I applaud Prof. Vernon Thompson ("Where Minority Hiring Gets an F," Op-Ed Page, May 23) for pointing out the barriers to hiring ethnic minorities that exist in academe. To address the problems which he describes, the 20-campus California State University system is making a concerted effort to ensure that ethnic minorities and women are adequately represented in the nearly 11,000 faculty we will need to hire over the next 15 years. CSU has already embarked on many of the suggestions listed in Thompson's article to create an ethnically diverse faculty.
For example, we are now entering the third year of the CSU Forgivable Loan/Doctoral Incentive Program, which provides loans to under-represented students who seek to pursue doctoral studies. Upon completion of their doctorates, loans of up to $30,000 are completely "forgiven" if the students become full-time faculty in CSU for at least five years. Currently, 100 students have been selected to participate in this program. They represent doctoral students in many different academic disciplines attending both California and out of state universities. Another 100 students will be added to the Forgivable Loan Program for the 1989/90 academic year.
The Forgivable Loan Program will attract ethnic minorities to the CSU faculty. But, we are also deeply concerned about increasing the national pool of ethnic minority doctorates. CSU graduates approximately 11,000 ethnic minority bachelor's degree holders and 1,600 master's degree holders annually. Thus CSU is in a position to have a major effect on increasing the number of ethnic minority doctoral recipients beyond the 2,000 that are produced annually in U.S. universities.
In addition to the many outreach programs designed to attract ethnic minority students to CSU, programs have been developed to encourage and guide more students toward graduate and doctoral education. The CSU Graduate Equity Program provides financial support to encourage more of our ethnic minority undergraduates to continue in our graduate programs. In a new program which will begin in the next academic year, the CSU Doctoral Preparation Program will provide opportunities and experiences to encourage and prepare CSU ethnic minority students to pursue doctoral studies. An important aspect of this program is a cooperative relationship with the University of California, a major doctoral-granting university.
If the pool of ethnic minority doctorates is increased through the efforts of CSU and others, we must still be concerned about our ability to be competitive in attracting ethnic minority candidates to our faculty. Salaries, teaching load, professional development opportunities, housing assistance, and a myriad of other employment inducements must continue to be provided and significantly enhanced if CSU is to diversify its faculty further. All these require the support of public officials.
As a public university which serves over 355,000 students and employs more than 19,000 faculty members, CSU has a role and a stake in increasing the number of ethnic minorities who have the ability and credentials to be faculty members. CSU has taken the challenge seriously.
CAESAR J. NAPLES
Faculty and Staff Relations
California State University