In addition to a record-breaking first-time minority freshmen enrollment, MU officials announced a record in minority faculty members hired at MU on Thursday.
According to an MU news release, MU hired 15 new underrepresented minority faculty members for this academic year, including eight Hispanic and seven black faculty members. Among the new faculty are four new Asian members and seven women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
In 2006 the Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative was created to set goals and to establish programs and partnerships in order to enhance diversity on campus. Prior to 2010, the record largest group of underrepresented minority faculty hired in one year was seven members.
At MU, underrepresented minority faculty include people from Hispanic, black and American Indian heritage. Although Asian and female workers in STEM fields are not included in the underrepresented minority data, the university does consider these members of the faculty to add to campus diversity, the news release stated.
Legion of Black Collegians President Lisa White said progress is important and the university has done a good job of listening to organizations and students suggestions on improving diversity.
“There’s been a push for more underrepresented faculty this year,” White said. “We’ve commended (the administration) for that, but we can’t stop there.”
MU Faculty Council Chairwoman Leona Rubin said faculty play an important role in diversity on campus.
“As a more diverse and inclusive faculty, we provide our students with a better appreciation of the world they will enter,” Rubin said in the news release. “Direct, personal experience with people of different races, religions or cultures facilitates respect and understanding and is essential as the world becomes smaller. As faculty we look forward to the rich associations such diversity brings to campus.”
MU has made steps in the right direction, White said, but the university needs to continue to make progress.
“Making sure the students in general are aware that diversity is important in the university,” White said. “We want to make sure the university embraces diversity as a whole.”
Bryan Like, president of the NAACP collegiate chapter at MU, also said in the news release that progress should not stop with one broken record.
“This is a step in the right direction, and the university should be proud of the accomplishment,” Like said. “It is now time to take this momentum and keep moving forward.”