Tuesday, January 22, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 76 


 
 









 

Diversity requires national effort

By Kim Kelly
Daily Cougar Staff

UH continues to build on its recognition as a melting pot of ethnic diversity, both in minority enrollment and faculty. While the number of minority
enrollments and graduation numbers increase, it is not because the University intentionally recruits minority students.

Rather, UH's diversity is reflective of Houston's growing minority population, Assistant Vice President of Enrollment Ed Apodaca said.

A large percentage of its growth is a result of Asian immigration, specifically from countries such as Korea and India, associate professor of
sociology Jacqueline Hagan said.

UH's Fall 2000 enrollment for Asian/Pacific Islanders was 17.7 percent, compared to 17.5 percent for Hispanics and 13.5 percent for
African-Americans.

The Business-Higher Education Forum expressed concern that while minority enrollment on the collegiate level is increasing nationwide, its
growth is not representative of the nation's increasing minority population.

"Diversity is an invaluable competitive asset that America cannot afford to ignore," said Stephen G. Butler, co-chair of the BHEF Diversity
Initiative.

A report released by the BHEF titled " Investing in People: Developing All of America's Talent on Campus and in the Workplace" offers several
suggestions for encouraging diversity among campuses, such as supporting more minority organizations and monitoring the effectiveness of
diversity-related programs.

"Our university has multiple outlets for minority outreach programs, cultural, academic and social resources, in addition to training seminars for
staff and faculty on diversity issues," UH President Arthur K. Smith said.

Asian-American Studies and the Center for Mexican American Studies are two minority groups that have been making ethnic strides at UH.

CMAS has even implemented a bridge program designed to help students make the transition from high school to college, associate professor
for CMAS Tatcho Mindiola said.

The program is intended to encourage minority students to attain a higher degree of education, Mindiola said. This is an important effort since
the BHEF acknowledges that "a large number of the people who will be available to work (in the future) will be minorities -- who currently lag
behind whites in their training and educational credentials."

More importantly, the report encourages universities to employ more minority staff and faculty.

"We need more minority faculty members to serve our highly diverse student population. We need to provide the best academic environment,"
said Dr. Yali Zhou, director of the Asian American Studies Center. Mindiola agreed, saying that more minorities are needed to teach at the
graduate level.

A report prepared by Apodaca titled "Revisiting Crisis In the Ranks: The Underrepresentation of Hispanic Faculty and Administrators in Texas
Higher Education" states that many institutions include adjunct professors and retired faculty as full-time active faculty in the Hispanic category.

It also mentions that Hispanic faculty seeking promotions and leadership positions are sometimes discouraged from embracing their ethnicity
and are told to instead trust the "system" which encourages merit and hard work.

Though most administrators would agree the University needs more minority faculty, the problem persists because minorities with higher
education are at a minimum and many of them decide to work at other universities, Hagan said.
 
 
 

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