Cover page

Table of Contents


Title page

Copyright page

About AIR


Chapter 1: Where Are They? A Multilens Examination of the Distribution of Full-Time Faculty by Institutional Type, Race/Ethnicity, Gender, and Citizenship

Literature Review




Chapter 2: International Faculty in American Universities: Experiences of Academic Life, Productivity, and Career Mobility

Definitions of International Faculty

International Faculty

Changes in Profile and Experiences of International Faculty over Time

Faculty Mobility: Intent to Leave Versus Actual Departure

Implications for Institutional Policymakers and Researchers

Chapter 3: Missing from the Institutional Data Picture: Non-Tenure-Track Faculty

Overview of NTT Faculty Nationally

Why Do We Need Reliable Data?

Why Are Reliable Data Incomplete?

What Can Institutional Researchers Do?


Chapter 4: The Similarities and Differences in the Work Experience of Women Faculty in Traditional and Nontraditional Disciplines

Gender Inequity Documented in the Literature





Chapter 5: Emotional Management and Motivation: A Case Study of Underrepresented Faculty

Theoretical Grounding




Chapter 6: Lessons from the Past and Directions for the Future

The Multilayer Diversity of Faculty Population

Progressive Diversification of Faculty Population

Importance of Data Collection on Higher Education Faculty

Flexibility with Both Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methodologies



Title page

THE ASSOCIATION FOR INSTITUTIONAL RESEARCH was created in 1966 to benefit, assist, and advance research leading to improved understanding, planning, and operation of institutions of higher education. Publication policy is set by its Publications Committee.


Gary R. Pike (Chair) Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis
Gloria Crisp University of Texas at San Antonio
Paul Duby Northern Michigan University
James Hearn University of Georgia
Terry T. Ishitani University of Memphis
Jan W. Lyddon San Jacinto Community College
John R. Ryan The Ohio State University


John Muffo (Editor, Assessment in the Disciplines), Ohio Board of Regents

John C. Smart (Editor, Research in Higher Education), University of Memphis

Richard D. Howard (Editor, Resources in Institutional Research), University of Minnesota

Paul D. Umbach (Editor, New Directions for Institutional Research), North Carolina State University

Marne K. Einarson (Editor, AIR Electronic Newsletter), Cornell University

Gerald W. McLaughlin (Editor, AIR Professional File/IR Applications), DePaul University

Richard J. Kroc II (Chair, Forum Publications Committee), University of Arizona

Sharron L. Ronco (Chair, Best Visual Presentation Committee), Florida Atlantic University

Randy Swing (Staff Liaison)

For information about the Association for Institutional Research, write to the following address:

AIR Executive Office

1435 E. Piedmont Drive

Suite 211

Tallahassee, FL 32308-7955

(850) 385-4155


Scholarly inquiry on the professional life of postsecondary faculty has always been a component of higher education research. During the past few decades, a variety of topics, including gender inequity, productivity, job satisfaction, and turnover have been studied extensively and their impact on the student outcomes well documented. In comparison, the primary “official” interest in postsecondary faculty by institutional researchers (IR) remains focused on salary studies and related gender/racial inequities. Expanding IR’s limited focus appears necessary given the progressing diversity in faculty population and with the increasing confirmation of the value of diversity in enhancing the quality of higher education.

This volume includes chapters that examine faculty diversity from a variety of perspectives. The information provides institutional researchers with a comprehensive outlook on faculty diversity defined by factors including racial background, gender, citizenship, employment status, and academic discipline. Special attention is given to international faculty members and non-tenure-track faculty members, both groups having experienced rapid growth in recent years. Chapter authors present empirical evidence to argue that institutional research on faculty needs to be refined toward the increasing diversity in faculty population and actively tracking the changes over time, and to remain sensitive to the critical role of research methodology in effectively understanding how such increasing diversity has affected the work experience and productivity of faculty and the learning outcomes of students.

In Chapter One, Daryl G. Smith, Esau Tovar, and Hugo A. García present detailed and informative descriptive statistics on the postsecondary faculty population in the United States. Disaggregating the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) data by race/ethnicity, gender, and citizenship, and examining the distribution of full-time faculty across eleven institutional types, they assess the current state of full-time faculty diversity through: (1) the distribution of full-time faculty diversity within each institutional type; (2) the institutional distribution of faculty by each racial/gender grouping; and (3) the change over time between 1993 and 2009. What makes this chapter unique is the attention to historically black colleges and universities, tribal colleges, faculty in the for-profit sector, and international faculty. This chapter enables institutional researchers to evaluate the faculty diversity of their own institution within the context of the progressing diversity of U.S. faculty.

Attention is focused on international faculty in Chapter Two. Dongbin Kim, Susan Twombly, and Lisa Wolf-Wendel use multiple data sources to illustrate the rapidly growing number of international faculty members at U.S. universities, in particular in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Further, the professional experience of international faculty members is examined in terms of their perception of academic life, productivity, and career mobility and compared with their U.S. faculty counterparts. By offering a better understanding of international faculty’s experience, the authors discuss implications from the perspectives of academic labor market and the pipeline of new scholars.

In Chapter Three, Adrianna Kezar and Daniel Maxey offer another viewpoint on faculty diversity by highlighting the important role that non-tenure-track faculty (NTTF) play in the U.S. higher education system. Although NTTF are growing to be the majority of higher education faculty, they are largely misunderstood by their institutions and by the higher education community. The authors argue that one of the primary reasons that contributes to this problem is the lack of reliable data, including little or no data via IR offices about their hiring, numbers, and policies; departments’ failure to send information to central HR/IR offices; and no qualitative data on NTTFs and the experiences and problems they face in creating a quality learning environment for students. The authors briefly review the national efforts by NTTFs to collect data on themselves, and they call upon institutional researchers for better data collection on this new faculty majority and also better models for understanding its implications.

Chapters Four and Five are included to demonstrate the methodological variations available to institutional researchers in their effort to document and understand faculty issues of growing complexity and diversity. Using Bayesian Network analysis, a nonparametric statistical procedure for modeling large-scale quantitative data, I analyzed data of three National Study of Postsecondary Faculty (NSOPF, 1993, 1999, and 2004) surveys in an effort to explore and compare the work experiences of women faculty in fields of different gender compositions, and to identify from a long-term perspective the factors that may negatively affect women in their low-presence areas. In Chapter Five, Vicente M. Lechuga employed a qualitative approach to offer an understanding of the role that emotions played in the academic work life of fifteen underrepresented faculty members in STEM disciplines, using an emotion management framework as a conceptual foundation. Interviews were conducted to collect qualitative data on participants’ emotion management skills, and the author demonstrated how the manner in which emotions are managed has implications on faculty motivation.

In the final chapter, I synthesize the previous five chapters and offer a discussion on effective and efficient research strategies on university faculty from the perspectives of (1) being sensitive to subgroup differences among faculty population of an increasing diversity (in particular when studying the underrepresented groups), (2) actively tracking progress over time or including time as a dimension in order to understand the changes in the professional life of faculty, (3) the importance of rigorous data collection on faculty population, and (4) having flexibility in terms of choosing the appropriate methodology. Recommendations are provided for the practice of institutional researchers and for future research on university faculty.

Although student issues dominate institutional research, I hope to use this volume as an opportunity to argue that increased IR effort is needed to accurately profile and understand the needs of faculty through regular data collection and well-thought-out analyses. Faculty members are the primary production force of postsecondary institutions and have direct impact on student outcomes. As research has shown, diversification of faculty population on campus contributes to a greater range of ideas and perspectives, more minority role models, enriched curricula, better student academic performance, greater student satisfaction with their educational experience, a great cultural awareness, and a deeper appreciation of equity. With diversity gaining unprecedented emphasis as part of the institutional mission of colleges and universities, institutional researchers are expected to assume greater responsibilities in promoting research on faculty diversity. IR data collection and analyses play a critical role in assisting administrators and policymakers to obtain a better understanding of the serious implications of faculty performance, motivation, satisfaction, and professional well-being for the quality of higher education institutions. Additionally, tracking changes in the makeup of faculty population over time can provide guidance for strategic administrative actions in the process of increasing faculty diversity.

I would like to thank all the authors who contributed to this volume and the editor-in-chief, Paul Umbach, who provided me valuable advice on selecting topics and editing chapters.

Yonghong Jade Xu

YONGHONG JADE XU is an associate professor of educational research at the University of Memphis.


Where Are They? A Multilens Examination of the Distribution of Full-Time Faculty by Institutional Type, Race/Ethnicity, Gender, and Citizenship

Daryl G. Smith, Esau Tovar, Hugo A. García

This introduction chapter presents descriptive statistics on the postsecondary faculty population in the United States and highlights the progressing diversity and growing number of minority, women, and international faculty.

A rich body of literature has tracked and discussed faculty diversity with respect to race/ethnicity and gender for some time. This literature frequently looks at faculty diversity at the national level, or within a particular institution or sector. Extant literature often makes assumptions about the distribution of faculty of color at various institutions, suggesting, for example, that most Latino1 faculty, like students, are at the community college (Contreras, 1998; Slaughter, 2007). For an up-to-date understanding, a more comprehensive, current, and in-depth analysis of faculty diversity focusing on race/ethnicity, gender and citizenship, and institutional type is needed.

Thus, this study provides a multilens examination of the diversity of full-time faculty in the United States across eleven institutional types derived from Carnegie classifications, by the intersection of race/ethnicity, citizenship, and gender and to make comparisons across time. Whereas few other studies have assessed faculty diversity for the for-profit sector (Schuster and Finkelstein, 2006), this study places emphasis on this rapidly growing type, along with the specific inclusion of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and tribal colleges. In addition, the separation of international faculty from traditional race and ethnic categories also provides an insight into that category and its impact on faculty diversity. The multilens perspective was made possible using three different analyses. Through the first lens, the distribution of full-time faculty diversity is examined within each institutional type (by gender, race/ethnicity, and citizenship). Through the second lens, there is an examination of the institutional distribution of faculty within each racial-ethnic/gender grouping. Finally, the third lens looks at changes over time and rates of change in faculty diversity by each of these categories from 1993 to 2009.

Literature Review

Research on the diversity of the American faculty across higher education segments continues to propagate (Turner, Gonzalez, and Wood, 2008). However, much of this research has relied on sample-based data sets (for example, National Study of Postsecondary Faculty [NSOPF]) to estimate faculty demographic characteristics, or was done some time ago, or has focused on particular institutions (see, for example, Antonio, 2002; Perna, 2003; Schuster and Finkelstein, 2006). In most instances, research by institutional type has focused on a limited range of institutional categories (for example, two-year/four-year, research/comprehensive/baccalaureate, or public/private to some degree), rather than on the comprehensiveness that characterizes institutional types across the country (Perna, 2003; Twombly, 1993; Wolf-Wendel, Ward, and Twombly, 2007). Additionally, much of this literature continues to focus on the experiences of faculty as a whole, with lesser attention paid to the status of individual racial/ethnic minority groups and of female faculty across institutional sectors (Perna, Gerald, Baum, and Milem, 2007; Townsend, 1995), or by the intersectionality of institutional type with gender and race/ethnicity (Perna, 2003; Smith, Altbach, and Lomotey, 2002). There seems to be a prevailing assumption that historically underrepresented faculty of color, especially blacks, Latinos, and American Indians, are found overwhelmingly at community colleges and at HBCUs (Alex-Assensoh, 2003; Allen and others, 2002; Contreras, 1998; Slaughter, 2007).

While the composition of the faculty has slowly become more diverse, Trower and Chait (2002) asserted that colleges and universities have done “too little for too long” (p. 34) to effect a significant change in faculty diversity. Similarly, Milem and Astin (1993) noted how little the composition of the faculty changed between 1972 and 1989, the years encompassing their study. Contrasting these views, Schuster and Finkelstein noted that a “pronounced escalation” in the diversification of faculty occurred between 1969 and 1998 (2006, p. 64). They reported that the overall percentage of full-time ethnic minority faculty at all institutions increased to 14.5 percent, and to 19.8 percent among new entrants. However, these gains were not equal for all racial/ethnic groups. Asians saw their numbers quadruple during the same period, followed by the tripling for blacks and Latinos, while the proportion of American Indians remained nearly identical to 1969 figures. However, none of these studies separated international faculty (noncitizens). Recent research suggests that, in fact, much of the growth in Asian faculty, in particular, and in Latino faculty, to some extent, is a function of growth in international faculty—“nonresident aliens” (NRAs) (Smith, 2009). Indeed, a recent study found that the racial distribution of ethnic faculty among international faculty was 30.5 percent Asian, 9.7 percent Latino, and 3.7 percent black (Mamiseishvili and Rosser, 2011).

In one of the few studies examining differences in the racial, ethnic, and gender composition of the faculty across institutional type, Milem and Astin (1993) found little evidence that the faculty had become more diverse. Using the 1972 American Council on Education and the 1989 Higher Education Research Institute’s faculty surveys, weighted estimates were calculated to represent faculty at colleges and universities across the country. According to their estimates, faculty of color comprised 5 percent across all institutions in 1972 and 9.1 percent in 1989, nearly two decades later. The authors reported that in 1972, the largest proportion of faculty of color were at public four-year institutions (7.8 percent), whereas the lowest were at private four-year colleges (3.7 percent). By 1989, faculty of color were the least represented at private four-year colleges (6.7 percent), while public two-year colleges achieved the greatest representation (10.6 percent). The most significant change found in the same period by racial/ethnic group was the more than doubling of Asian faculty across all types (1.3 percent to 2.9 percent). But more striking was their tripling at public universities (1.4 percent to 4.1 percent). With a slight increase in the percentage of black faculty overall (1.3 percent to 2.1 percent), they remained the least represented at public universities (0.7 percent) and best represented at public two-year colleges (3.3 percent). By contrast, the percentage of Latino and American Indian faculty remained largely unchanged at less than 1 percent at all institutions, save for the 2 percent represented by Latinos at two-year colleges. Finally, with respect to the advancement of women, Milem and Astin (1993) cited a seven-percentage-point gain in the same period across all institutional types (21.4 percent versus 28.3 percent), but their gains are the least at private universities and the greatest at public two-year colleges.

Schuster and Finkelstein (2006) also examined faculty diversity by institutional type. They reported that the diversification of the American faculty has progressed “steadily” regardless of the institutional type examined. Using data from four faculty surveys (Carnegie Commission National Survey of Faculty and Student Opinion 1969; NSOPF 1988, 1993, and 1999), the authors noted that faculty of color across all institutional types comprised 3.8 percent in 1969, 10.7 percent in 1987, 13.3 percent in 1988, and increased to 14.5 percent by 1992. Schuster and Finkelstein took particular notice of the representation that has been achieved by ethnic minority faculty at universities where they made up 14.7 percent in 1992, the last full year they reported for all faculty. They constituted 14.2 percent at “other” four-year institutions and 14.3 percent at two-year colleges in the same year.

Similarly, Perna (2001, 2003) has looked at the racial profile of faculty comparing two- and four-year institutions using NSOPF 1993 data. Again, looking at institutional profiles, she found that traditionally underrepresented ethnic minority faculty were less present at four-year institutions as compared to two-year colleges in 1992. The corresponding percentages reported were 5.1 percent versus 5.5 percent for African Americans, 2.3 percent versus 4.6 percent for Latinos, and 0.3 percent versus 0.9 percent for American Indians, respectively. However, she noted that minorities are slightly better represented at the lower levels of faculty ranks and experience. Of significance to this current study is the finding that Latinos and American Indians, compared to whites and Asians, were more likely to be employed at public community colleges than at four-year colleges. With respect to women, Perna (2001) found that women were underrepresented at research universities, while overrepresented at comprehensive universities, even when controlling for rank and experience.

With respect to community colleges, research suggests that faculty of color and white women have made significant progress in gaining access to the faculty ranks (Gahn and Twombly, 2001; Milem and Astin, 1993; Perna, 2003). But the argument has also been made that they have been relegated to teach at these “less prestigious” institutions (Seidman, 1985; Snyder, Dillow, and Hoffman, 2009; Townsend, 1995, 1998). Given these statistics, some authors have suggested that women, particularly those from ethnic minorities, are now vastly overrepresented at two-year institutions as compared to four-year institutions (Antonio, 2002; Bower, 2002; Perna, 2003; Schuster and Finkelstein, 2006).

While many researchers seem to support the assumption that historically underrepresented faculty would be located more frequently in community colleges, we found no recent study that provides the in-depth analysis on the current diversity of faculty in the United States, examining the intersectionality of institutional type, race/ethnicity, gender, and citizenship. Consistently engaging in evaluations and research studies that monitor progress globally across institutions and across broad faculty groupings does little in portraying the true state of affairs for faculty diversity across institutional types, race/ethnicity, gender, and citizenship. Hence, this study examines the representation of full-time faculty across eleven institutional types derived from Carnegie classifications, by racial/ethnic group (including international faculty), by gender, and across time. This chapter specifically addresses the following questions:


Data Sources. 

This study provides a descriptive analysis of the diversity of the postsecondary full-time faculty at degree-granting institutions in the United States and details the changes that took place between 1993 and 2009 with respect to diversity by gender, race/ethnicity, and citizenship across eleven institutional types. The study uses population data reported by individual institutions through the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). A custom file containing institution-level data for all variables of interest was downloaded directly from the IPEDS Data Center. The years examined were limited to 1993 and 2009; 1993 was the first year when NCES collected data for “nonresident alien” (NRA) faculty as a separate “racial/ethnic” group.

Institutional Types. 

For the purpose of this study, institutions in U.S. territories, such as Puerto Rico and Guam, were excluded. While the current basic Carnegie classification system includes thirty-three institutional types, we reduced these by combining similar types.2 For example, the ten public associate degree categories were combined into one to better manage data analysis. The same scheme was followed for the remaining Carnegie classifications. Accordingly, as shown in Table 1.1