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January 06, 1993 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-01-06

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 6, 1993 - Page 5

The flip side of the


sing at the


but so are departures

by Karen Sabgir
Daily Staff Reporter _
Many University administrators
praise the Michigan Mandate as the key
impetus for increasing the number of
faculty of color at the University. But
while the Four-Year Progress Report,
shows that more minority faculty have
been hired since the Mandate's imple-
mentation in 1988, the numbers in the
report fail to recognize a significant
factor in minority faculty employment
at the University
The Michigan *
Mandate, a pro- The U-M statisi
gram designed to color shows 32
demonstrate the the trend of ea
University'scom- professors fron
mitment to diver-
sity, was initially
aimed at boosting 6%
the numberoffac-
ulty, staff and stu- 5
dents ofcolor. The
first phase fo- 4
cused on faculty
recruiting efforts 3
and the numberof
tenure-track fac-2
ulty in
Among the ac-
complishments 0
outlined in the re- 1987
port is a lauding Source: U-M - Ann Arbor P

regulations outlining qualifications for
counting faculty are often unclear. Fac-
ulty members can accept one- or two-
year appointments at other universities
without actually quitting their job at the
University. Some end up staying there
for good.
Susan Rasmussen, an officer in the
University's Affirmative Action Office,
said, "People ease out. They don't go in
one fell swoop. They take leave as a
lecturer for a year and then decide to

Faculty who are hired to tenure-
track positions are typically given three-
year appointments, during which time
most will figure out if they have a
chance at tenure. Rasmussen said it is
rare for someone to leave before this
Whitakersaid overall, probably one
in live faculty members end up with
tenure, and he added that while three-
year appointments are the norm, it is not
unusual to have people leave after one

tical profile of faculty, staff, and students of
1 minority faculty members. A breakdown of
ch minority group as a percentage of all full
n 1987 through 1991:


"There is a lot of
churn in the faculty at
large because people are
searching for the bestjob
for them," Whitaker said.
Administrators agree
that female and minority
faculty in tenure-track
positions, and those who
would like to be, are sub-
jecttomorepressure than
other faculty members.
Rasmussen said
these pressures can be
attributed to the rela-
tively low numbers of
minority faculty and the
practicality of their re-
She added that the
type and magnitude of
the research is often a
controversial issue for
faculty of color. "Re-

zri I




her office for help or to talk. However,
she said is unhappy with the amount of
time she loses addressing issues and
concerns based on her ethnicity and
"I have never had a promotion since
I have been at the University of Michi-
gan," said Hollingsworth, who came to
work at the University in 1983.
Despite her credentials and experi-
ence at the University, Hollingsworth
said she has run into many roadblocks
in the path of getting a promotion.
"When I came up for faculty ap-
pointment (last year) they asked for 10
letters of recommendation,"
Hollingsworth said.
Rasmussen said hiring committees
typically request only three or four rec-
ommendations, but that requesting 10
was not unheard of.
"It seems high, but not too high if
their research was very controversial or
interdisciplinary." She said sometimes
the hiring committee will ask for a long
list of references, "but if it was 10 letters
I'd think that was excessive."
Hollingsworth said her research -
on the long term effects of chemicals
used in pesticides - is "mainstream
toxicology, pharmacology research."
Allen said, "There are schools (at
the University) where African Ameri-
cans are not promoted or tenured. So it
seems that as they approach year five,
they really do start looking around. The
feeling is that they're not going to get
tenured so they don't even till out the
formns. Whether of not they would be
promoted is irrelevant. It's that they
don't fill out the forms."
She said her past experience at the
University has led her to believe that
tenure decisions are being made early
on in people's careers.
Allen said being turned down for
tenure is embarrassing and belittling,
and sensing the rejection, many faculty
of color no longer bother to apply.
Hollingsworth served on three ad-
visory committees for the National In-
stitute of General Medical Sciences and
was the chair of the University Senate
Advisory Committee of University Af-
fairs (SACUA) in 1990.
But she said most of the work she
has done throughouthercareer, although
applauded internationmally by her col-
leagues, is not reflected in her title,
which she is required to disclose when
students ask her to write them recom-
Hollingsworth said, "Students have
asked us, faculty has asked us, visitors
to the University have asked, 'Why

knowledge increasing attrition rates
from the University, they attribute fac-
ulty departures not to unhappiness, but
to heavy recruitment from other schools
and colleges, offering increased sala-
ries and benefits.
However, a former L.SA faculty
membemvho worked at the U Iniversity
for 18 years said she left because of an
oppressive climate for women at the
University. The faculty member said
she was "driven out" by her supervisor,
a department head.
The woman, who requested ano-
nymity, is currently an associate profes-
sor at a university on the east coast. She
said she never filed a fonnal complaint
against the University because she did
not want to endure any long-term reper-
"The mode of operation is to protect
your back side and that modifies your
behavior drastically. People may not
speak how they feel because they want
faculty appointments," Hollingsworth
"In this situation it's not just a mi-
nority or a female, it's anyone who is
willing to speak out. You have people
who have been here 25-30 years who
are afraid to speak out. Now that's
oppressive," she added.
"People may join various groups,
but when it gets to the hard questions,
they're not going to answer them. People
may only act if it's politically advanta-
geous," Hollingsworth said.
"If I had done the same thing, I
wouldn't be in this crowded office," she
said, gesturing around her 8 by 11.5
foot office which holds three file cabi-
nets, two desks and a storage cabinet.
"I'd be in a plush office ... It's very
"I am expending an enormous
amount of energy to survive ... I have
written, I have talked, and frankly, I'n
While Hollingsworth has stayed at
the University and has been working to
bring the situation to people's attention
and eventually rectify it, she said many
other qualified and highly-respected
colleagues have been "forced out" of
the University.
Allen said all her colleagues who
are minorities have left the University
because 01 i"absolutc umnhappimess."
Another former University faculty
member, who also would not reveal her
name, said she was frustrated that she
could not gain advancement in her field
at the University. She has since moved
to another school.
Hollingsworth said, "You have




ersonnel Database


1990 1991

of the increase of
faculty of color.
"During the first four years of the
Michigan Mandate we have added 159
new faculty of color to the University's
tenure track ranks, including 79 Afri-
can American faculty. We are ahead of
schedule in achieving our objective to
double the number of faculty of color
on our campus within the first five years
of the Michigan Mandate."
Thereporthighlights these increases,
results of the Target of Opportunity
Program - a financial support system
inside University departments for both
non-tenured and tenured faculty-of-
color hires.
The report shows that, since 1987,
the University has hired 159 faculty of
color. The report states that this is a67.1
percent increase trom 1987.
However, according to a statistical
profile of faculty, staff and students of
color for the academic years 1981-82
through 1991-92, produced jointly by
the Office of Affirmative Action and
the Office of Minority Affairs, there
were 237 faculty of color in 1987.
The Mandate figures failed to ac-
count for faculty who have left the
University. There are presently 321 fac-
ulty of color at the University - a net
increase of84, or 35.4 percent, since the
Mandate was implemented.
Currently, faculty of color represent
11.7 percent of the total faculty, 2.9
percent more than in 1987. The number
of Black faculty, which represented 2.9
percent of the faculty in 1987, has in-
creased to 4.1 percent.
"I think it's a very positive story to
tell," said Gilbert Whitaker, University
provost and vice president for academic
University President James Duder-
stadt agreed, "Now I think we've been
as successful as any university in the
However, not all members of the
university community view the situa-
tion as optimistically.
Elizabeth Allen, an associate pro-
fessor in the School of Nursing who has
been at the University for almost 17
years, said having the protection of
tenure enables her to freely talk about
the poor climate for African American
"The University of Michigan is not
noted, and has not been noted as being
a positive place for African Americans
and that really is historical and not
peculiar for the Michigan Mandate,"
Allen added.
The progress report numbers high-
light the increase in faculty of color
during the past four years. What the
report does not explain, however, is the

Rasmussen added that the amount
of time a faculty member is allowed to
be in limbo may be the cause for a
discrepancy in the numbers.
"We don't snip off our connection to
him immediately. It's not evidence of
us trying to inflate the numbers but
hying to keepour connection with them.
It's a reflection of the University's re-
luctance to try and break the cord."
The report ignores the rate at which
faculty ofcolor have left the University
since 1987 - and more importantly,
the reasons behind the attrition.
*Rasmussen said the turnover rates
for the Black, Hispanic, Native Ameri-
can and Asian faculty members is noth-
ing to be alarmed about.
-The level of turnover is not a sur-
prise ... For the most part (they are)
being lured away to other universities,"
Rasmussen said.
She said that the University has ag-
gressively searched for and hired fac-
ulty of color, but the pool to choose
from is small and private universities
often win in battles over potential fac-
ulty members because they can offer
incentives that public universities can-
Whitaker said the turnover rate is
not only characteristic of
underrepresented groups.
"We have a lot of turnover in all
groups, they find for one reason or
another this isn't the right place for
them," he said.
While Whitaker acknowledged that
faculty members do not always choose
to leave, he said the reasons are indi-
vidual, including not liking the cold
Ann Arbor weather and being unsatis-
fied with their lield of specialization at
the University.
Most administrators said they be-
lieve the Mandate has been successful
in the hiring aspect, and although it is
early to look at the retainment figures,
that those are good as well.
"I haven't checked the (termina-
tion) list recently, but my sense is that
retention has been above average,"
Rasmussen said. "While there are people
of color leaving, most are people who've
been here along time," she said, adding
that termination includes all reasons for
Whitaker said, regardless of the net
gain in minority faculty, the Mandate is
working effectively.
"It's going in the rightdirection -it
could go faster. If there hadn't been 79
(African Americans) hired, there
wouldn't be 34 here," Whitaker said,
referring to the minority faculty attri-
tion rate.

search paradigms don't
always stretch to cover the interests (of
faculty of color)," Rasmussen said.
"Oftentimes faculty of color and
women are caught in a bind between
what needs to be studied, what interests
them, what is valued by their depart-
ment, and what can get published," she
Rasmussen said - above their du-
ties as teachers - research is essential
for all faculty members in tenure-track
Many administrators and faculty
members agreed that minority faculty
face additional time constraints when
conducting research.
"I think faculty of color - male or
female - end up spending more per-
sonal time with students than white
male faculty ... (Students) may feel
more comfortable talking with people
of the same race," Whitaker said.
Allen said all new faculty members
areresponsible formany jobs, tasks and
committees. However, she said faculty
of color are often appointed to more


committees than their
parts in order to make
these committees
more ethnically bal-
"Young faculty,
Black and white, are
all given that, but the
African Americans
are put on every com-
mittee - it works
against them. The
young ones just can't
Whitaker said
strong attempts are
made to alleviate the
work loads and bal-
ance the schedules of
minority faculty, in-
cluding fewer com-
mittee requirements,
though faculty ofcolor
are being pulled into
committees so there
is more sensitivity.
"It's aCatch-22 of the
worst kind," Whitaker
Rasmussen said
because there are so
few minority faculty
members at the Uni-
versity, they are in

white counter-

The Four-Year Progress Report of the Michigan
Mandate shows the number of minority faculty
hired since 1987. The report does not show the
number who have left the University in that
time. Adding the number of hires to the earlier
number does not equal the 1991 figures.

Minority Faculty




Changes since 1987
150 1
125 79
75 21
50 Who .
25 64 left
0 W24
-25 Wo ;10
-50 came 45
-75 2

people who
are really ex-
cellent and
(the Univer-
sity is) forcing
out the people
who this place
is really about.
... Many are
the kind you'd
like to see in
an academic
admits thatshe
has often con-
sidered leav-
ing the Univer-
sity, she said
she likes the
University and
still has many
positive feel-
ings toward
the institution
since her years
as a student
her struggle
with profes-
sional ad-





IAsian Hispanic African Native
SouAmerican A merican EAmerican
Source: Four-Year Progress Report of the Michigan Mandate JONATHAN BE RNDT/Daily

high demand by students and commit-
tees. However, while faculty of color
spend a lot of time with special groups
and student needs, their colleagues can
use this time for researching and pub-
A first-year African American stu-

doesthiswoman have the title she has?"'
Hollingsworth said for years she let
incidents pass without publicizing them,
but has since changed her mind.
She said the overriding problem is
that other faculty members are not will-
ing to speak out because they fear they

"This is a great institution. I hope
this is just a period of transition, where
things are out of control."
Allen agreed."I don'twant the world
to hear that this is a bad place. Who
knows when the break will come? I am
n. v~v miiv nr hilt this is n

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