Universities: Low diversity levels

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US universities fall short in hiring women and under-represented minorities.

African American, Hispanic and female faculty members at US universities continue to be under-represented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), despite an overall trend towards greater diversity, according to a study (D. Li and C. Koedel Educ. Res. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.3102/0013189X17726535; 2017). The authors compared senior and junior faculty members in biology, chemistry, economics, educational leadership and policy, English and sociology across 40 public universities from 2015 to 2016. They found that diversity is greater among junior faculty members than it is among senior ones, particularly in science- and maths-intensive fields, because younger faculty members tend to come from more diverse backgrounds. However, African American faculty members remain under-represented in both groups. The authors conclude that limited diversity in academia is due primarily to high levels of under-representation in STEM fields and that non-STEM fields are more diverse. The study found that efforts to combat under-representation, launched at many institutions, bring no pay premium for new recruits who improve diversity.

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