Declines in Faculty Diversity During the Great Recession: Lessons for Faculty Hiring During COVID-19 and Other Crises

October 27, 2021

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Title: Crisis and Uncertainty: Did the Great Recession Reduce the Diversity of New Faculty? 

Authors: Kwan Woo Kim, Alexandra Kalev, Frank Dobbin, and Gal Deutsch

Source: Sociological Science

A recently published article offers insights on how times of crisis impact faculty diversity related to gender, but in particular race and ethnicity. Examining IPEDS data from over 1,100 U.S. public and private institutions, the authors analyzed faculty hiring from 1999 to 2015 by gender, race, and ethnicity, with specific examinations focused on the time of the Great Recession.

The authors outlined several findings related to faculty hiring and diversity from 2007-2009:

  • Tenure-track faculty hiring decreased by 25 percent
  • Hiring of Black, Hispanic/Latinx, and Asian American faculty declined disproportionately
  • Especially impacted were Faculty of Color at public and research-oriented institutions, which made the largest cuts in hiring Faculty of Color, especially Black women faculty
  • Financial uncertainty contributed to the decrease in hiring Faculty of Color
  • While the hiring of Faculty of Color increased post-Great Recession, by 2015, hiring had still not recovered

Based upon their findings, the authors described implications for the current COVID-19 crisis:

  • COVID-19 has slowed advertised jobs and hiring and is expected to impact hiring for years to come
  • Institutional leaders should be aware that women faculty, due to childcare shortages and impacts on children’s schooling, may be impacted by the pandemic more than men faculty
  • If faculty hiring during COVID-19 follows trends seen during the Great Recession crisis, it will be key for higher education leaders to ensure they are not allowing uncertainty to inadvertently reduce hiring of Faculty of Color

To read the full article, click here.

—Ty McNamee

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