Diversity in employment within community colleges seems higher than that of four-year colleges and universities on the national level. Research indicates community colleges engage more actively in recruiting and retaining more women and minorities than that of four-year colleges. Recent literature (within the last five years) explains some of the steps communities and community colleges have taken to become more inclusive. This shows not only that community colleges are willing to hire more minorities and women, but that there is also a climate more accepting of hiring minorities and women.
Community colleges undertake a variety of tasks for the satisfaction and success of their students. That is why diversity in faculty may help community colleges achieve their goals. In an article by Hughes, the author explains the need for community colleges to adapt strategies to not only recruit diverse faculty, but also retain them. He also states the inherent challenge in recruiting and retaining diverse faculty. "The challenges in having a diverse faculty require recruiting diverse applicants and in retaining those applicants once hired. Achieving these twin aims has proven elusive for many community colleges" (Hughes, 2015, p. 659).
The study covers a fifteen-year time-period of a college within the United States that adopted strategies that actively sought more diverse faculty to hire and retain. "Over a 15-year period, the college became the most diverse in its state while growing from 4.3% full-time faculty of color to 23.3% full-time faculty of color" (Hughes, 2015, p. 659). They began at first with recruiting from colleges and campuses that had higher rates of minority and female students. From there they sent diversity teams to go and speak with students about their organization, establishing a professional relationship with recruits. They made sure the senior management of the school understood they goal to hire a more diverse staff.
These steps not only led to a more diverse faculty in community college, but it also led to a better understanding of where to find diverse faculty members. It begins at the school level and progresses onto the job level. Some organizations begin even at the middle school and high school level in terms of early recruitment. They want to establish that connection early on so when the potential recruit has the age and skill set to join, they have already established a sense of trust enabling a higher chance of retention of the recruit.
In a 2014 qualitative study, author Fujii examined the diversity rates of faculties in community colleges. "The researcher interviewed 12 participants -- administrators and faculty members at three community colleges in a large district in the southwestern United States -- who served on faculty search committees from 2006 -- 2009." (Fujii, 2014, p. 903). The author took information from three community colleges covering three years and found information supporting the notion that community colleges have increased their hiring of minorities and women from years past and compared to four-year colleges and universities.
Furthermore, the research reveals the decision of community colleges to include higher levels of communication surrounding a need for diverse faculty within the community college environment. "Analysis of the participants' interviews specific to ethnic/racial diversity in the faculty search process revealed themes around the communication of diversity's value and role at the institution and the role of the chair and administration" (Fujii, 2014, p. 903). Much of the push for change within community colleges that wish to increase diversity comes in the administrative level. That is because although affirmative action laws have largely been abandoned, people have discovered inherent benefits from a more diverse faculty.
As people quickly realize the importance of diversity faculty in schools, especially in community colleges where there are fewer selling points to potential students than four-year colleges, community colleges have and are looking for ways to include more and more minority and women recruits. Similar to other research concerning diversity recruitment, there appears a need for organizations to attempt to change strategies beginning with the administrative level. Senior management ultimately lends to a change...
"We investigate four community colleges in California through interviews with 31 full-time faculty of color. This faculty group expresses identity conflicts between their professional roles and their cultural identities" (Levin, Haberler, Walker & Jackson-Boothby, 2013, p. 55). Although many of the faculty interviewed showed feelings of being accepted and respected within the faculty and student community, they did feel conflicts in how they were at work and how they identified culturally and within their own community or family. Because minority faculty remain in the minority in most schools, they often feel the need to acclimate to whatever faculty culture is present. This may generate conflicts in their identities and way of living.
Furthering this confusion is the lack of communication from the faculty of color to their peers and employers within the community colleges. Everyone interviewed assumed that the culture of college and college faculty was all the same and that the culture must be adhered to regardless of individual preference or expression. "Their understandings of their institutions suggest that the culture of the community college is more complex and multi-faceted than that portrayed in the scholarly literature, which often portrays the institution as homogeneous and the faculty body as uniform" (Levin, Haberler, Walker & Jackson-Boothby, 2013, p. 55). The authors made a point to highlight the gap in literature surrounding the apparent complexity of community college culture.
Essentially, research concerning diversity in community colleges should be aimed at examining the cultures within these community colleges and how minority faculty respond to it. This may improve retention of minority and female faculty. It may also improve understanding of ways to increase minority involvement within community colleges.
Community College Spotlight and Minority and Women Inclusion
In a 2011 article by Boggs, the subject of community colleges and its recent popularity take center stage. As many have witnessed in recent times, students within the United States are looking for a less expensive option for school. Community colleges offer that option until students desire to pursue a four-year degree or simply wish to earn a certificate for work. Unlike universities and four-year colleges, community colleges offer higher education at a much lower price. "Never before have community colleges received so much attention and recognition. From modest beginnings at the start of the twentieth century, community colleges have become the largest, most affordable, and most responsive sector of American higher education" (Boggs, 2011, p. 3).
With that lower price comes some restrictions. Community colleges in order to deliver quality education to their students must hire quality staffing as well as provide excellent curriculum. As President Barack Obama noted, community colleges have become an important aspect of college life and policy makers and the like have finally taken notice.
Policy makers, media, and the public in general seem to have only now discovered community colleges, which have been put in a spotlight by President Barack Obama and leading national foundations as important to the economic prosperity of the United States. With increased attention comes increased scrutiny, however. What will be expected of community colleges, and how can they best respond, especially given severe financial limitations (Boggs, 2011, p. 3).
Although community colleges have yet to reach the level of popularity as other schools, many have grown and have adopted ways to include what four-year-schools sometimes fail to offer. As previous research shows, community colleges have made a clear effort in including a more diverse faculty.
When examining IV league schools and four-year colleges, most of the staff is overwhelmingly white and male with a leading minority being Asian. In community colleges, although the majority remains white, there are higher levels of minorities in faculty than in four-year schools. As the media and the government pay more attention to community colleges, this aspect comes into focus.
In a 2011 case study, Nitecki attempts to examine strategies community colleges take on to increase student-retention rates. "This case study examines two successful career-focused programs at an urban community college struggling with retention" (Nitecki, 2011, p. 98). Although not noted in the article, some of the ways community colleges increase retention rates is by hiring diverse staff. Affirmative action may not be fueling the desire to hire diverse staff, but rather, competition and desire for students to gain more from a more diverse faculty. In the end, students as noted in the article, stay with a school and more likely to succeed in a school when they have an overall positive experience. Faculty enable such positive experiences.
Many of those that wish to partake in increasing satisfaction and connection within the student body do so by offering faculty that cannot only teach them but also connect with them and their goals for the future. "The findings…
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