The Effects of Ph.D. Supply on Minority Faculty Representation
7 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2013 Last revised: 9 Dec 2013
Date Written: 2004
The conventional wisdom is that African-Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians are underrepresented among faculty in postsecondary institutions because they are underrepresented among Ph.D. recipients. Thus, the putative solution to the problem of minority faculty underrepresentation is to increase the supply of minority Ph.D.’s. In our book, Faculty of Color in Academe: Bittersweet Success (Turner and Myers, 2000) we point out that the supply-side argument has several flaws. In this and a companion paper (Myers and Turner, 2003) we replicate and update the analysis performed in Chapter 7 of our book using more recent census data and a larger sample for 1990. Once again, we demonstrate that an autonomous increase in the Ph.D. supply, uniform across all groups, would leave the representation of African-American and Hispanic faculty largely unchanged. This conclusion challenges the view that the underrepresentation of minority faculty is solely a supply-side phenomenon that can be addressed primarily by increasing the pipeline for new minority Ph.D.’s. Although a strong case can be made for increasing the minority pipeline, the pipeline itself does not appear to be the central cause of the continued underrepresentation of minority faculty. I. The Problem: At every point in the educational pipeline from the Bachelor’s degree to the doctoral degree, African-Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians are substantially underrepresented.
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