By Billy Huntsman
This is the 10th installment in The Round Up/Oncore Magazine‘s 14-part series investigating professor turnover at NMSU.
Issue of diversity at NMSU?
Robert Durán, formerly in NMSU’s Criminal Justice Depatment, in 2012 conducted research for NMSU’s Hispanic Faculty Staff Caucus.
“We were just interested in what the proportion of Hispanic, Native American, African American, White faculty were on (the main) NMSU campus,” Durán says.
To do this, Durán collected information on faculty members’ race/ethnicity, gender, rank, and income. Race and ethnicity were determined via departmental pictures, curriculum vitae, surnames, backgrounds, and group memberships. Salaries for assistant, associate, and full professors were the only rankings compared.
His findings were:
- Of 587 tenured or tenure-track faculty on NMSU’s main campus (in 2012):
- 70 percent were White
- 14 percent were Hispanic
- 11 percent were Asian
- 7 percent were Black
- .05 percent were Native American
- 5 percent were unknown
- White faculty at NMSU numbered 412, or 70 percent (in 2012):
- Male/female ratio: 66:34 percent
- Salaries range from $45,841-$155,767
- Mean salary: $76,362
- Of 51 departments studied, 51 had White faculty members
- Hispanic faculty at NMSU numbered 83, or 14.3 percent (in 2012):
- Male/female ratio: 48:52 percent
- Salaries range from $47,580-$113,433
- Mean salary: $70,101
- Of 51 departments, 35 have Latino/a faculty members, with some “historical exclusion”
- Departments with no faculty members of color (in 2012):
- Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business (with 14 total faculty members)
- Anthropology (9)
- Astronomy (10)
- Business (19)
- Communication Studies (6)
- Creative Media (4)
- Engineering Technology (11)
- Geography (7)
- Human Performance (8)
- Journalism (6)
- Management (12)
- Math (21)
- Philosophy (5)
- Psychology (12)
- School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management (6)
- Sociology (7)
- Theatre Arts (3)
- Hispanic faculty are underpaid and concentrated in assistant or associate professor positions
- White faculty are more likely to be administrators, department heads, directors, deans, provosts, presidents.
Durán presented this PowerPoint during Hispanic Heritage Month in September 2013.
“They (the administration) all took it and looked at it, but they were really vague if anything would be done with it,” Durán told Richard Jackoway in the article “Land of Disenchantment” in the December 2014 issue of Insight into Diversity, a magazine and website focusing on issues in higher education.
In short, the article, which interviewed several current and former NMSU faculty and administrators, speculates as to a lack of diversity and even hostility toward diverse individuals at NMSU.
The article prompted NMSU to disseminate a side-by-side analysis, responding to many of the claims made in the article.
Among the allegations the analysis responded to:
- The NMSU campus is hostile to minorities
“NMSU is not hostile to minorities,” reads the university’s response. “Since 2012, three of the five members of New Mexico State University’s Board of Regents have been Hispanic. Additionally, NMSU’s past three student body presidents have been Hispanic.”
- NMSU’s faculty lacks diversity
“As part of NMSU’s strategic plan, Vision 2020, the university has identified a number of goals and key performance indicators to judge whether the goals are being met,” reads NMSU’s response. “Goal 2 for Vision 2020 covers diversity and internationalization. Specifically, NMSU will provide a diverse academic environment supportive of a global society. According to key performance indicator 7, New Mexico State University has the second-most diverse faculty of our peer institutions, behind only the University of Texas at El Paso.”
The response also mentions the then-recent Performance Effectiveness Report of New Mexico Universities, which lists NMSU as having 15.5 percent Hispanic faculty, while peer institutions UNM and NMT were listed as having 12.1 and 6.7 percent respectively.
“According to President Carruthers, the issue with faculty diversity nationwide is that there are small pools of diverse candidates from which many universities are searching,” the response continues. “While he was New Mexico’s governor, Carruthers helped to start a program where the state would support minority students who left the state to earn their Ph.D. in exchange for the student returning to New Mexico to become a university professor.”
Cristobal Rodríguez participated in this program.
- Hispanic faculty members are leaving NMSU in great numbers.
“The number and percentage of Hispanic faculty members at NMSU has actually gone up 23, 2 percent, in the past three years, while the number and percentage of White faculty members has declined 66, 7 percent.
- Discrimination is rampant at NMSU.
“Over the past five fiscal years, only two discrimination complaints at NMSU that were investigated by outside bodies have resulted in findings,” the response reads. “The vast majority of complaints investigated by these outside bodies result in no findings.”
- New Mexico State University is not doing enough to address diversity issues.
The response mentions the implementation of a survey at the request of NMSU’s Diversity Council and agreed to by Carruthers. The survey measured satisfaction of more than 1,440 faculty and staff in 40 separate categories, such as campus culture, policies, institutional goals, involvement in planning and decision-making.
“Of all 40 areas measured, the survey results show that NMSU faculty and staff are relatively satisfied on diversity issues,” the response reads.
The response goes on to say the statement “NMSU places a high emphasis on having a diverse faculty and staff” received the fourth-highest satisfaction score of the 40 categories. “NMSU has a clear policy and a process for reporting discrimination” had the second highest.
“Additionally, a recent survey of more than 1,900 NMSU graduates showed that Hispanic graduates had a higher level of satisfaction with NMSU than their non-Hispanic counterparts,” the response goes on.
- NMSU’s recent change in admission requirements hinders the chances of diverse students to be admitted.
This is referring to NMSU’s undergraduate student admission requirement of a 2.75 GPA, changed from 2.5, approved in 2014, which goes into effect Fall 2016.
“The proposed change in admission requirements would not impact diversity at NMSU,” the response reads. “University leaders have looked carefully at this issue and there will be no significant change in the percentage of Hispanic students, and students of other minority groups, should the GPA required for admission rise to 2.75. About 56 percent of students who entered NMSU in Fall 2013 were Hispanic and nine percent were American Indian, Asian American, Black, Hawaiian-Pacific, single races, or multiple races. Had these new requirements been in effect at the time, these numbers would be nearly the same.”
Before this article was published, Christine Eber, who in 2008 published a study about why professors leave NMSU, told TRU/OM some faculty members established a team to lead “a movement on campus for greater inclusiveness and respect for diverse faculty.” This team, with Eber’s help, organized “an important evening of testimonies from faculty last Fall.”
TRU/OM attempted to get into contact with some of the event’s organizers, who declined to be interviewed.
“There just isn’t much interest on behalf of last year’s organizers to restart this conversation,” reads the response email.