Higher education diversity, from the top down

Empowering underrepresented sectors in higher ed doesn’t stop with recruiting a diverse student population. Yet, in many cases, institutions are not creating a more inclusive atmosphere for top female and minority administrators by paying them as much as their white, male peers.

In fact, just 11 of 2,279 institutions responding to a recent survey from College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) scored well in both pay equity and representation for both females and minorities. Overall, public institutions generally outperform private schools in terms of diverse leadership.

The exception is in women’s representation, where private independent institutions were ranked the highest among all the groups.

Incorporating commitment to diversity in a college’s mission is imperative to netting funds to strategically recruit women and minorities, says Jacqueline Bichsel, director of research at CUPA-HR.

“Ultimately, we need leadership buy-in. When you don’t have leadership involved, resources don’t get allocated in terms of equal pay and representation.”

Goucher College in Baltimore is one of the 11 schools recognized, and its success begins with its search committees, says Tara De Souza, director of  media relations with the college. Committee members are encouraged to use listservs, to advertise with associations and to network with professional organizations to find candidates.

A referral bonus is offered to those who make a successful referral for non-faculty positions, she says. To calculate equitable salaries, HR can nix more traditional factors, such as years of experience, the report notes. Instead, they can award pay according to the role itself and additional skills the applicant brings to it.

Most Popular