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Minority staff numbers continue to rise

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By Austin Metz
Editor in Chief

The number of minority faculty and staff members at Grand Rapids Community College continues to rise and the numbers now show GRCC is above the state average.

“We are striving for the percentage of minority faculty members to be equal to or greater than the minority levels of our student body,” said Grand Rapids Community College President Steven Ender, Ed.D.

“When recruiting faculty members, we try to reach out to different trade association magazines and other networks,” Ender said, explaining that these magazines are key to providing information about job opportunities to minority job seekers.

During a presentation given before the Board of Trustees, Cathy Wilson, Executive Director of Human Resources, provided statistics that showed the overall improvements made by the school.

The percent of faculty and staff that are considered minorities is now at 18.7 percent and currently the school’s faculty and staff is made up of 54.1 percent women.

Faculty and staff refers to all employees of the college ranging from the teaching body to on-campus support and and administration.

Although the percentage of women employed at the college is lower than the state average, the 18.7 percent for minorities is 7.6 percent higher than the average of other 2-year public schools in the state of Michigan.

To go with that, looking at 2006 compared to today, all minority groups have seen an increase in numbers beside Native Americans, which has decreased by three members.

Yan Bai is a minority faculty member in the Political Science department who agrees with the college’s stance on minority faculty members.

“I think that having minority faculty in the class is very important because they provide

The number of minority faculty and staff members at Grand Rapids Community College continues to rise and the numbers now show GRCC is above the state average.

“We are striving for the percentage of minority faculty members to be equal to or greater than the minority levels of our student body,” said Grand Rapids Community College President Steven Ender, Ed.D.

“When recruiting faculty members, we try to reach out to different trade association magazines and other networks,” Ender said, explaining that these magazines are key to providing information about job opportunities to minority job seekers.

During a presentation given before the Board of Trustees, Cathy Wilson, Executive Director of Human Resources, provided statistics that showed the overall improvements made by the school.

The percent of faculty and staff that are considered minorities is now at 18.7 percent and currently the school’s faculty and staff is made up of 54.1 percent women.

Faculty and staff refers to all employees of the college ranging from the teaching body to on-campus support and and administration.

Although the percentage of women employed at the college is lower than the state average, the 18.7 percent for minorities is 7.6 percent higher than the average of other 2-year public schools in the state of Michigan.

To go with that, looking at 2006 compared to today, all minority groups have seen an increase in numbers beside Native Americans, which has decreased by three members.

Yan Bai is a minority faculty member in the Political Science department who agrees with the college’s stance on minority faculty members.

“I think that having minority faculty in the class is very important because they provide insights and stories for students,” Bai said. “The world we live in is becoming so small because of technology and we are connected in so many ways. Placing an emphasis on diversity can help expose students to the diversity of our world.”

For Grand Rapids Community College, the goal continues to be to provide students with the best education possible.

“It’s about producing a diverse learning environment to help better educate the students at GRCC,” Wilson said. “We would like to continue to increase the numbers but it takes time. It is our hope that faculty and staff reflects the student diversity we have and to have staff that is highly qualified.”

Statistics provided by Bruce Morrison, Data & Reports Coordinator at GRCC, show that at the beginning of the Fall 2011 semester, there were 17,601 students enrolled at the school.

Of this number, 4,407 students or 25% of the student body, were considered minorities.

“It’s really important to us that our ethnic students see role models around them,” Ender said. “Whether it’s in politics, school or whatever, students need to be able to see these success stories. Also, we feel it’s important to give students time to develop relationships with faculty within their minority group.”

Wilson explained that another reason for having this balance is the comfortably it provides in the classroom.

“As a school, we want to create comfortable class situations for our students which helps these students learn,” Wilson said. “Although it’s not required that we hire minority staff members, those on the hiring committee see the importance of having diversity in the classroom and this is very helpful.”
Bai also explained how minority faculty may bring a teaching style different from those not considered in the minority because of the way they were taught growing up.

“I do feel that professors teach as they were taught,” Bai said. “I came from China where my instructors were strict. My teachers expected the students to have read the book before they got to class so that the teacher and student could meet in the middle to help students learn.”

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