New administrative position to increase faculty diversity

Josh Peck, News Editor

UTSA is undergoing an internal search for a faculty member to fill the newly created administrative position, the associate vice provost for faculty diversity and inclusion, which will focus on hiring and maintaining a diverse faculty. This position is oriented toward President Taylor Eighmy’s goal to increase faculty diversity.

“UTSA’s next milestone will be to increase by 50% the number of outstanding, diverse faculty,” Dr. Kimberly Espy, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs, said. “Our expectation is for this [associate vice provost] position to accelerate our progress in achieving this milestone so that we can work to achieve an even higher representation.”

The university is seeking to build a faculty which is more representative of its students and will positively impact those from underrepresented backgrounds, something Espy says is important due to UTSA’s Hispanic- Serving Institution designation.

“Our faculty play a central role in the academic experience, progress and outcomes of our students in and out of the classroom, and they also serve a pivotal role as mentors and models of success for our students,” Espy said. “This is particularly important for our Hispanic students, as well as other students from groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education, and can have an even deeper impact when the faculty themselves are similarly from underrepresented groups.”

Espy described the type of candidate the university would like to fill the role.

“The ideal candidate will engage various UTSA stakeholders in meaningful discussions to advance institutional outcomes, have knowledge of national best practices in all aspects of diversity faculty recruitment and retention, collaboratively develop tactics and execute action steps, partnering with college and department leadership to increase the diversity in our faculty candidate pools,” Espy said.

Espy emphasized the importance of a diverse candidate pool for the position.

“Because of the pivotal role in advancing faculty diversity, I would particularly encourage candidates from diverse gender/race/ethnicity groups to apply,” Espy said.

The associate vice provost for faculty diversity and inclusion will not have a direct role in hiring. However, the position will be used to diversify faculty candidate pools and support faculty after they come to UTSA.

The faculty member ultimately selected for this position will be provided “additional summer support” and an administrative stipend linked to their current salary, according to Espy.

In Fall 2019, 16% of UTSA’s tenure-track and tenured faculty were Hispanic, 3% were African American, 20% were Asian and 34% were female according to the UTSA Institutional Research dashboard. Comparatively, the student body in Fall 2019 was 56% Hispanic, 8% African American, 6% Asian and 51% female.

Espy says it is important that UTSA’s tenure-track and tenured faculty are more representative of the student body.

“It is critical to accelerate the hiring of outstanding tenured/tenure-track faculty who identify as Hispanic/Latino or as members of other underrepresented groups,” Espy said.