New report shows uptick in diversity of faculty

By RACHEL JUIENG and WILL EDMONDS | April 4, 2019

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University administrators released the 28-page JHU Report on Faculty Composition on March 31 using data collected up until November 2017. 

The report covered changes in representation from 2015 to 2017 of female faculty; female professorial faculty; minority and underrepresented minority (URM) faculty; and minority and URM professorial faculty. The report also discussed department-specific progress in the representation of female professorial faculty and URM professorial representation. 

This 2019 report is considered an update on the first faculty composition report in 2016 conducted by the Office of Institutional Research (OIR). Likewise, this report was conducted by the OIR and then validated by all divisions. 

In an email to The News-Letter, Susan Ridge, vice president for communications, responded on behalf of Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Sunil Kumar about ways in which the University has been trying to enhance diversity among its faculty. 

“The University has taken substantive steps in recent years to enhance the inclusiveness of our Hopkins benefit offerings and to help our faculty and staff and their families,” she wrote.

According to the University, the report will strengthen its ability to assess its faculty and make future choices about recruitment. 

“We firmly believe that this kind of detailed data will advance our efforts to measure our progress in faculty diversity over time, to better assess our opportunities for growth, and to be more strategic about faculty recruitment and retention,” the report reads. 

The 2017 data consists of a census of full-time (FT) and part-time (PT) faculty from the University’s nine academic divisions — Arts and Sciences (Natural Sciences), Arts and Sciences (Social Sciences), Arts and Sciences (Humanities), Business, Education, Engineering, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Medicine, Nursing, Peabody and Public Health. Limited duration appointments and visiting faculty are included in PT appointments. 

Seventy-six departments reported in the 2017 census. The census gave faculty the choice of opting out of self-identifying as members of URM groups. 

The report defines “underrepresented minority” as faculty who identify as black, Hispanic, American Indian, Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.

The first half of the report consists of a written overview of divisional data on female, minority and URM faculty. The second half is comprised of tables organized by division, rank and department. 

“Across all divisions, 44% of faculty are women, an increase from 42% in 2015,” the report reads. “Overall, 32% of faculty across all divisions reported being members of minority racial and ethnic groups, an increase from 30% in the 2015 faculty census. Increases in minority representation were noted in most divisions.”

In an email to The News-Letter, President of Hopkins Feminists Shalini Vijayekuma stated that the changes in faculty composition detailed in the report were positive. 

“Hopkins Feminists is pleased by the Report on Faculty Composition and the increasing diversity of faculty on campus specifically with regard to gender and underrepresented minorities. We believe that the most important factor in creating and supporting a diverse student population and diversity in thought is to ensure a diverse faculty,” she wrote. 

In the report, among the 76 departments reported during the 2017 census, 32 (42 percent) reported increased numbers of URM professorial faculty, 13 (17 percent) reported decreased numbers of professorial faculty and 17 (22 percent) reported no change in the number of URM professorial faculty.

“It is notable that the distribution of minority and URM professorial faculty, by rank, was consistent with the distribution of female professorial faculty, by rank,” the report reads.

Across Hopkins departments, the URM professorial average is nine percent. However, the report suggests that a tailored approach for attracting and retaining both female faculty and URM faculty would be better. 

The Faculty Diversity Initiative (FDI) is part of a new effort to increase female and URM faculty. The program, initially created in 2015, plans to run for five years with $25 million dollars. The goals include broadening the faculty search process by looking for more diverse sources of potential hires and providing more support for underrepresented faculty. 

Part of FDI is a funding initiative called The Target of Opportunity Program (TOP) to bolster the recruitment of faculty to positions that were not part of planned faculty searches. 

Interfolio, another program supported by FDI, would allow the University to automatically post advertisements for jobs on internet job advertising sites with which it is affiliated. 

The report also mentioned how Hopkins is attempting to help dual-career couples. As dual-career and dual-income couples become more commonplace, Hopkins additionally helps find a second position for the partner of the person they are already recruiting. 

“Research has shown that dual-career couples are not only more common in recent decades, but that dual-career searches more frequently affect women and minority faculty candidates,” the report reads.

Likewise, child care assistance has become an important issue when deciding to stay in job position. For this reason, Hopkins has created programs to support faculty who are parents. 

Ridge mentioned that the University has been making strides to support faculty with children in recent years. 

“And just recently, the university’s childcare benefit, which provides vouchers of up to $5,000 per year, was extended to full-time doctoral students, full-time postdocs, residents and interns. These policies have been published across a variety of communications platforms, disseminated via meetings with faculty groups across the university and integrated into faculty handbooks,” she wrote. 

Ridge also noted that even though the topic of maternity leave was left out of the report, it is still an issue that the University is actively trying to improve. 

“Specific to paid parental leave, during the summer of 2017, we announced a series of expanded benefits, including four weeks of paid parental leave after an employee’s child is born or placed through adoption. Employees who give birth receive an additional six weeks of paid birth recovery leave,” she stated. “We increased financial assistance offered to qualified employees to reimburse their adoption related expenses from $5,000 to $15,000 per child. Full time graduate students and postdoctoral trainees receive an eight-week accommodation to care for a new child with no loss in tuition benefits.” 

Shalini Vijayekuma wants the University to keep supporting diversity. 

“Although great strides have been made this year, we believe that Hopkins should stay committed to increasing faculty diversity to foster a culture of inclusion on campus,” she wrote. 

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