Faculty diversity matters too

Editorial Board

UTSA prides itself on being a Minority-Serving Institution that promotes diversity. Any racial disparities on our college campus between students and professors indicate a lack of drive for racial inclusivity of our campus.

UTSA consists of 8% Black students, 56% Hispanic students, 6% Asian students and 23% White students; however, UTSA’s faculty is comprised of only 4% Black, 19% Hispanic, 12% Asian and 49% White members as of 2019, according to UTSA’s Institutional Research. For a campus that supposedly prizes diversity, these numbers reflect a different reality.

A campus with faculty who are representative of the student body creates a more inclusive environment. A racially inclusive teaching environment increases student attendance, according to the Brookings Institute, a national nonprofit public policy research organization.

Further, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, non-Hispanic whites comprised 77% of full-time faculty members at U.S. colleges and universities in the fall of 2017.

President Taylor Eighmy wants to expand UTSA’s size and academic reputation, which is a great opportunity for our university to diversify its faculty.

UTSA desperately yearns to be an esteemed research university; however, reinforcing diversity needs to be our top priority. President Eighmy is striving to enroll 45,000 students by 2028, but ensuring our campus can achieve a representative faculty is more critical to the UTSA community than increased enrollment numbers.

Following UTSA’s January update on strategic hiring initiatives, the university announced a new administrative position: associate vice provost for faculty diversity and inclusion. According to UTSA, the goal of the initiative is to “help shape and guide the university’s continuing efforts to enhance faculty diversity to better reflect the students UTSA serves.”

A new associate vice provost for faculty diversity and inclusion might help UTSA reach this diversity goal. But more must be done than simply hiring an administrator for diversity on campus, namely, hiring a more diverse faculty.