Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Despite Initiative, Diverse Faculty Numbers Drop

Data: The Chronicle of Higher Education; Graph: Chris Bien/The Hoya
Georgetown is ahead of many peer universities in full-time faculty diversity, though officials acknowledge there is room to grow.

More than a year after a group of students and professors called on Georgetown to increase diversity of faculty members, the university has mapped out plans to hire more minorities and emphasize diversity in the curriculum — but so far, sweeping changes have yet to materialize.

The percentage of minorities among faculty on the main campus dropped slightly over the past two years, from 13 percent in 2008 to 12 percent currently. The decline was mostly due to a one point decrease in the percentage of Hispanic professors.

“Generally speaking, Georgetown is doing well with faculty diversity as increasing numbers of women and minority persons, particularly Asian-American faculty, are hired each year to join the faculty ranks,” said Rosemary Kilkenny, vice president for institutional diversity and equity. “However, the hiring of black and Hispanic faculty [remains] elusive.”

With the Law Center and Medical School included, 18 percent of Georgetown’s full-time faculty are minorities — a rate higher than those of almost all other leading universities in the nation. Only 13 percent of full-time faculty members at both Harvard University and University of Notre Dame are minorities, according to a 2009 survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Even so, the decline in main campus faculty diversity from 13 to 12 percent comes more than a year after University President John J. DeGioia announced the Initiative on Diversity and Inclusiveness, an attempt to foster greater respect for diversity on campus.

As part of the initiative, three working groups — on admissions, academics and student life — met during the 2009-2010 academic year to produce a set of recommendations for the university. One of the key recommendations of the Working Group on Academics called for the hiring of more faculty who represent minorities, along with more faculty whose work focuses on underrepresented populations.

University Provost James O’Donnell claims the university has worked hard to make every faculty search one that also looks for diversity while stepping up overall recruiting practices. He added that the school has created a new position in African-American history, a spot they hope to fill by next semester.

“We realized we weren’t putting enough academic muscle into that area,” O’Donnell said.

University officials said they also hope to explore beefing up the African-American studies department as a whole and are also considering building Latin American and Asian-American studies programs.

“I think we’re doing better than ever,” O’Donnell said. “And we can do better.”

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