New Report Shows Blacks Have Almost No Presence on the Science Faculties at Major Research Universities

Nationwide, blacks make up 5.3 percent of the total full-time faculty in American higher education. But a new report by Donna J. Nelson, an associate professor of chemistry at the University of Oklahoma, finds that blacks are very scarce on the science faculties at the universities that are doing the greatest amount of research.

Dr. Nelson conducted surveys of faculty in 15 different fields. In each case she sought faculty data from the 100 departments in each field that are ranked by the National Science Foundation as having the largest research budgets in that particular discipline.

Of the 15 disciplines surveyed by Professor Nelson, sociology had the highest percentage of black faculty at 7.9 percent. In political science, blacks are 4.2 percent of the faculties at the universities with the 100 largest research budgets in the field. Psychology ranked third with blacks making up 3.4 percent of the total faculty.

In the other 12 academic fields, which include several engineering disciplines, mathematics, the natural sciences, and economics, blacks are 2 percent of the total faculty or less. In the fields of computer science, physics, and earth sciences, blacks are less than one percent of the total faculty.

Professor Nelson’s report offers detailed tables on each discipline. These tables include institution-by-institution data on black faculty by rank. For example, there are 43 black faculty in the chemistry departments of 100 universities with the largest research budgets in the field. There are 17 full professors who are black. The University of Washington is the only one of the 100 institutions that has two black full professors. Eighty-four of the 100 institutions have no black full professors of chemistry.

The full report is available online. You can download the report by clicking here.