The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Minority faculty sought

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education says a diverse teaching staff is essential to providing a quality education. In its words, “A quality education requires that all students be exposed to the variety of cultural perspectives that represent the nation at large. Such exposure can be accomplished only by a multiethnic teaching force in which racial and ethnic groups are included.”

Although minorities comprise the majority of the population in Dallas, they account for less than 16 percent of the faculty at SMU. SMU has 95 minority professors. Of those, 47 have tenure.

Many students are alarmed by these figures.

“It’s shocking because I thought that there would be more. We have a lot of diverse classes here and we should have diverse professors to match that ratio,” an SMU junior finance major said.

SMU’s Assistant Provost Ellen Jackofsky, said SMU is doing everything it can to recruit more minority faculty.

“This is a huge problem. We work hard and give great effort to recruit minority professors,” Jackofsky said.

SMU recruits by advertising and reaching out to the minority community and trying to hire more minority adjuncts. “It’s hard because the pool is small,” she said.

Records show that SMU’s minority professors are concentrated in a few schools: 31 percent of the professors in Perkins School of Theology are minorities, 28 percent in Cox, 24 percent in the school of engineering, 23 percent in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 18 percent in Dedman School of Law and 5 percent in Meadows School of Arts.

The majority of the minority professors are Asian. SMU has 54 Asian professors, 21 Hispanics, 17 African-Americans, two American Indians, and one who is classified as foreign.

Many students want more minority professors at SMU. Jennifer Dudney, a senior chemistry major, thinks that a diverse faculty will benefit students once they go out into the real world.

“A more diverse education will help students prepare for the world, which is diverse,” Dudney said.

Jose Terrazas, a senior mechanical engineering major who has had 10 minority professors, thinks that more minority professors will encourage minority students to succeed.

“Having more minority professors could have a big impact on minority students and motivate them to do better. Minority students will be able to relate to these professors better,” Terrazas said.

Mnesha Dayalji, a senior economics major, thinks that minority professors can offer students something that non-minority professors cannot.

“Its important to have minority professors because you get a balance in teaching methods and background, especially if it’s a minority studies class and the professor is a minority who can give insight,” Dayalji said.

Although SMU is having trouble recruiting and retaining minority professors, it has increased the number of minority students. From the fall of 1993 to the fall of 2003, SMU increased the number of minority students from about 18 percent to 20 percent; something that Jackofsky thinks reflects society.

“More minorities are going to college and moving up in class stature,” Jackofsky said.

She also credits the admissions office with targeting and recruiting in the right areas.

Roderick Jackson from undergraduate admissions said his office recruits by participating in high school fairs and financial aid workshops in underrepresented areas. Jackson feels minority professors could attract potential students.

“Having more minority professors could help with recruiting other students. It always helps to have minority faculty, not just for minority students, but for other students,” Jackson said.

Jackofsky said there are many reasons why SMU doesn’t have more minority professors.

“The pool is small and there is a lot of competition,” said Jackofsky, “Every business wants to hire minorities.”

SMU also faces competition from other schools trying to recruit minority professors.

A shortage of minority professors is not something that is exclusive to SMU, this occurs nationwide. According to 2003 records, 11 percent of the professors at Texas Christian University are minorities.

The book Increasing Faculty Diversity, by Stephen Cole and Elinor Barber, suggests because minorities are less likely to earn high grades and few end up going on 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.”

Some students think that the low percentage of minority professors at SMU causes the campus to lack diversity and the chance for students to open their minds.

“The low percentage of minority professors has made students miss out on cultural diversity, which could help students relate to professors and enable them to create better relationships,” Stanley Ignacio, a senior engineering major, said.

Dayalji agreed with Ignacio. “We lack cultural diversity and what these professors could bring to SMU and the students,” Dayalji said.

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