Why postsecondary institutions struggle to increase faculty diversity: Study

April 1, 2022
Though postsecondary institutions have tried to increase the diversity of their faculty for decades, they have had limited success, writes Abbi Ross. Ross references a recent study completed at one US university that showed that efforts to increase diversity can be quietly thwarted by human biases and institutional barriers. The study noted that individuals often showed a disconnect between their understanding of diversity and the perception of diversity as an institutional value. The study found that search committee chairs discussed diversity and equity differently depending on factors like tenure status, and that junior faculty members leading searches were more likely to defer to the committee’s senior faculty members. The study’s author recommends that institutions create a clear, unified message about commitment to diversity and that faculty hold each other accountable. The Chronicle of Higher Ed (Subscription) (Editorial)