By Katy Murphy
A new consortium of elite California universities plans to increase the diversity of science and engineering faculty, starting with graduate students.
Led by UC Berkeley, the California Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate — which also includes UCLA, California Institute of Technology and Stanford University — aims to encourage more minority students to complete their Ph.Ds and find jobs in academia.
The project began with a $2.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to bring more black, Latino, Native American, Alaska Natives and Pacific Islander scholars into science, technology, engineering and math disciplines, generally termed the STEM fields.
A recent analysis by this newspaper showed that while student bodies have become more racially diverse, faculty are still largely white. At UC Berkeley, 77 percent of the faculty are white, compared to 28 percent of the students.
“As we become an increasingly diverse state and nation, this is a crisis,” said Mark Richards, UC Berkeley’s executive dean of the College of Letters and Science in a news release issue Friday.
“The participation of underrepresented minorities in academic STEM careers is especially important given the pivotal role that faculty members have as role models for future scientists and engineers.”