Learning from Haverford on Faculty Diversity

Terrence Johnson leads his class in a discussion. Johnson appreciates Haverford's "Quaker values of hospitality and collegiality."
Above: Terrence Johnson leads his class in a discussion. Johnson appreciates Haverford’s “Quaker values of hospitality and collegiality.”

Many minority faculty members and school administrators discuss the hiring of  minority candidates in two terms: comfort and fit; however, both terms can mean different things to schools and minority faculty members. I have found that minority  faculty members offer a different voice on matters of socioeconomic status, race, and perspective; still, the ideology of  my campus, Houston Christian, is conservative, with less than a one percent view that differs (an opinion). However, it is important that all faculty members and students believe in the overarching mission of their institution.

People of color, be they African American, Native American, Asian, Middle Eastern or whatever ethnic group, have spent years discovering their roots, developing a keen pride in their heritage, and accepting who they are. So don’t expect the current crop of prospective faculty to fit into your conservative profile. Many of them will not, and, frankly, I don’t think they should even try! Is that shocking? Is that unacceptable to you and your clientele? Then, perhaps, diversity is really not for you. If a turban or a dashiki pants suit offends, then so will diversity! Diversity by definition implies that the status quo will be upset.

I like Haverford’s approach to this topic:

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education recently reported that Haverford “leads the way” in its percentage of African American faculty members: Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that the College’s 12 black professors make up 7.9 percent of full-time faculty. And according to the 2009 Factbook, there are 34 faculty members of color overall, a full 25 percent of the faculty head count.

“We look to identify and recruit truly outstanding and diverse scholar/educators every time we launch a faculty search,” says President Stephen G. Emerson ’74.  “Our fundamental respect for diverse backgrounds and perspectives projects during the search process, and so the individuals we most seek are delighted to join our faculty.”

Haverford participates in the Consortium for Faculty Diversity, which allows member colleges to bring underrepresented dissertation-level graduate students to campus for a year, familiarizing them with the school and its professors. And every faculty search committee includes an affirmative action officer who ensures that the College complies with the proper hiring procedures.

You can read the rest here.

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6 thoughts on “Learning from Haverford on Faculty Diversity

  1. I think the issue is a complex one. Gifted blacks tend not to want to do academic/teaching type of work. Regardless of level, the pay is usually more in industry. You, my friend, are one of the few. But the upside I suppose is best.

  2. There are several colleges with majority black faculty. What is so bizarre is the obsession with poking at white communities to deny their unique culture and heritage so to make some feel “at home”. Why? You dilute a peoples culture with that of anothers, guess what, you have destroyed its unique sense. Instead of instigating racial upset, lets not demand we upset the “culture” of historically black colleges, lets leave them and “white”colleges alone. Or, is this the fear that one group will succeed without the other that has a vocal few so concerned? Equal success, or Equal misery.

  3. Sure, Denton, there are such; however, I find that it is important to offer students a reflective sense of diversity that reflects the plural nature of the world — and our country. Are you advocationg for segregation? I have found that the best and brightest desire diversity.
    You stated this:

    “What is so bizarre is the obsession with poking at white communities to deny their unique culture and heritage so to make some feel “at home”. ”

    I find your comment highly disturbing. Help me understand.

  4. That you find the idea that some communities dont want other peoples diversity forced into their childrens learning time disturbing, is itself disturbing. Math, Grammar, Science. Excel in these and you will do fine. Race studies, identity studies, advance no one. What have they resolved in the last 40 years? Which communities have benefited dollar wise. Which have actually learned something?

    It is hard enough raising children to learn self reliance, study hard, refuse distractions, impulse control, etc. It can be expensive too. Add in ethnic studies, its a waste of money and time. Maybe not to black students, that for whatever reason didnt get self-confidence or discipline taught in the home(where it should be taught), but to have to hear these themes of ‘white people did this and white people did that’, over and over, how can anyone not see that people that are the object of every black grievance would want to be left alone to raise up their children without guilt and shame and frankly, abuse, is very disconnected from the very “diversity” he claims. To hear professors that are so obsessed with race they “count” how many black children are in a particular class, disturbs me that the feelings of many non-black students is so unknown to them.

    “Plural nature of the world”. “Reflective sense of Diversity”. “…the best and the brightest Desire Diversity”.

    You ask if I advocate segregation. With the above comments you made in regards to racial diversity (lets be honest, thats what it is. Some people dont like to see the identities of an Irish, Swede or German child) could anyone expect to be heard or understood from someone who reflects such sentiments? I dont think so. And thus why you are disturbed by the idea of people wanting to be left alone.

  5. Denton- Like it or not, children spend between 8-9 hours a day at school. About 10 is spent sleeping (I’m being really generous with that amount). And if the talk of kids schedules is any indicator, they spend 3 hours of after school activities such as sports, music or drama. A lot of kids morals, self-confidence and work ethic develop during middle school and high school through their work with others during the 12 hours parents aren’t in direct contact with their kids.

    I would contend I had the best parents in the world growing up. I was taught morals, discipline, etc. However, I really recieved my confidence and questioning attitude at school from teachers who helped me grow and most the theater program. Schools, like or not, is the real training ground for kids. The parents can direct the right place to go. But in the 12 hours you don’t see your kids, what do they become?

    We live in a country that has more than just one type of person. We have multiple kinds of Caucasian for goodness sake. We have 5th generation Americans and then we have first generation Americans who traveled from their European homes and decided to become citizens so they could serve their adoptive homes. Beyond that one race we have Asians, African- Americans, Mid-Eastern. If people, especially the younger generations, don’t learn how to communicate with all types of people, then they will not survive in the workforce that has no time for petty segregation.

  6. Glenister warns:
    “If people, especially the younger generations, don’t learn how to communicate with all types of people, then they will not survive in the workforce that has no time for petty segregation.”

    The Amish sure are a bunch of rude, racist people arent they? And Nigerian school kids who havent met Japanese kids, they wouldnt know what to say. Give me a break. Treating people with respect starts in the home. Not with public school teachers. I know in some communities it is needed for them to be social workers, police officers and parents, but in the functional communities they arent burdened that way. Please, you must be quite full of yourself if you think that, but for you, children wouldnt know how to speak to those foreign to them. This sort of arrogance is why people flee the public schools. What is this magical “communication” that you speak of? Guilt? Adopting other cultures at the expense of the one of their parents. Have you noticed recently sir, there is a brown, asian-pacific, black, Am Indian month to celebrate. Still waiting to hear of that white history month. I know I know, but for this generation of kids its not black and brown history they dont know, its history in general. This is the theme, sir, of far too many “integrated” schools. If they speak the same tongue, they will understand what each other mean. If you want to tear down Your childs identity and build it back up admiring the Japanese, and the Am Indians and the Maasai tribesmen please go ahead. However, many like and admire there unique culture too, even though it is European. And they dont want to have to apologise for it. I suspect if you werent on the receiving end of the apologies, you’d understand.

    But Ill give it to the public school system, they sure have done a bang up job in teaching about safe sex. Look at the results.

    Like it or not Mr Glenister, the public school system hasnt done a very good job at turning out scholars, now you want to try manners.

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