Racial/Ethnic Diversity of Faculty and Leadership at California’s Colleges & Universities Virtually Unchanged in Five years, Hurting Students, the State and our Democracy
(California) ⸺ Today the Campaign for College Opportunity released Still Left Out: How Exclusion In California’s Colleges & Universities Continues To Hurt Our Values, Students, and Democracy, a report that reexamines the mismatch between the racial/ethnic and gender demographics of the state and enrolled college students in comparison to faculty and campus leaders across the University of California (UC), the California State University (CSU), and the California Community Colleges.
In the five years since the original analysis was conducted, Still Left Out finds that some progress has been made in increased racial/ethnic and gender representation among college leaders and faculty. Yet, despite being the most diverse and populous state in the USA, faculty and campus leaders lack significant inclusion of Latinx, Black, Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (NHPI), and American Indian/Alaskan Native (AIAN) Californians.
Nearly three in four young Californians are from a diverse background, and the state’s future depends on the inclusion and success of all racial and ethnic groups. The benefits of increased representation among college leadership and faculty are enormous for students and include: higher student success and a greater sense of belonging.
The good news:
- About half of CSU’s presidents are women, and women account for 50% of campus senior leaders and more than half of the CSU Board of Trustees.
- From 2017 to 2021, the share of tenured and tenure-track professors who are women grew from 33% to 40% at the UC, and from 47% to 49% at the CSU.
- Women lead 52 of the 116 community college campuses.
- At the UC, the CSU, and the California Community Colleges, Latinx, Black, Asian American and NHPI, and AIAN professors account for a larger share of tenured and tenure-track faculty in 2021 compared to 2017, though these gains were limited in all three systems: the racial and ethnic diversity of tenured faculty remains virtually unchanged from 2017 to 2021 at California Community Colleges; The CSU saw diversity increases among tenured and tenure-track faculty by no more than a percentage point; and the UC no more than one to two percentage points.
- The UC has improved representation of Black Californians among its campus-level leaders by seven percentage points.
- Black Californians are better represented within the California Community College’s system-, district-, and campus-level leadership, expanding from 12 to 25% on the Board of Governors, from 19 to 25% at the district level, and from 17 to 20% for campus leadership.
The bad news:
- Tenured and tenure-track faculty bodies at all three systems continue to lack diversity, with majority-white percentages for the UC at 60%, the CSU at 54%, and the California Community Colleges at 56%.
- Only seven percent of senior campus leaders at the UC campuses are Latinx, despite the fact that 25% of UC students, 39% of all Californians, and 49% of college-age Californians (18-24 years old) are Latinx.
- Latinx faculty members are woefully underrepresented at all three public systems, comprising only 8% of tenured/tenure-track faculty members at the UC, 10% at the CSU, and 18% at the California Community Colleges.
- Asian American and NHPI students comprise 14% of students at the California Community Colleges, however, only eight percent of community college campus- and district-level leaders are Asian American and NHPI, and only 11% of tenured and 10% of non-tenured faculty at community colleges are Asian American and NHPI—levels that have barely changed in five years.
- Seventy percent of the Academic Senate of the CSU and 64% of the 23 campus academic senate members are white, despite white students only making up 21% of the CSU’s undergraduate student body; the Academic Senate of the California Community Colleges is 57% white, with a white student body of only 24%; and the UC Assembly of the Academic Senate is currently 68% white, while 21% of students enrolled at the system are white.
- Of the nine undergraduate UC campuses, only two are led by women.
“Despite small increases in the racial/ethnic representation of faculty and college leadership at the UC, CSU and the California Community Colleges, there remain troubling gaps in racial/ethnic parity for positions that have the most direct impact on the success of our diverse students,” said Michele Siqueiros, president of the Campaign for College Opportunity. “California’s public colleges and universities as well as our Governor and Legislature have prioritizedand invested in efforts to increase the representation of faculty and college leaders but the work is, at best, happening at pace that is far too slow or at worst, only paying lip service to the values of diversity, equity and inclusion.”
The Campaign also released a companion brief to this report, Equity-Minded Faculty Hiring Practices: Promoting Fairness, Inclusion and Faculty Diversity that Support Student Success in Higher Education, which provides strategies supporting and increasing the appointment of Latinx, Black, underrepresented Asian American and NHPI, and AIAN individuals to faculty positions. Another resource available to assist colleges is the Redesign the Presidential Search Process for Racial Equity toolkit, designed by Bensimon & Associates for College Futures Foundation.
Still Left Out offers key recommendations for state, college and university leaders, including:
- Requiring the UC, CSU, and California Community Colleges to submit a bi-annual analysis of leadership, faculty, and academic senate diversity by race/ethnicity and gender, and include goals for improving equity and inclusion.
- Establishing statewide and campus-level goals with specific plans and milestones for closing equity gaps to increase the representation of historically marginalized populations.
- Prioritizing hiring college presidents representative of the students they serve with proven ability and cultural competency to lead/promote more equitable and inclusive college campuses.
- Ensuring campus hiring committees, including those for adjunct/temporary faculty, reflect the state’s diversity and are required to have unconscious bias training and reviews of current hiring practices to prevent bias.
“The biggest obstacles to dismantling outdated hiring practices are lack of will and/or fear of consequences, which in some cases (such as in the state of Florida currently) may be warranted. This does not mean we should give up—if anything, it signals that we must approach the issue with more urgency and tactical consideration than ever. Diversifying our higher education leadership and faculty requires the investment of energy, thought, and time to refashion a system that does not work for the needs of today’s students—or for our diverse nation.”
Estela Mara Bensimon, Ed.D.
University Professor Emerita and Founder,
Center for Urban Education
University of Southern California
To access the full report, go to: Still Left Out: How Exclusion In California’s Colleges & Universities Continues To Hurt Our Values, Students, and Democracy.
About The Campaign for College Opportunity:
The Campaign for College Opportunity is a California bipartisan policy and research non-profit organization focused on a single mission: to ensure all Californians have an equal opportunity to attend and succeed in college in order to build a vibrant workforce, economy and democracy. For more information, visit www.CollegeCampaign.org / Facebook.com/CollegeCampaign or follow @CollegeOpp.