Faculty Racial Equity Study finds need for improvement


The Racial Equity Study presented to the Senate Council Budget Policies Committee on Oct. 18 is the first of its kind at the University to look at how the racial makeup of Pitt faculty compares to peer institutions and how the salaries of underrepresented racial minority faculty compare to non-URM faculty on campus.

Steve Wisniewski, vice provost for Data and Information, said the report “reinforced what we already knew. We knew we needed to do better. The provost actually has two hiring initiatives currently underway — one specifically diversity and one LatinX hiring.”

The racial makeup charts showed the 34 AAU public colleges from highest to lowest percentage of white professors/instructors. For all full-time faculty on the Oakland campus, Pitt ranked in the middle at 70.9 percent white; Indiana University was the highest at 79.2 percent, and Georgia Tech the lowest at 58.2 percent. The report also breaks down the faculty by rank and tenure status.

If the chart were flipped, showing highest to lowest percentage of URM faculty — black, Hispanic, two or more races, American Indian, Alaska native, native Hawaiian or other Pacific islander — it appears Pitt would be in the bottom third, with 3 to 4 percent each for black and Hispanic faculty.

But Amanda Brodish, director of Data Analytics in the provost’s office who presented the report, said it’s a little hard to compare apples to apples. The data from the other AAU schools is taken from the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).  This database asks for international faculty to be reported as one group, not split by race, and some schools report a larger percentage of race unknown. Pitt’s data, on the other hand, does not have either of these issues.

“It unfairly paints a picture of Pitt that I wouldn’t want to put out there,” Brodish said, again emphasizing that the provost’s office is already engaged in improving diversity hiring.

Salary comparisons

In comparing the salaries of URM vs. non-URM faculty, the study focused on full-time instructors as of fall 2017, including those with some clinical responsibilities, but excluding those who are primarily clinical faculty.

This part of the presentation also gave a breakdown of the percentages of URM faculty by rank, tenure status and location.


  • Full professors: 4.2 percent of tenured or tenure-stream/2.2 percent of non-tenure stream

  • Associate professors: 7.2 percent/5 percent

  • Assistant professors: 11.6 percent/7.7 percent

  • Instructors and lecturers: 6.1 percent of NTS


  • Full professors: 3.4 percent of tenured or tenure-stream

  • Associate professors: 5.8 percent of tenured or tenure-stream

  • Assistant professors: 4.2 percent of tenured or tenure-stream/1.6 percent of NTS

  • Instructors and lecturers: 9.8 percent of NTS

Brodish said one of the questions from this data is whether the higher percentage of URM assistant professors will translate in three or four years into a higher percentage of URM associate professors. At this point it’s unclear, she said, but it’s something they will track in future race equity studies.

The study used a regression analysis of nine-month equivalent salaries controlling for gender, tenure status and campus. The salary ratios approach and exceed 100 percent for most ranks across all campuses both with and without the controls, Brodish said.

The ratios were lowest for full professor at both the Pittsburgh and regional campuses. In Pittsburgh, a URM full professor earned 96 percent of a non-URM, while in the regionals the ratio was 93 percent. This is an area that needs to be explored further, Brodish said.

Freshman class census

Wisniewski reported on the final census of the incoming freshman class for Pittsburgh. The target was 4,205 and the final total was 4,084 students. The school totals were:

  • Arts & Sciences: 2,871, lower than the previous year because computer science was moved to its own school.

  • Computing & Information: 188. The goal was 100, but Wisniewski said they “shot right past that” pretty quickly. 

  • Nursing: 183

  • Engineering: 509

  • Business Administration: 333

Of those 41.4 percent were from out of state, up from 40.5 percent last year. Wisniewski said the target for out-of-state students is 50 percent, but there’s no date for when that will be achieved. The class has 4.6 percent international students.

The average SAT score was 1,343; statistically the same as last year’s 1,346.

Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at suejones@pitt.edu or 412-648-4294.


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