Diversity of teachers on campus

Essence BoydContributor

As a second semester junior, I encountered my first black female professor on the second day of the spring 2020 semester.

Prior to attending this course, I did not think much about the lack of representation on campus. However, it did make me question if other students had noticed the lack of staff diversity as well.

After sharing my discovery with numerous other students, I found that professors that are women of color on campus are just as rare as snow day cancellations at the university.

After checking every academic department online, of the faculty and staff who provided pictures on the university website only nine of them are women of color.

Being able to see people that look like you in higher positions inspire, motivate and challenge people to expect more of themselves. Having a professor that students can identify with not only makes a student more likely to engage in the classroom but makes them more likely to do well in it.

According to Forbes, “One of the main problems with the lack of diversity among faculty is that students may not see themselves reflected in their professors, which can cause a number of issues and can impact student retention as well as enrollment rates.”

Although some may argue that the reason behind there being so many Caucasian professors is simply because more white Americans obtain their doctoral degrees compared to minority groups, that is no excuse.

This may be true; however, that does not mean minorities are not obtaining them.

According to an opinion piece by Dr. Marybeth Gasman’s published in The Hechinger Report, “The reason we don’t have more faculty of color among college faculty is that we don’t want them. We simply don’t want them.”

Gasman goes on to suggest that institutions should create their own “pipeline” or system to encourage, educate and train students of color to lead them towards faculty careers.

The need for professors of color that are women on predominantly white campuses should be just as great as the need to promote the black basketball player or a social justice themed education.

Before my professor introduced herself to the class, I thought she was a student waiting for the professor to walk into class like the rest. Once she shared who she was my interest in the class automatically peaked as I felt more connected to the course solely from being able to see myself in her.

Now, I am not saying that once the university places professors who are women of color across the university grades across the board should peak. However, what I am saying is just as universities make sure they diversify their campus populations, they should make sure also to diversify their staff, as having a role model can be just as valuable as passing a class.

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