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.