Top universities lack minorities on science faculty

Science faculties at major American universities do not reflect the diversity of their student body, according to a recent study by Donna Nelson, associate professor of chemistry at the University of Oklahoma. The study examined the faculty within 13 science disciplines at the top 50 research universities as ranked by the National Science Foundation. It tracked Ph.D. attainment of minority groups over the last 20 years and compared it with faculty appointments. Minorities made up only 4.6 percent of Ph.D. recipients in the physical sciences and 5.2 percent of engineering Ph.D.s in the period studied. Although 21 percent of Ph.D.s were awarded to women in the physical sciences, which include chemistry, math and physics, they made up only 9 percent of the faculty at the nation's top research universities. Engineering had the lowest percent of female Ph.D. recipients. Minority women were the most underrepresented on science faculties. In computer science, there were no minority females on the faculties of the nation's top 50 departments. About a third of the chemistry faculty at top universities are internationals from outside the U.S.

Sources: "America at Work," Employment Law Alliance, July 2, 2003 and July 9, 2003; "Women of Color: Their Employment in the Private Sector," U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, July 31, 2003: "The Nelson Diversity Survey," Donna J. Nelson, University of Oklahoma, June 26, 2003.

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