A trustee report on diversity faults Princeton for not coming “close to looking like America today” and said the University must do more to diversify the ranks of its graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty, and senior administrators. 

The Sept. 12 report finds more than 80 percent of tenured and tenure-track faculty are white, and 80 percent of full professors are men. Blacks and Hispanics are dramatically underrepresented: 2 percent of senior administrators are Hispanic and 3 percent of doctoral students are black. “Engagement with this issue is central, not tangential, to Princeton’s mission,” said the report, which was endorsed by the trustees and President Eisgruber ’83.

The report recommends that academic departments and administrators undertake a multi-pronged strategy to address the problem, including enhancing incentives for academic departments that identify potential minority and female faculty candidates; building networks with traditionally minority and female institutions; developing “watch lists” and tracking systems for promising faculty and grad students; and offering training to help recognize unconscious bias.

These steps and others should “embed diversity in the behaviors and practices of the entire institution,” the report said. Progress would be expected within five years.

The report noted that improving diversity for the faculty — which is 16 percent minority — is particularly difficult because of the slow turnover of tenured professors. Another issue affecting universities nationwide is that many women and minorities drop out of the pipeline along the way to tenure-track positions, leaving fewer candidates to choose from. 

The report advises University departments to assess how perceptions of Princeton may be affecting diversity efforts. Candidates for teaching positions “are often pleasantly surprised that the University and surrounding community do not match their negative stereotypes of Princeton as a homogeneous and ‘stuffy’ environment,” the report said. Another source of difficulty, the report notes, is people’s natural inclination to select candidates for faculty or postdoctoral positions from institutions they know well, leading to an overreliance on an elite group of “feeder” schools.

Read the report on the Web: princeton.edu/reports/2013/diversity.