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[Excerpt] The 3 July 2002 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education described the matter we are discussing today in these words: "Taken together. African-Americans and persons of Hispanic origin represent only 8 percent of full-time faculty nation-wide, and while 5 percent are African-American, half of them work at historically black institutions. The proportion of black faculty members at white institutions is 2.3 percent, virtually the same as it was 20 years ago."

We are privileged to have the opportunity to explore this issue from two different perspectives. The first contends that unless major changes occur, the number of minority students interested in and prepared for faculty positions will remain dreadfully insufficient and that, furthermore, affirmative action has been a culprit in this process and leads many of these students into higher educational environments in which they do not perform well enough to even seriously consider or be considered for careers in academe. The other position says that, although the supply of minority faculty candidates is admittedly small, the relatively low level of commitment from higher educational institutions to recruit, hire, and promote minority candidates and the salary disparity between academe and industry lead to a problem of demand that must be appreciated and addressed. Furthermore, it argues, affirmative action has been beneficial in increasing minority faculty presence.


Suggested Citation
Slaughter, J. B., Ehrenberg, R. G., & Hanushek, E. (2004). The underrepresentation of minority faculty in higher education: Panel discussion [Electronic version]. American Economic Review, 94(2), 302-306.

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© American Economic Association. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.