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Weisberg to report on faculty gains and losses

The demographic makeup of Stanford's faculty has not changed significantly in the last year, according to a report that will be presented to the Faculty Senate on Thursday, March 6.

"It's an extremely flat picture," said Robert Weisberg, vice provost for faculty recruitment and development, who will present the annual report on faculty gains and losses to the senate.

Weisberg characterized the annual figures "as blips on a screen" and he cautioned people from reading too much into them. "This is a small university and short-term trends can be misleading," he said.

From Sept. 1, 1995, to Sept. 1, 1996, there was a slight increase in the total number of faculty, from 1,458 to 1,487. These numbers comprise tenure line, non-tenure line and medical center line faculty. They do not include lecturers.

The percentage of men and women on the faculty remained unchanged, at 82.25 percent and 17.75 percent respectively. The ratio of men to women is fairly consistent across faculty lines, Weisberg added.

"There was a concern raised that the 17.75 percent figure was inflated because there was a disproportionate number of women in non-tenure lines such as the clinical line in the medical school but that's not true," he said. "Women make up about the same percentage in the non-tenure line (mainly the medical center line) as they do the tenure line, so the overall university figure of 17.75 percent is consistent across all categories."

During the past year, the number of faculty of Asian ancestry went from 122 to 123; the number of Latino faculty went from 35 to 41; the number of black faculty went from 39 to 37; and the number of Native American faculty went from 2 to 3.

The latest figures show a slight upturn in the overall number of minority faculty at Stanford, but Weisberg said the change is "too short term and too small to prove very much."

The 10-year statistical comparisons are much more telling, he said. Those figures indicate that progress toward achieving a more diverse faculty at Stanford has been uneven.

In the past decade, significant gains have been made in the percentage of women and people of Asian ancestry on the faculty, smaller gains have been made in the percentage of Latino and black faculty, and slight gains have been made in the percentage of Native American faculty.

From Sept. 1, 1986, to Sept. 1, 1996, the percentage of women on the faculty rose from 10.27 to 17.75 and the percentage of faculty of Asian ancestry went from 3.04 to 8.27.

During the same time, the percentage of Latino faculty grew from 1.67 to 2.76; the percentage of black faculty grew from 1.67 to 2.49; and the percentage of Native American faculty went from .15 to .20.

Weisberg said the loss in momentum in minority faculty hiring over the past decade mirrors a slowdown in the increase of minority scholars in doctoral programs.

"There is a limit to what the universities themselves can do at the hiring stage given the limits of the pool [of applicants]. But that doesn't mean universities can't do more," he said.

Stanford, for example, has a Faculty Incentive Fund, which provides provostial billets and financial support to schools and departments to hire tenure-line minority candidates and women in some disciplines.

"It's obvious that we are not going to see much change from year to year," Weisberg said, "but we hope that in a few years from now, when we see the 1999 version of these charts, the numbers will look better."

In other business, the senate will hear a report from Provost Condoleezza Rice on the status of women faculty at Stanford. Members of the Faculty Senate also will discuss proposed changes to the Cultures, Ideas and Values program.


By Marisa Cigarroa