|April 16, 2002
Contact: Bob Bruce, 503-725-5700
Source: Yvette Webber-Davis, 541-346-5727
Five Year Report Shows Diversity Gains Among OUS Campuses
EUGENE - Oregon's public universities are steadily improving in all areas of campus diversity, according to a new report developed by the Oregon University System.
The report, which will be presented to the State Board of Higher Education later this week, shows that Oregon's seven public universities have increased enrollments, improved the number of degrees awarded, and added to faculty and staff ranks among all people of color over the past five years.
"Overall, the report shows we're making continued progress in our campus efforts at improving diversity," says Yvette Webber-Davis, OUS director of diversity planning and special projects, who compiled the report. "The data shows our campuses are moving toward an enhanced understanding and incorporation of diversity into multiple aspects of the universities.
"Our institutions must ensure that we're ready to provide outreach to the growing diversity of students who will move through the K-12 system within the next several years."
According to the report, OUS campuses have increased minority enrollment by 22.4 percent from Fall 1996 to Fall 2001. Meanwhile, they've also increased degree production among minorities by 15.5 percent.
The largest enrollment percentage gain was among African American/Black students, up 27.1 percent from a total of 968 to 1,230 enrolled. In raw numbers, the largest increases were among Asian/Pacific Americans (up 23.5 percent from 2,920 to 4,840) and Hispanic/Latinos (up 24.3 percent from 1,960 to 2,37). But American Indian/Alaska Native enrollment also grew by 7.7 percent (from 872 to 939 enrolled).
Hispanic/Latino students recorded the greatest increase in degrees awarded. OUS campuses conferred 291 degrees to Hispanic/Latino students in 1996 and 393 degrees, an increase of 35.1 percent. Degrees awarded Asian/Pacific Americans also increased markedly, up 12.7 percent (from 664 to 748).
The overall improvement in degree production has helped several OUS campus gain recognition in national rankings for minority education. According to the report, Oregon Institute of Technology is listed third in the Black Issues in Higher Education national ranking of schools producing the top number American Indian graduate of bachelor's degrees in engineering-related technologies. The University of Oregon ranked fourth in production of Asian American master's degrees and sixth in doctoral mathematics degrees, while Oregon State University ranked seventh in doctorates awarded to American Indian students.
The report also notes sizeable employment gains for people of color among faculty and staff. Among all instructional faculty on the seven campuses, the total number of minority faculty grew from 338 to 467, a 38.2 percent increase. The largest gain was among Hispanic/Latino faculty members. Their number almost doubled (up 118 percent from 60 to 131) during the five-year period.
The increase among staff totaled 17.2 percent (from 483 to 566) during a two-year reporting period from 1999 to 2001. American Indian/Alaska Natives and Asian/Pacific Americans accounted both the largest numerical and percentage increases among staff.
Webber-Davis credits the overall improvement to a variety of initiatives undertaken by all of Oregon's public universities to increase diversity.
Among unique efforts cited in the report is an Eastern Oregon University program in which EOU students mentor Native American middle school students, an OIT program that provides teaching opportunities for displaced women and minority mathematics, science and technology workers, and an Oregon State University workshop to educate search committees on inclusive hiring practices. Also noted are a Portland State University "Scholar's Forum" held for all faculty and staff of color, a Southern Oregon University collaborative program with the Jackson Education Service District Migrant Education Program, a UO initiative that provides incentives for departments to aggressively recruit faculty of color, and a Western Oregon University's outreach efforts by faculty to act as counselors and mentors to a local high school that has large numbers of minority students interested in attending college.
The report says challenges ahead include remaining competitive with colleges and universities throughout the country in attracting undergraduate and graduate students of color, continuing to recruit minority faculty and helping them advance in academic ranks, and also attracting people of color to administrative and staff ranks.
Editor's Note: Data from the report follows in four brief charts.