Bianca Cseke | The DePaulia
DePaul’s Faculty Council spent much of their Jan. 15 meeting addressing concerns regarding diversity and inclusion throughout their ranks. When Valerie Johnson, the chair of the political science department presented her motion to prioritize diversity in the hiring process for Associate Deans, she noted that the proposal comes “about 7 years late.”
Initially introduced in 2012, this diversity in hiring motion never actually made its way across the desk of the Faculty Council, until now.
“At the Associate Dean level and up, we struggle with hiring people of color,” Johnson explained in the meeting.
As of now, there is no explicit priority placed on diversity or inclusion when it comes to Associate Deans. As was discussed in the meeting as well, this motion is seen as a building block for making upper-level management more diverse in all positions, overall creating a clearer pathway for people of color.
As it stands today, of the 29 Associate Deans at the University, 16 are female and 13 are male, just 3 are black and only one is Latinx, according to Interim Provost Salma Ghanem at the meeting.
One of the Associate Deans in the Business school raised a handful of his concerns, namely that diversity is not clearly defined in the motion, begging the question of whether it could refer to many things like the “diversity of thought or practice.”
After much discussion, Johnson responded that the diversity in question is “the diversity that matters,” she said. “The diversity that makes a difference.”
Despite receiving near-unanimous support from those in Faculty Council, the matter was tabled until next month’s meeting as Johnson fine-tunes the wording of the proposal.
Due to time constraints, a comprehensive report on DePaul’s faculty over the last decade related to trends in rank, gender and race or ethnicity was also pushed to next month’s meeting.
On the enrollment side of things, while this fall saw the largest freshman class ever on campus, there was a decline in overall enrollment, largely due to a decline in transfer students. Paula Luff, the new Vice President of Division Planning and Management, attributes much of the decline in transfers to the national trend of less and less students attending community college, where we recruit the majority of our transfer students from.
As a result, President Esteban has hired an outside consultant to look at our admissions process as well as four individual recruiters responsible for increasing DePaul’s visibility out-of-state, which Luff admitted is “a slow process.”