March, 2003
The Status of Minority Faculty in Higher Education

The American Council on Education (ACE)'s most recent Status Report on Minorities in Higher Education cites gains made in the academy's efforts to diversify its faculty ranks but also expresses concerns about this fragile foothold: According to the report, minorities in higher education have not nearly achieved equity and face a great fall backwards if the push to hire minorities is threatened by the abandonment of "race-sensitive admissions" and hiring practices.


  • Faculty of color employment figures rose from 1997 to 1999; the number of full-time faculty of color gained 8.3 percent in this period compared with an increase of 2.5 percent for whites and 3.3 percent overall for faculty.

  • At the full-professor level, the number of faculty of color decreased nearly 1 percent since 1997. Among all groups, including whites, the number of full professors declined 1.4 percent.

  • Women of color increased their number of doctoral degrees earned in 2000 by 5.6 percent, compared to a 1.3 percent decline for men of color. During the 90s women of color made greater gains then men of color at this level. This resulted in women earning a majority of the doctoral degrees awarded to minorities.

  • After a period of rapid increases in the early 1990s women of color lost ground at the full-professor level from 1997 to 1999. During this period, women faculty of color decreased 4.5 percent while white females gained 5.1 percent.

  • Nationally, there is a discrepancy in the ratio of students of color (27.3 percent) to faculty of color (14.4 percent).


    • Students of color have increased obtaining doctoral degrees during the last decade by 65 percent.

    • One-third of full-time undergraduate faculty were full professors during 1995-96. Nearly 35 percent of white faculty were full professors, but only 23% of faculty of color had attained full professorship status.

    • Faculty feel comfortable teaching to diverse classrooms, but only one-third raise issues related to diversity or create diverse work groups.

    To read 2001-2002 Status Report on Minorities in Higher Education visit

    To view the 2000 ACE and American Association of University Professors' (AAUP) report Does Diversity Make a Difference:Three Research Studies on Diversity in College Classrooms? visit

    To read the Diversity Digest issue on faculty involvement, visit