The University Record, November 9, 1992

Report offers statistical profile of persons of color over 10-year span

By Jane R. Elgass

A 10-year statistical profile of faculty, staff and students of color at the University has been released by the Office of Affirmative Action and the Office of Minority Affairs (OMA).

The report “is designed to let the University community know in terms of numbers, where we are, what our accomplishments have been, what our weaknesses are,” explains OMA Director John H. Matlock.

“Numbers don’t tell everything,” Matlock notes, “but they are a starting point. It’s obvious when you look at the data that we’ve had gains in many areas. It also shows we have to continue to work. The accomplishments are the results of involvement on the part of many persons. We must expand this type of cooperation and support if we are to move forward.”

Matlock says the profile is the first time the statistics have been presented in a 10-year time frame and the most comprehensive he has seen in any university. He also notes that the report includes faculty and staff “because too often the focus is just on students. This gives us a complete picture.”

The absence of any evaluative material in the report is intentional, Matlock says. “We hope that this report will generate discussions, inspire analysis and guide planning. You need the numbers before you can do anything else. Then you can examine the factors and decisions that contribute to the numbers.

“All too often the emphasis is on recruitment and the numbers of new faculty, students and staff of color. It’s also important to look at retention, to look not just at how many come, but how many stay, how many feel the University is a welcoming environment.”

AAO Interim Director Jimmy Myers and Matlock were part of an eight-member committee that developed the report, described by Matlock as a “monumental task. A lot of time and effort went into this.

“Before we could do anything we had to establish common definitions and data sources, answering such questions as ‘Who is considered a faculty member?’ Many of the definitions were negotiated by the committee. There’s always a problem with data at the University and lots of different definitions for the same subject. Many reports get footnoted to death. We’ve tried to avoid that.”

Committee members, in addition to Matlock and Myers, were Charles D. Moody Sr., vice provost for minority affairs; Zaida I. Giraldo, former director of affirmative action; Mary Ann P. Swain, associate vice president for academic affairs; Margarita Garcia-Roberts, research associate, Office of Minority Affairs; and Patricia Tomlin, social science research officer, and Susan H. Rasmussen, affirmative action planning officer, both from the Affirmative Action Office.

Copies of “Faculty, Staff and Students of Color: A Statistical Profile for Academic Years 1981–82 through 1991–92” are available for review in the University Library, Office of Minority Affairs and Affirmative Action Office. Individuals affiliated with the University who wish their own copies may request them from OMA or AAO. Those not connected with the University may purchase a copy of the report for $9.95 if picked up or $11.75 per copy if mailed.

For information, call AAO, 763-0235.