CSUEB lacks diverse professors

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CSUEB lacks diverse professors

PHOTO BY NICK BAHAM/INSTAGRAM

PHOTO BY NICK BAHAM/INSTAGRAM

PHOTO BY NICK BAHAM/INSTAGRAM

By Jessica Irrera, EDITOR-IN-EDITOR

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California is one of the most diverse states in the entire country, and it has some of the most diverse students as well. University professors educate students from all walks of life, and the most recent appointment to the Diversity Equity Liaison Officer for California State University, East Bay, Nicholas Baham believes that the campus needs to introduce a new mindset when hiring tenured professors in order to support our diverse student body to the best of their ability.
California State University, East Bay is the most diverse California State University with a high level of first-generation and international undergraduate students, according to U.S. News and World Report for 2017.
The Fall Semester of 2018 had an ethnic breakdown of 24 percent Mexican-American, 15 percent White, 14 percent Asian students and 10 percent African-American enrolled undergraduate students at CSUEB, according to the California State University enrollment analytics report for 2018. The university also has a high rate of students working full-time.
Although the university has a diverse student body, the campus is lacking in diverse tenured professors. The university’s faculty as of 2018-2019 is 59 percent white, 45 percent male, with only 17 percent of professors being full professors with tenure protections, according to CSUEB’s Pioneer Insights Institutional Effectiveness report.
The newest Diversity and Equity Liaison Officer and CSUEB professor since 2000, Nicholas Baham, has goals to hire more doctorate-level professors whose experience with diverse student populations extends past their time spent in the Bay Area.
“You can’t just be a person of color, you have to be culturally competent. My experience is that not all professors of color have your back,” Baham said.
There is no shortage of qualified diverse scholars, but some departments struggle to hire them.
“The biggest barrier that we have, and I don’t want to poke at certain disciplines, but there are certain disciplines where it is more difficult than others [to find diverse doctoral professors]” Baham said.
Math, Science, and Business departments on campus have a smaller population of diverse tenured professors. As of fall 2018, the Engineering department has roughly 61 percent of its professors being white, 83 percent male, and only 28 percent have tenure protections, according to CSUEB’s Pioneer Insights Institutional Effectiveness report.
Diverse professors are looking for specific communities and job opportunities that are the most desirable and fitting for their skills and abilities. One of the main issues with hiring diverse professors is that many of the job postings for California State Universities are not in the sources that they utilize.
“There are a lot of disciplines where people are not familiar with the professional associations where scholars of color communicate and congregate,” Baham said. “Most people think they can advertise a position in the Chronicle of Higher Education and leave it to that, when in fact, people of color use a lot of different sources, some of which aren’t the Chronicle of Higher Ed because of their own political concerns.”
The language surrounding diversity and the hiring practices of diverse professors must change in order for the CSU system to begin the process of attracting these scholars. This, in turn, will help support our diverse student population and may create more inclusive spaces on campus.