There is a significant disparity in the racial makeup between students and the faculty in the entire University of Texas System.
According to the Fall 2014 Fact Book, 48.4 percent of UTSA’s student population is Hispanic, while only 17 percent of the faculty is Hispanic. Contrastingly, 59 percent of UTSA’s faculty is white, while only 27.6 percent of the student body is white.
In an effort to increase the reflectiveness between students and faculty, Chancellor Bill McRaven will require a minority or woman candidate to be interviewed for every dean position or high-level faculty position until the final stage of selection.
“It is very clear that we are not doing the job we ought to be doing in driving equal opportunity and fairness in our hiring and promotion processes. This is particularly disappointing because education is all about opportunity,” McRaven said.
“While this (rule) will not guarantee women or minority hires—nor should it if a candidate is not qualified—it will put more women and minorities in a position for the selection committee to recognize the great talents that may have heretofore gone unnoticed.”
During a speech to the Board of Regents, McRaven explained that this rule would allow the faculty and staff to better represent the diverse student population.
McRaven stated, “Making sure our faculty and staff reflect the changing look of Texas is not just about fairness, it’s also about effectiveness. We need faculty, administrators and campus leaders who understand the people they’re serving, who come from the same kinds of places.”
McRaven also noted that the gender pay gap is significantly lower than the national average and that he intends to completely eliminate it within the next five years by mandating every UT branch to submit their plan to action.
Junior political science major and officer of the Undergraduate Political Science Association Diana Davila says, “The next five years seem a little ambitious. The root causes of wage gaps are diverse and I think there are structural causes as well as interpersonal or individual issues that contribute to the wage gap. I can see (wage gaps closing) for the smaller branches, but not for the big ones like UT or UTSA.”
The chancellor also plans to address the world issue of leadership by requiring every student within the UT system to take an upper and lower division course that focuses solely on how to plan, build teams, communicate and understand the importance of ethical behavior within the next several years.
Erika Benjamin, a senior political science major as well as the public relations officer of the Undergraduate Political Science Association, believes that the course will add value to the UT System’s core curriculum.
“This course would be a valuable tool for the students to ensure that they understand the true meaning of being an excellent leader and receiving advanced skills for teamwork,” Benjamin said.
The goal of these initiatives is to build a “team of teams” that has the skills necessary to address the pressing problems of the world.
“No one knows exactly what the future will hold, but we are betting on the men and women of Texas to shape their future in ways never before seen in higher education,” McRaven said to the Board of Regents. “This university system will dream big and we will act with unparalleled boldness.”