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President Kaplan on Diversity in University Faculty

Glenn Rohrbacker, Editor in Chief

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University of New Haven President Steven H. Kaplan said in an interview last week that he is aware of the lack of diversity in the university’s faculty and is looking for way to improve.

“For me, both faculty and staff are critical in terms of having a diverse employee base, but it’s even more critical with faculty, because that’s where students engage the most,” Kaplan said.

In January, the Charger Bulletin reported on the makeup of the university faculty, which showed that 76.38 percent of all employees are white, according to data compiled by the IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access) Council. The second-highest classification of ethnicity was Hispanic at 7.4 percent. Of all employees at the University there is only 1 Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, who is among administration, and only 2.61 percent of all faculty are Asian.

Kaplan said that Provost Dan May and Vice President of Human Resources, Title IX Coordinator & Diversity Officer Caroline Koziatek have been meeting with deans and management of each college to discuss hiring practices aimed at collecting a more diverse base. He said that there has been improvement in some departments, and others not as much, noting that some fields, especially in STEM, don’t have adequate representation.

In a fall semester open forum, Kaplan said the university was having trouble attracting diverse applicants.

“The biggest challenge is not hiring people of diverse backgrounds, it’s getting them into the applicant pool,” he said at the forum.

I know that in the time I’ve been here, diversity in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, has increased. It’s not where it needs to be. And I’m the first to admit that I’m not happy with where we are.”

— President Steven Kaplan

While Kaplan realizes the need to improve in this area, he said that there have already been improvements in recent years.

“I know that in the time I’ve been here, diversity in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, has increased,” he said. “It’s not where it needs to be. And I’m the first to admit that I’m not happy with where we are.

“Are we doing as much as we can?” Kaplan said. “Yes and no, because you can never do enough.”

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President Kaplan on Diversity in University Faculty