February 28, 2000
Volume 52, No. 23
Steady progress on Emory's diversity plan
By Michael Terrazas
According to the man who oversees it, Emory's progress toward a diverse workforce as defined in the University's 2000 Affirmative Action Plan can be likened to that of an inchworm: the positive steps may be incremental, but it's movement all the same.
"In our office, we think a shift of 1 or 2 percent is pretty good," said Robert Ethridge, associate vice president and director of Equal Opportunity Programs. "We'd rather see slow but steady progress rather than an immediate change that likewise reverses itself in short order."
Ethridge said he is most proud of Emory's progress in female faculty representation. For example, during 1998-99 female junior faculty in the law school doubled--from 33.33 percent to 66.67 percent--from the previous year. Female senior law faculty also increased, from 8.33 to 13.04 percent. In the business school, women now represent 42.86 percent of junior faculty (up from 35.29).
Ethridge said encouraging progress in diversified hiring at Emory is complicated because of the University's decentralized operations; the EOP office sets forth the guidelines and counts on individual departments to actually follow through.
Just about all departments are doing so, and people outside of Emory are taking notice. Last summer's issue of the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education ranked the University first among its peers with respect to number of African American medical faculty, black student enrollment, black full-time faculty and increases in black enrollment since 1980. Emory ranked second in black medical student enrollment.
"In this University, there's a pretty positive commitment to showing improvement," Ethridge said. "Climate is important. We could go find women and minorities to work here, but if there were a negative attitude on campus toward diversity, it would adversely affect our ability to retain those employees."
Anyone with Interenet access can out how Emory's commitment to diversity translates into employee demographics, as the EOP office has posted both the 2000 and 1999 plans on its website, www.emory.edu/EEO/AAPLAN.
Site visitors will find that during 1998-99, minority (including African Americans, Asians, Hispanics and Native Americans) and female representation in general staff positions across the entire University, including the hospitals, broke down as follows:
On the faculty side, minorities accounted for just under 20 percent of Emory's 2,056 full-time faculty, and 32 percent of faculty were women. By rank, faculty break down as follows:
Ethridge said Emory uses an eight-factor formula for determining diversity goals for the University's different job classifications.
The process weighs the different factors and uses area, regional and national statistics to compute the various goals. Ethridge said seeing Emory become more diverse is gratifying both for himself and for his office.
"[The Affirmative Action Plan] encourages each department to develop a plan of action for their own area," Ethridge said. "It asks each of us to be a change agent and to take responsibility for his or her actions. As we begin this 'Year of Reconciliation,' let us all do our part to reconcile our common ideals with workplace realities."