also discuss the need for Black Faculty in my dissertation ” What factors support degree completion for African-American Women students at a land-grant Historically Black College and University”. As more Black students are entering Ph.D and Ed. D programs, we are submitting our CVs for faculty roles. In my own experience of going through this process now, we are looked over for these appointments for lesser qualified candidates.

  3. Many black students are academic underperformers who cluster at or near the bottom of classes at predominantly white universities.

    So it is unrealistic to expect the percentage of black faculty to be equal or nearly equal to the percentage of black students. Faculty are recruited from the best and the brightest academic stars, not from the pool of bottom dwellers.

    The benchmarks used to evaluate the fairness of hiring practices need to be carefully and judiciously applied and interpreted.

    • Your ignorant, misguided, and unsubstantiated comment ‘ewart’ (lower case ‘e’ intentional) regarding the intelligence and academic performance of so-called native born Black American college students is patently false on numerous levels. In fact, your dimwitted comment is not even worthy of an substantive response. All I can say is that you have a deeply embedded acute case of cognitive dissonance. Time to cast down your 21st century neocolonial mentality ‘ewart’.

    • Many black students are academic underperformers who cluster at or near the bottom of classes at predominantly white universities.

      There you go with the negativity again. Can you provide any substantiated evidence that this is the case? I cannot understand why an obvious racist would even read this newsletter.

      Part of the reason for such low faculty numbers is systemic racism. I was hired at a PWI and the preferred choice for my professor position was a far less qualified White female with merely a masters degree. I was subjected to horrific racism. Read all about in the book The Beauty and Burden of Being a Black Professor.

      • Hey Dr. Minor,

        You’re absolutely correct about the barrage of mistreatment of highly qualified Black American faculty at HWCUs. Regarding the outlandish and asinine comments from ‘ewart’, it’s not even worth a response because his skewed thinking is akin to a contextual virus.

      • Sorry. Just because a White candidate had “merely a master’s degree” is not adequate proof that she was an inferior candidate. You seem to be making a crude judgment, because you could not possibly know all the factors relevant to the hiring decision.

          • Do you recognize the complexity of this issue? I’ve taught at three major state universities and a Canadian college. I am not naive.

            I would remind you that in higher education, close attention is paid not only to the classroom grades black students earn, but also to their performance on academic aptitude tests and professional credentialing exams. In the bar exams for key states, for example, the pass rates for black candidates are always lower — sometimes much lower — than the pass rates for Whites and Asians. In accounting, the percentage of blacks who pass the CPA exams is always vanishingly small. I could go on, but you get the point. These statistics make it difficult for even competent and accomplished blacks to establish their credibility and command respect.

            As far as I can tell, however, for every black academic or professional denied a job or promotion, or undermined by colleagues in the workplace, there is another black who has been given a job he or she does not deserve.

            We usually ignore the benefits of being black.

        • You are unashamedly ignorant and woefully NAIVE on ‘the highest order ‘Ewart’, you need to tell everyone why you’re no longer teaching at the White Canadian university. I know why, it’s called Canadian RACISM.

          • Racism? No. It’s because I could make more money working for large corporations.

  4. RastafarI love. I have been in the College and University system since 1986. I started College at 17 and I am now 51 soon to be 52. And, I always attended Predominantly white institutions, where BIPOCs were in the minority. In the 1980s we had to fight for more faculty of color and by the time I got to graduate school at a research 1 institution in California, the struggle was more about racism imbued in the Tenure Process. Still, I was encouraged to pursue my Doctorate first at an Ivy League Institution where well meaning White faculty spoke about black issues but refused to act when black students like me experienced racism. Moreover, we were told that the jobs would open up by the 2000s! But, folks are still fighting to get work as Faculty in these schools of Higher learning. I feel that it’s time for the faculty at these Colleges and Universities to reflect the BIPOC students who pay a high cost to attend. And, the result is bound to be good because the students are likely to find more support for our work and interests. One white faculty told me that he wasn’ t confident that I could complete my Doctorate in the Department because there were not many Black faculty nor were there any faculty from my ethnic background of Ayiti descent. He was trying to help me but his honesty made it clear that we need BIPOC faculty! Blessed love.#1804 #Ayiti #Blackintelligence

  5. ‘ewart’,
    You fail to recognize that regardless of how many PENNIES the White MNCs pay you that you’ll always be an ill-informed, apolitical, and neoliberal Caribbean immigrant to your White colleagues. I am most confident that you get reminded everyday at your job. ‘ewart’, it’s time for stop being a 21st lackey.

    • You fail to realize how many advantages you take for granted in America. Your thinking might change if you had to live and work in a corrupt Caribbean or African country, where life is a struggle against poverty and hardship, and in your feeble old age you might not even get the pension you were promised. Not to mention that careless nurses and doctors might throw away your life if you ever checked into a hospital.

      So count your blessings instead of constantly complaining, and try to earn the respect you crave.

  6. ‘ewart’ (lower case ‘e’ intentional),

    Let’s be clear ‘ewart’, the entire continent of Africa and all of the Caribbean is nothing than a late 19th century outpost for the Europeans and now the Chinese. The Continent of Africa is mired in deep seated corruption and ignorance along with a fetish towards anything that’s “White or Asian”. For the record, you seriously need to recognize that your response is indicative of a colonial education and a mindset. Talk about “counting your blessings”. I just bet you think “God or Jesus” is White just like hundreds of millions on the continent of Africa and the Caribbean. Whose the idiot know “ewart”? Time to keep smiling showing all of your teeth in the presence of your White colleagues. You simpleton!

    • Try harder to be high-minded. Resentment will get you nowhere. The Other Side has more knowledge — and more wespons — than you will ever have.

      • I have to agree with Ewart on this. Just do the actual research on mismatch within Law schools and minorities. Richard Sander painstakingly researched and collected the data that was made available to him (with force) and Ewart is right just as many have stated that mismatch to institutions is the major cause for minority students not achieving their level best academically. You are also pointing out a valid statement that that all the facts are not made available so people receive only snippets (by the way done by design) so that will a an inferiority complex and lower self-esteem of minorities in higher education and professional studies. Many a study that are peer-reviewed and have not been rebutted prove exactly what you stated. But I guess those studies will never be highlighted because it only will disprove a false logic that is circulating. By the way data and research are needed otherwise we are basing everything on the word of media rather than true research.

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