In Support of Increasing Faculty Diversity

Dear Faculty Search Committee members, The Political Science Graduate Student Association (PSGSA), the Diversity Committee and fellow graduate students in our department encourage the Search Committees to pursue actively the goal of greater representation of women and minority faculty in the upcoming hiring process. We consider stronger women and minority representation vital to the quality of research, mentorship, learning, and teaching in our department. Diversity and excellence go together. People with different backgrounds bring a broader range of insights to academia. They emphasize new topics and frequently encourage everyone to consider old questions from new perspectives. As the 2007 Departmental Review put it, “Faculty diversity lags behind comparable departments. Current hiring procedures and committee structures have failed to help, damaging the intellectual strength of the Department.” Faculty diversity is important for attracting and mentoring graduate students from groups currently under-represented in our department and the field of Political Science. According to APSA’s 2005 Report on the Advancement of Women in Political Science, women and minority students more often say that they receive poor mentoring. As the 2007 Departmental Review noted, our faculty is among the least diverse of the top-ranking schools. Of 32 full professors, only 4 are women; one is a joint appointment, and another is rumored to be retiring at the end of the year. According to University figures, only one full professor self-identifies as a member of an under-represented minority. We expect that greater faculty diversity would help current efforts to increase the diversity of the graduate student body. According to figures from the Graduate Diversity Office, the Political Science department at Berkeley has the second-lowest proportion of students from under-represented minorities of any of the social science departments. The Diversity Office confirms that Berkeley is less successful at recruiting minority students than peer institutions such as Harvard, Princeton or Michigan. And in recent years female graduate students have also been under-represented; the latest cohort has just two. Thank you for your time and consideration. We hope that the Committees will take advantage of this opportunity to increase the diversity of our faculty and thereby enhance the excellence of our academic community. Sincerely,

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