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Increasing Faculty Diversity

Increasing Faculty Diversity

The Occupational Choices of High-Achieving Minority Students

Stephen Cole, Elinor Barber

ISBN 9780674009455

Publication date: 02/28/2003

In recent years, colleges have successfully increased the racial diversity of their student bodies. They have been less successful, however, in diversifying their faculties. This book identifies the ways in which minority students make occupational choices, what their attitudes are toward a career in academia, and why so few become college professors.

Working with a large sample of high-achieving minority students from a variety of institutions, the authors conclude that minority students are no less likely than white students to aspire to academic careers. But because minorities are less likely to go to college and less likely to earn high grades within college, few end up going to graduate school. The shortage of minority academics is not a result of the failure of educational institutions to hire them; but of the very small pool of minority Ph.D. candidates. In examining why some minorities decide to become academics, the authors conclude that same-race role models are no more effective than white role models and that affirmative action contributes to the problem by steering minority students to schools where they perform relatively poorly. They end with policy recommendations on how more minority students might be attracted to an academic career.


  • A vexing problem in American academia is how to ensure the adequate representation of minority groups in higher education, not only among students but even more importantly among faculty. Cole and Barber do those concerned with this issue a tremendous service by providing concrete information about the process by which minority students go on to become college and university professors. While many have offered policies to improve minority representation in the professoriate, theirs are the only recommendations to be grounded in hard facts and solid empirical research.

    —Douglas Massey, coauthor of American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass


  • Stephen Cole is Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
  • At the time of her death, Elinor Barber was a research associate in the Provost's Office at Columbia University.

Book Details

  • 384 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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