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Source: Office of Institutional Analytics

Source: Office of Institutional Analytics

UNM records highest number of Hispanic and American Indian faculty members in the country

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, of more than 1,500 public and private universities examined, UNM employs the most Hispanic and American-Indian faculty members.

The study included schools like the University of California, Los Angeles, New York University and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Across the country, university faculty are overwhelmingly white and male, according to the study.

The Chronicle of Higher Education -- an online aggregator of news for college administrators -- reports that 75 percent of national faculty members are white, 5 percent are black, 4 percent are Hispanic and 0.4 percent are American Indian. Roughly 65 percent of national faculty members are male and 35 percent female.

Data from UNM’s Office of Institutional Analytics shows that the University’s Main Campus faculty base is much more diverse than most colleges nationwide.

At UNM, 12 percent of faculty members are Hispanic, three times the national average, and 3.3 percent are Native American, eight times the national average.

According to the data, the diversity of tenured professors at UNM more closely line up with the national figures. Non-tenure-track female faculty members account for 55 percent of the group, while only 42 percent of tenure track faculty members are female.

Despite high numbers in some faculty demographics, UNM still has plenty of room to improve campus faculty diversity, as African-American faculty members are the most underrepresented, making up only 2 percent of instructors, or half the national average, according to the data presented by the Office of Institutional Analytics.

Although UNM faculty is 63 percent white, it is a leader in faculty diversity.

Josephine De Leon, vice president of the UNM Division of Equity and Inclusion, highlighted the importance of faculty diversity, and said that some UNM faculty members are “national leaders on diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice,” and important contributors to educating an increasingly diverse student population.

“As we continue to focus on inclusive excellence, having a diverse faculty is very much a part of creating excellence. A diverse faculty brings different perspectives that are important in enriching the academic environment,” De Leon said.

Over the past several years, she said, UNM has applied various strategies to attract diverse faculty members, but it is becoming harder and harder to maintain UNM’s diverse faculty as institutions nationwide have started to actively recruit more diverse staff.

“As our financial situation grows more dire, the possibility of offering incentives becomes even more difficult. Most colleges and departments are struggling to keep diverse faculty that are being ‘cherry-picked’ by other institutions, especially since there are no monies for counter-offers,” De Leon said.

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In the past, UNM’s Academic Affairs Office and the Division for Equity and Inclusion offered monetary “incentives for hiring,” she said, but funds have become limited by budget cuts in recent years.

Because of budget restraints, De Leon said UNM has had to become more creative in their recruitment of diverse faculty.

“It’s a difficult time,” she said. “One of the biggest draws for some diverse faculty is the diversity of our student body.”

Felix Cerna, a freshman biology and Spanish major, said it is important to create a faculty base that is inclusive to all UNM students, and creating a diverse environment helps students achieve success at high levels of education.

“It is important that students at UNM feel supported and see that they too can live a rich life, despite what society tells them,” Cerna said. “Not only does seeing a faculty member who identifies similarly to you provide empowerment, but it also validates your sense of self, reminding you that you are more than the limitations society places on you.”

Faculty diversity also enriches the educational experience, broadens our perspective and influences our reality, Cerna said.

“When we have different minds working together, we broaden our perspective of the world. As our perception changes, our sense of reality changes as well,” he said. “Minority groups are often held to a lower standard and experience discrimination in all aspects of their lives. Supporting students is crucial and in turn will lead to a transcendence beyond self and creates a strong sense of love and acceptance within the University.”

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