Breaking the diversity cycle

The problem of Western lacking racial diversity is, for now, an unending cycle.

There are fewer doctorates awarded nationally to blacks.

The blacks who do hold Ph.D’s tend to shy away from schools like Western, which do not have a substantial population of black faculty members.

Similarly, black students are often drawn to schools with more black students and teachers than Western has.

That leads to smaller numbers of black students enrolled in Western’s graduate programs, which leads back to where the cycle begins — fewer blacks with the necessary teaching credentials.

Western currently employs minority recruiters for undergraduate students and faculty vacancies. But there is no recruiter assigned to graduate programs.

If Western sincerely hopes to increase the percentage of black faculty, it seems to us that the specific recruitment of black graduate students is a good place to start.

Western’s contact with potential black graduate students is limited to college career days and networking with traditionally black universities such as Tennessee State and Kentucky State.

That’s not exactly a proactive approach, and it owes more to chance meetings and the cooperation of neighboring schools than any efforts by Western.

The benefits of revamped minority graduate recruitment are obvious. Should the black graduate population grow, Western would become more appealing to black students who may not have been otherwise contacted by the university. With a greater number of black students, the Hill might appear more attractive to job-seeking minority professors.

And as more black students complete graduate programs, their Western roots could be the most effective means of drawing them back as faculty.

It seems logical that a school with a meager black graduate population would recognize the importance of luring black students to those programs.

Improving minority hiring and graduate enrollment will be a long and multi-layered process, but it’s time for Western to act. Hiring a graduate student recruiter could be the first step toward finally breaking the cycle.

This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Herald’s 10-member board of student editors.