Administration’s ongoing efforts for prioritizing diversity in the classrom
I think it’s really important that they start to take this seriously because it does affect their retention, graduation and recruitment rates.”Jazmin Sandoval
Over the years since 2008, when about 10% of the student body identified as Latinx, Humboldt State University has seen a steady rise of enrolled Latinx students.
And according to the data from the Office of Institutional Effectiveness (OIE), as of Oct. 31, 2018, with 2,653 or roughly 34% of students identifying as Latinx at HSU, faculty of color has stayed comparatively low.
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Alexander Enyedi, said the institution is prioritizing diversity and inclusion.
“This didn’t happen in the past and it’s a new paradigm for the campus,” Enyedi said. “[My] personal feelings are that we cannot rest with the current situation. We have to strive to change the picture representative
of our faculty.”
Faculty is defined by two categories: tenure track and lecturer. In total, there are 548 faculty as of 2018 – of those only 29, or 5%, are Latinx.
The 29 Latinx faculty comsists of eight female lecturers and eight female tenured while there are nine male lecturers and four male tenured. The data collected by OIE from 2013-2018 shows an overall increase of Latinx faculty.
Male lecturers increased from seven to nine and male tenured increased from three to four. Female tenured increased from four to eight and female lecturers increased fromsix to eight.
But the amount of Latinx tenured and lecturers increase and decrease between a range of one-to-three faculty per year.
Funds, Initiatives and Language
Director of Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI), Dr. Cheryl Johnson, said that to alter the numbers of faculty of color everybody has to get involved.
“We can’t do it alone. We need to have faculty not-of-color to want this too. And a lot of them do,” Johnson said. “The idea of a Hispanic Serving Institution, but then it’s primarily white faculty and it’s this trend that the Department of Education in naming it HSI, is really so much bigger than [student] enrollment numbers.”
Associate Director of ODEI, Dr. Edelmira Reynoso,, said their department creates policies that shift HSU in a more equitable way.
“We are a hispanic serving institute designated [by the Department of Education], but really we are a MSI which is a minority serving institution or minoritized serving institution,” Johnson said.
The California State University (CSU) system is promoting diversity, equity and inclusion through the Graduation Initiative 2025, which is an initiative to increase graduation rates for all CSU students while eliminating opportunity and achievement gaps.
Part of the GI 2025 provides grants for CSU’s like HSU, so they can hire more faculty of color. Enyedi said that there are currently 20 search committees.
Why it matters
Film major and Associated Students President Jazmin Sandoval said that she is sad and angry at the lack of Latinx faculty.
“The university is on the outside, they are trying to hire more faculty of color through the GI 2025, but it’s not enough,” Sandoval said. “I think it’s really important that they start to take this seriously because it does affect their retention, graduation and recruitment rates.”
HSU must use one-third of the funding toward new faculty hires, according to Sandoval, who is a member of the Student Success Alliance tasked with leading the GI 2025 funds.
“It’s going to keep rising [the Latinx demographic], especially if they keep recruiting from southern California and the Bay Area,” Sandoval said. “They have to start hiring more faculty of color because it’s not okay that the representation of the demographics is not there.”
Sandoval transferred from Los Angeles Valley College in the fall 2017 and since then has only had one class taught by a professor of color.
Changing the campus culture
Johnson and Reynoso created an equity advocate model, which provides orientation for individuals such as faculty, administration or staff who will then “sit on search committees and observe the process, so that they ensure that implicit biases and inequity don’t slip into the conversations about candidates,” Johnson explained.
Both agreed that the issue of hiring and retaining more faculty of color is a national problem. Johnson continued to say, “racial inequity is institutional and systemic.”
“In order to disrupt it and change it, you have to deal with policy,” Johnson said. “It’s not events and activities. Institutionalized racism was created by policy. You have to do policy change.”
HSI: A Hispanic-Serving Institution is a college or university with an undergraduate full-time equivalent enrollment of at least 25 percent Hispanic students.
HISPANIC: A person from – or whose ancestors were from – a Spanish speaking land or culture.
TENURE: A tenured appointment is an indefinite academic appointment.
LECTURER: A member of a college or university faculty, especially one without tenure.