Cal State Fullerton President Mildred García discussed the current state of and successful strategies for increasing faculty diversity on college campuses in her Oct. 13 keynote presentation, “Why Diversifying Faculty Matters,” at the fourth annual Deans’ Forum on Hispanic Higher Education, sponsored by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.
In her address, García pointed out that while many institutions “may be filled with students of color, they continue to operate with policies and procedures of predominantly white institutions. They are operating based on the historic foundation that our higher education students are 17-21, studying full time and have no outside responsibilities.
“It is also important to highlight that diversifying the faculty is an ongoing process. This is not something you say you will do in a year and then stop. If you are serious about this, it must be an institutional goal with a plan that is intentional, consistent, measureable and holds individuals accountable.”
University leadership has to underscore why diverse communities and faculty are important, not just for students to see individuals like themselves in positions of power and as role models, but also to emphasize that “when you bring together a diverse faculty to engage in our academic disciplines through their research, the research becomes richer, new discoveries are made and solutions to global issues are enhanced.”
The first step, García said is educating the campus community and engaging in informed data and dialogue. “Second, the president must use the bully pulpit to speak about hiring a diverse faculty and staff and walk the talk; and third, ensure that your important university documents highlight the goal of diversifying the faculty and staff, and ensure there are processes in place and review of the data.”