April 16, 1999            

Contact: Bob Bruce, 503-725-5714

Reports Say Oregon University System Improves Diversity

MONMOUTH - Oregon's public universities are improving the diversity of their respective faculty and student bodies, according to two new reports made Friday to the Oregon State Board of Higher Education.

The reports, developed by the Oregon University System, summarize recent recruitment and retention trends for faculty and students at Eastern Oregon University, LaGrande; Oregon Institute of Technology, Klamath Falls; Oregon State University, Corvallis; Portland State University; Southern Oregon University, Ashland; the University of Oregon, Eugene; and Western Oregon University, Monmouth. They indicate gains among racial and ethnic minorities among the full-time faculty and an increase in people of color within graduate and undergraduate populations at the statewide public universities.

According to the student report, OUS campuses increased proportional enrollment by students of color from 11.5 to 12.4 percent between 1993 and 1998. In that period, proportional increases were reported among Asian/Pacific American (up 5.9 to 6.3 percent), Hispanic/Latino (up 2.7 to 3.2 percent), and American Indian/Alaskan Native students (up 1.3 to 1.4 percent). Slight declines were reported for African-American (1.6 to 1.5 percent) and European American students (74.7 to 73.5 percent).

Meanwhile, graduation and retention rates also improved. In 1992-93 students of color earned 8.4 percent of all degrees awarded by OUS universities. In 1997-87 they accounted for 11 percent. Asian/Pacific Americans showed the largest increase among degree recipients (up from 4.2 to 5.7 percent of degrees awarded), while African-American, American Indian/Alaska Native, and European Americans showed the highest retention increase.

The new faculty report says the Oregon University System experienced a 35 percent gain in faculty of color over the three-year period from 1995-96 to 1998-99. According to the report, faculty of color represented 7 percent of all instructional faculty in 1995-96. For the current year, they represent 9.6 percent of the total population. According to the report, most minority faculty are found at entry-level academic ranks.

Both reports urge continued efforts to improve diversity on public university campuses. They recommend a continuation of the OUS Faculty Diversity Initiative Program, started in 1995-96, and continuing campus activities to seek and retain students and faculty of color.




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