Archive for Tuesday, January 21, 1992

MINORITY NUMBERS INCREASING AT KU

January 21, 1992

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The percentage of minority faculty and students at Kansas University has increased over the past several years, following a national trend that shows more minorities are involving themselves in higher education.

Over the past five years, the number of minority faculty on KU's Lawrence campus increased 10.6 percent, from 92 to 102. Minorities blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asians make up 8.1 percent of the faculty. More than half of that number are Asian.

"It represents a major effort on our part in an era in which salaries were not improving," said Del Brinkman, vice chancellor for academic affairs at KU. "Competition for minority faculty is keen."

"We're certainly not where we need to be, but we're pleased that we were able to hire more good minority faculty," he said.

Enrollment of minority students in Lawrence increased 8.7 percent last fall, a semester in which overall enrollment grew less than 1 percent. Minorities constitute 7.1 percent of KU's student population, or 1,899 of 26,661.

"We have invested heavily in students," Brinkman said. "It's good to see it's having some positive results."

AN AMERICAN Council on Education report released this week indicates the number of Asian faculty members at U.S. colleges rose sharply during the last decade while blacks, Hispanics and American Indians showed smaller gains.

The 10th Annual Status Report on Minorities in Higher Education showed that while minority student enrollment rates increased during that two-year period for all ethnic groups, minority enrollment far outpaced the enrollment rate for white students.

The council is a non-profit association that represents about 1,600 colleges and universities.

The council said the nation's overall minority faculty percentage rose from 17.7 percent in 1979 to 20.3 percent in 1989.

Asians are the fastest-growing minority on college faculties. Asian representation rose from 2.9 percent to 4.7 percent, and Asians now outnumber blacks on college faculties.

Blacks showed the least change, the study said. In 1979, about 4.3 percent of the faculty were black, compared with 4.5 percent in 1989. Nearly half of all black faculty members are employed at historically black colleges.

Hispanic faculty rose from 1.5 percent to 2.0 percent; American Indians, from 0.2 percent to 0.3 percent.

AT KU, the number of Hispanic faculty more than doubled in the past five years, from seven to 15. The proportion of other KU minority faculty remained steady: black, 24 to 25; Asian, 60 to 59; and Native American, one to three.

All ethnic groups were under-represented in faculty positions across the country, the council's report said.

Brinkman said the hiring market for faculty is not the same in all areas of higher education. Some disciplines are more competitive than others, he said.

"And we have to match our openings and needs with the market. It's a targeted process," he said.

Brinkman said the process of diversifying the faculty is slow, and changes don't show up immediately.

Between 1988 and 1990, the percent of minority college-level students increased 10 percent, while the percentage of white students increased 3.8 percent.

Black males reversed an eight-year decline in college enrollment and set a new record in 1990. Between 1988 and 1990, enrollment among black males increased 7.4 percent to 476,000, the council said. The previous record high of 464,000 was set in 1980.

AT KU, enrollment of blacks increased last fall by 34 to 678. That reversed a decline in black enrollment, which fell from 1984 to 1989 before increasing by two in 1990.

Among all black students, enrollment grew from 1.1 million to 1.2 million, an 8.2 percent increase from 1988 to 1990. Among Asian students the increase was 11.7 percent, from 500,000 to 555,000. Hispanic enrollment grew from 680,000 to 760,000, an 11.5 percent increase.

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