Some undergraduate schools are hiring minority professors, particularly Asians, in increasing numbers over whites, a recently-released University report indicates. The study, entitled the "Affirmative Action Report for the Current Standing Faculty," is conducted each year by the Office of Planning and Institutional Research at the provost's request. It compares the number of new University professors hired to the precentage of women and minorities who have received PhDs in the last eight years. Despite increases in minority hiring, most departments across the University continue to underhire women in relation to pools of recent U.S. doctoral recipients. The pools of available doctoral recipients are a major factor in how many faculty members universities can hire from any given ethnic or gender group. Figures in the report show that most departments hire females and minorities roughly in proportion to their representation in the pools. Analysis of data across schools and within the schools themselves, however, yields a mixed verdict on faculty affirmative action hiring practices. The Wharton School, for instance, hired 13 more Asian candidates since 1982 than predicted by their proportion in the pool, while retaining 12 fewer white candidates than expected. Both Wharton and the School of Arts and Sciences also hired fewer women than the doctoral pool would predict, according to the study. Schools across the board show a trend toward hiring minorities over whites. The report also shows the makeup of departments and schools as a whole, including tenured professors. Comparing these statistics to PhD recipient data shows that many departments still lag behind in the hiring of women and minorities. However, the data also shows that some schools and departments have both overcome the slow-changing nature of faculty composition and surpassed doctoral recipient figures for some gender and ethnic catagories. In comparison to the PhD recipient pool, women are actually overrepresented in the Engineering and Nursing schools, while Asians are overrepresented in parts of Wharton, Engineering and the School of Arts and Sciences. Faculty, who have had approximately a month to study the report, are now beginning to offer their opinions on what the study may indicate. At a noontime gathering Monday of the Faculty Senate's Committee on the Faculty, professors prepared a statement on the report for presentation at the Senate Executive Committee's meeting this afternoon. According to Finance Professor Morris Mendelson, chairperson of the Senate's Committee on the Faculty, the committee agreed that this year's results show little change from last year. He said the committee's statement will target problem areas, but that it neither condemns nor congratulates departments as a whole on their hiring practices. Last year's report spawned debate within the Faculty Senate over appropriate methods for monitoring hiring activity of so-called "delinquent" departments. The study revealed that 13 SAS and three Wharton departments had disproportionately hired males over females in relation to the available pool of candidates for their disciplines. Other committees are also taking an interest in the latest report. Dental School Biochemistry Professor Phoebe Leboy, chairperson of the president's Affirmative Action Council Committee on Faculty Recruitment and Retention, said the report will be discussed at a gathering for her committee in late April. In the meantime, Leboy said she has mixed reactions to the study's findings. "There are some areas that seem to be doing well, if one defines well as hiring people in relation to there representation in the pool," Leboy said Friday. "There are still other departments that are not doing as well." Leboy said she feels "considerable dismay" over the hiring records of departments in her own area, the natural sciences, and within the medical schools. She stressed, however, that she was extremely grateful the provost has continued to produce the "badly needed" study. Provost Michael Aiken said last week he has not received any feedback on the latest report, but feels the information is important and will allow interested parties to draw their own conclusions on faculty hiring practices. "The reason we do this is to bring this to the attention of the community," Aiken said. The 122-page document -- which offers data with little analysis -- contains tables comparing the faculty composition and hiring patterns as of last fall, broken down by gender and ethnicity. Ethnicity is divided into categories for blacks, whites, Asians and Hispanics. The report provides the actual number of new assistant professors hired in the last eight years in these gender and ethnic divisions, compared against the "proportional representation" of these gender and ethnic groups in the pool of U.S. doctoral recipients from 1981 to 1988. The report contains separate data for each University department, including undergraduate, graduate, professional programs and medical schools. Executive Assistant to the Provost Linda Koons said the report has been circulated to school deans, department chairs, and affirmative action officers throughout the University. She said the report's findings will also be summarized for publication in a forthcoming issue of the Almanac.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.