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UNK Welcomes NCA

North Central Self Study
Chapter 2: UNK and the North Central Association

1994 NCA Team Report

2. Institutional Concerns

There is little evidence of aggressive efforts to affect the institution's commitment to diversity. Institutional practices are undeveloped and plans for action are lacking. A stronger coherence is needed to implement the mission and goal statements. (p. 31)

Planning and action has gone forward on two fronts: at the University of Nebraska level (including University-wide advisory committees concerning diversity and gender equity) and at the campus level.

University-wide goals were announced in 1991 for gender equity and in 1993 for minority affairs. Additionally, 1997 legislation in the Nebraska Unicameral required the University to be among the top 50 percent of peer institutions in the employment of women and minority faculty members. Each campus developed a plan to guide that effort. These materials (including the UNK plan) are contained in the University of Nebraska's Five Year Plan to Increase Faculty Diversity (located in the Resource Room). Also, since 2000-2001, the University's Central Administration, in an effort to encourage the hiring of faculty who will increase diversity, has annually earmarked funds to pay part of the salary of these individuals. The University President appoints advisory committees on gender equity and diversity, with representatives from all campuses, which report to the Board of Regents annually on the general situation and particular issues and challenges.

At UNK, efforts to develop a more diverse campus have included sustained evaluation of our situation by a noted authority, Dr. Joe White, who was initially engaged by University of Nebraska President L. Dennis Smith to consult on University-wide issues. Since 2000 Dr. White has visited the campus several times to advise the Chancellor, other administrators, faculty, staff, and students on challenges and opportunities. His recommendations have been particularly helpful in faculty recruitment, staff development, and curriculum matters (notably, an ethnic studies program).

As for employee hiring, the Director of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity develops plans and guidance related to University and campus diversity goals and activities. The UNK Affirmative Action Plan, which is revised annually in light of hiring results, is on file in the Resource Room. The Director also conducts analyses of the workforce and of potential applicant and candidate pools supporting search efforts. Systematically, the Director advises administrative leaders, search committees and hiring officials on progress with respect to goal attainment and on potential opportunities to advance diversity interests at UNK.

Table 2.6 presents information related to progress made on faculty and staff diversity in the past decade. Some progress has been made in attracting and retaining a more ethnically diverse faculty, but the numbers remain relatively small, with less than 10% of the Fall, 2003 faculty representing ethnic diversity. The institution remains committed to this goal, recognizing that further advances are necessary for the benefit of the students and the community.

Somewhat better progress has been made in improving the gender balance of the faculty, with women now comprising almost 40% of the full-time faculty. Equally important and not shown in Table 2.6 is the significant enhancement of the number of female Associate Professors and Professors. Staff data is not available prior to 1995, but the gender balance has not changed appreciably since that year. It will be noted that there is now a more equal gender balance in the professional staff, while the office/service staff remains almost two-thirds female.

Table 2.6

Faculty/Staff Diversity
  Faculty (full-time) Ethnicity:  
       Fall 1993:               Fall 2003:  
       Asian:      7         Asian:      9     
       Black:      4         Black:      2     
       Hispanic:      2         Hispanic:      6  
       Native American:      1         Native American:      2  
                     Non-resident Alien:      5  
       White:      295         White:      272  
  Faculty (full-time) by Gender  
         Fall 1993:               Fall 2003:        
         Male:      215  (69.5%)      Male:      178  (60.1%)  
         Female:      94  (30.5%)      Female:      118  (39.9%)  
  Professional (full-time) Staff by Gender  
         Fall 1995:               Fall 2003:  
         Male:      48  (44.9%)      Male:      76  (50.3%)  
         Female:      59  (55.1%)      Female:      75  (49.7%)  
  Office/Service (full-time) Staff by Gender  
    Fall 1995:               Fall 2003:  
    Male:      81  (35.8%)      Male:      74   (34.1%)  
    Female:      145  (64.2%)      Female:      143   (65.9%)    

With respect to the student body, UNK has taken a number of structural and programmatic steps to recruit students from diverse backgrounds and to develop a campus climate that is hospitable and supportive for those students. Progress made in this arena is provided in Table 2.7.

With funds reallocated by the campus internally or provided by Central Administration, the Admissions Office (1) in 2001 hired an Admissions Counselor dedicated to Hispanic populations, (2) in 2002 added an African-American Admissions Counselor, and (3) added a coordinator of multicultural recruitment. New programs instituted include targeted recruitment in high schools and communities having large minority populations, on-campus events for minority students introducing them to UNK and to the college experience generally, and focused on-campus visits for students from selected high schools.

UNK has also enhanced efforts to recruit international students, with improved collaboration between the Admissions Office, Graduate Office, and the Office of International Education. Recruitment of nonresident students, mainly in contiguous states, has also intensified. In 2000 the Chancellor, on advice from affected student groups, established separate offices to serve international students and U.S. minority students. For several years a single office, the Office of Multicultural and International Student Services, served both constituencies. This has resulted in more focused attention for both of these key student constituencies. It has also reinvigorated the activity and visibility of these groups on campus.

Table 2.7

Student Recruitment Diversity
       Fall 1993 Enrollment (total = 8,045)        Fall 2003 Enrollment (total = 6,379)       
    International:   220 (2.7%)         International:   354 (5.5 %)  
    Asian Am.:   32 (0.3%)         Asian Am.:   32 (0.5%)  
    Black:   53 (0.7%)         Black:   44 (0.7%)  
    Hispanic:   117 (1.5%)         Hispanic:   153 (2.4%)  
    Native Am.:   35 (0.4%)         Native Am.:   13 (0.2%)  
    Nonresident:   429 (5.3%)         Nonresident:   741 (11.6%)  

The trends depicted in Table 2.7 occurred in the context of a marked decline in the population of white students (-22%) and resident students (-26%) in this period. While progress has been mixed, particularly notable for this campus are increases in the international presence and in the number of students from Hispanic backgrounds (the latter aligns with changes in statewide and regional demographics).

Programmatically, UNK solidified its commitment to diversity in the 1990's. The Office of Multicultural Affairs serves multicultural students and has implemented a wide variety of campus and community programs celebrating the contributions and achievements of many cultures. The Office of International Education, which serves international students, has also led important initiatives. In 2000 it concluded a formal arrangement that brings 50-60 new Japanese undergraduate students to our campus every year. Since 1991 it has also led the development of 13 exchange agreements with institutions in Russia, Western Europe, South America, and Asia. In 1998 UNK also joined with other major public universities in a consortium that places students in 24 universities throughout Europe. The Conference on World Affairs, mentioned in Chapter 1, also contributes to this effort.

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