Written by Ed Osborn
A recent study of faculty at U.S. universities by the U.S. Department of Education's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), confirms that Eastern Connecticut State University has the largest percentage of minority faculty of all higher education institutions in Connecticut.
The report is found in the Sept. 30 edition of the Washington, D.C.-based Chronicle of Higher Education. Twenty-six percent of Eastern's faculty members are minorities, compared to 16 percent at Yale and Central Connecticut State Universities; 15 percent at the University of Connecticut and Southern Connecticut State University; and 14 percent at Western Connecticut State University. Capital Community College had the highest figure among community colleges at 23 percent.
More than 3,800 two- and four-year colleges and universities from all 50 states were analyzed. Complete results of the research are found at http://chronicle.com/section/Faculty-Data/133. "We are pleased to see that we have achieved such success in having a faculty that reflects the world around us," said Eastern's President Elsa Núñez, "and we are proud to know that our University is taking a leadership role in Connecticut in enhancing the diversity of our faculty. Having a faculty that represents a global society benefits all of our students by providing them with a rich, multicultural experience on our campus, and is one of the hallmarks of a liberal arts college. It is important that our students understand how their liberal arts education prepares them to live, work and lead in their communities once they graduate. The skills and perspectives they learn on our campus will allow them to interact more effectively with clients, co-workers and fellow community members of Connecticut's increasingly diverse population."
Eastern supports and serves minority students and underrepresented populations in other ways. For instance, the University continues to experience success in admitting students from inner-city high schools under its "Dual Enrollment" initiative. Now in its fourth year, the program admits a cohort of 10 students from Hartford Public High School each fall, students who might otherwise not attend college.
Newly enrolled Dual Enrollment students take three remedial courses at Quinebaug Valley Community College while enrolling at one course at Eastern, living in Eastern residence halls and working at on-campus jobs. Usually they become full-time Eastern undergraduates at the start of their second semester. This past fall, a cohort of students from Manchester High School began the program, marking a new relationship with a second feeder high school. "The key to the program is the students' immersion in campus life at Eastern," said Rhona Free, vice president of academic affairs.
The Dual Enrollment initiative has received financial support from the SBM Charitable Foundation, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Hartford Foundation of Public Giving and the WalMart Foundation. It has also received awards for its innovative approach to increasing college access for underrepresented populations from the College Board and the New England Board of Higher Education.