A recent Zoom presentation brought to light the lack of diversity in faculty diversity, but departments around campus are stepping out to explain their lack of color in staff. 

As of Fall 2019, the departments of occupational therapy, physical therapy, philosophy and religion, school of nursing, and the honors college had an all white full-time staff. 

Each department reached out to address this issue and explain the complications of this study and its unawareness to each situation. 

This gives concern that the various departments either have neglected men and women of color for positions, or there is just not a concern to have diversity. 

“My department, we have historically had not only a lack of diversity when it comes to race, but also really struggled when it comes to gender, as well as immigration status, as well as sexuality,”, Philosphy and religion’s Chair, Dr. Taine Duncan stated, “Basically, for each little category of diversity that you can tick-off in terms of identity it has really been a struggle, historically, for the disciplines of philosophy and religion and that is not unique to UCA.”

Philosphy and religion’s department sees not only a lack of representation of men and women of color, but are heavily male dominate and is often compared to engineering majors. 

Duncan expressed her road to her position was not competitive due to the lack of women represented in the department, but the part that was most disturbing to Duncan was the fact that “[philosphy and religion has] never had a full-time faculty member of color”. 

The problem does not lie with the department, but it lies with the hiring process. Each department expressed concern for their department’s name because of their inability to hire as they would like. 

“Our last faculty or staff search was more than six years ago, and our six core faculty have more than 100 years of experience teaching here in the Honors College at UCA, so there has not been much turnover nor much opportunity to run faculty searches,” Patricia Smith, Honors College Dean stated, “Only two of those searches have taken place during my 15 years in honors, so I cannot speak to each of them, but I can say that efforts were taken during both of those searches to try to diversify the candidate pool. In one search, there were no applicants of color, and in the second search, there was one applicant that met minimum education requirements, but that did not meet the criteria of the position description, where other candidates did.”

Susan Gatto, Nursing Chair, expressed the same issue in hiring. There is a lack of opportunity to hire individuals; nursing especially. 

“Diversity really hasn’t improved [in the nursing department], the last time we had an opening we offered it to a minority candidate, and she kind of looked at me like, ‘that’s a 30,000 dollar pay cut’ and you can imagine her answer was ‘no’. Money is a factor in this issue. Nurses are able to make double what the university is available to offer faculty, which makes it a ‘no-brainer’ for students to avoid the teaching route. 

Other departments were unable to meet due to time constraints, but there is a consensus when it comes to the lack of opportunities to hire new faculty. 

For more information contact each department chair or dean.

 

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