Recruiting needs to continue

Although the process is difficult, NIU should continue and redouble efforts to recruit more minority faculty members.

Numbers from NIU’s Institutional Research Ofice show that the ratio of minority students to minority faculty members is not in a state of balance. For example, black students make up 7.1 percent of the undergraduate student population while only 1.8 percent of NIU’s faculty are black. There has been a concern raised that the ratio leaves black, Hispanic and other minority students with too few role models. This concern is legitimate for many reasons.

If NIU had more role models for these students, then perhaps retention rates would increase. There would essentially be a domino effect—as more minority students are retained, more will graduate.

NIU should be praised for its efforts to this point. There’s no doubt it’s a competitive market for knowledgeable minority professors because other schools are also trying to achieve a similar balance.

However, as the magic pot of state money continues to shrink, NIU must remember not to shun the issue aside or put it on hold until better fiscal weather occurs. This also holds true for minority student recruitment. Efforts should be continued to work with community colleges and high schools to get a more diverse campus. Adding more minority faculty members can only make NIU more attractive to these students as well.

After all, sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the forest and not see the past the trees.