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Ivy League’s Faculty Diversity Grows Very Slowly, Report Finds

By Karen W. Arenson

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Minorities and women have made little progress in breaking into the faculty ranks of the Ivy League, according to a new report.

In 2003, Ivy League campuses hired 433 new professors into tenure-track jobs, but only 14 were black and eight were Hispanic. Women received 150 of the jobs.

The figures, culled from a federal database by a graduate student group at Yale University, shows the slow progress these highly visible universities, including Harvard, Yale and Princeton, are making in diversifying their faculties.

“The tenure-track faculty jobs are where all the change is supposed to be taking place,” said Rose K. Murphy, a senior research analyst at the Graduate Employees and Students Organization at Yale, a group of graduate teaching assistants seeking union recognition there, and a co-author of the study. “But most of the new positions are still going to white men.”

Lawrence H. Summers ’75, Harvard’s president, has drawn intense criticism for suggesting recently that women might not have the innate ability to become high-powered scientists and for not granting tenure to more women.

But the new study shows that Harvard has abundant company among the Ivies.

From 1993 to 2003, the percentage of tenured black professors on the Ivy faculties remained flat at two percent. The only Ivy campus where black professors accounted for more than three percent of the tenured faculty in 2003 was Brown, which had 17 black professors with tenure, or four percent of its tenured faculty.

There was also little change in the tenure-track positions, the entry-level jobs that give professors a chance to earn permanent positions. In 2003, black professors had no more than four percent of the tenure-track positions at any Ivy university, and at Brown there were none.

“We don’t do enough as an academic culture to recruit and nurture young students of color,” said Robin D.G. Kelley, an anthropology professor at Columbia University who is black. “I could probably invite all of the African-American faculty in the humanities at major universities across the nation to a party, and they would fit in my house. And it is not that big; I live in a New York City apartment.”

Hispanic professors accounted for one percent of tenured professors in the Ivies in both 1993 and 2003, a period that saw tenured positions grow nine percent, to nearly 6,000 jobs. In 2003, they held three percent of the 3,560 Ivy League tenure-track jobs.

Women showed more progress at the senior levels. They represented 20 percent of all tenured Ivy faculty in 2003, up from 14 percent in 1993. But their share of the tenure-track jobs remained roughly flat over the decade, at about one-third.

The report, “The (Un)Changing Face of the Ivy League,” was based on data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System at the U.S. Department of Education. The Graduate Employees and Students Organization at Yale, which compiled the study with help from graduate students at Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania, said it planned to deliver its findings to the Ivy League presidents on Wednesday.

Ronald G. Ehrenberg, a professor of industrial and labor relations and economics at Cornell University who studies academic labor markets, said that the problems in recruiting women were different from those for minority professors. Ehrenberg said that studies had found that eligible women often backed away from research universities because of the difficulties they saw in combining high-powered professional jobs and family. Some may also perceive discrimination, he said.

“That is not just an issue for academia,” he added. “It’s an issue all over.”

The problem in hiring members of minorities, Ehrenberg said, is that the pool of candidates “just isn’t that large.” He said that under-represented minorities earned only 6.5 percent of all PhD’s granted from 1989 to 1993, and that the percentages in the arts and sciences and engineering were even lower. More than 40 percent of the doctorates earned by blacks were in education.

Officials of the eight Ivy campuses respond that they have been trying to diversify. Columbia, for example, recently appointed a vice provost for diversity initiatives.

The University of Pennsylvania has set up special finances to help in the hiring and retention of women and minorities. About three years ago, it began to make special efforts to bring more women to the senior faculty, which is paying off.

Penn was the only Ivy in 2003 that hired more women than men into tenured positions: It hired six women with tenure and five men. Across all the Ivies, women accounted for only 27 percent of 117 tenured hirings that year.

“We realized that if we’re bringing in men at the senior level, we had to bring in more women at the senior level,” Janice R. Bellace, associate provost at Penn, said.

Brown University, as part of an initiative to hire 100 new faculty members, has designated 20 positions for expedited hiring, with the hope that many would be filled by minorities, a university spokesman said.

The study also noted the sharp rise in faculty jobs that were not on the tenure track at all: to 7,792 slots in 2003 from 4,266 slots in 1993. The 83 percent increase far outstripped the growth in other faculty jobs. Such jobs represented only about a third of the Ivy faculty in 1993 but climbed to 45 percent by 2003.

The nontenure-track jobs, which carry titles like lecturer, instructor or researcher, generally pay less and provide fewer benefits, if any. They are usually short-term, and involve heavier teaching loads, the report said, even though they often require a doctorate. Blacks and women hold higher proportions of these jobs than of the tenure-track positions.

The data did not specify where these nontenure-track jobs were. But on some campuses, like Columbia, some of the growth has been in research jobs at medical centers. Other campuses have increased the number of lecturers in academic departments, a move that some criticize as cost-cutting at the expense of education.