February 27, 2017
By Kelly Schafler
The Lone Star College System is pushing for the recruitment of minority educators, specifically Hispanic educators, with the "Join the LSC Familia" initiative. Overall, amongst administrators, professors and staff in higher education, people of color are underrepresented.
LSCS received backlash in 2014 concerning its percentage of Hispanic employees. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed an investigation against LSCS, claiming that LSC was discriminating against Hispanic employees.
After the EEOC sought investigation, LSCS filed a lawsuit against the EEOC, fighting the investigation. In April 2014, The Courier reported that the "community college system claims a group of Hispanic activists used their personal and professional connections to persuade the EEOC to launch the probe, without informing the board of trustees."
During the February LSCS board meeting, Joe Ramirez, the founder of Hispanic Executive Society International and one of the activists referenced in 2014, addressed the board. Ramirez, a frequent speaker against LSCS, said the system was still not doing enough to bridge the gap and has avoided the issue for many years.
Prior to Ramirez's claim, Chancellor Stephen Head introduced the efforts of "Join the LSC Familia" to the room, saying that LSCS recruiters attended more than 15 job fairs this year at universities across the country with large Hispanic graduate student populations. At the job fairs, potential applicants were informed of LSCS's plan to hire 500 new full-time faculty members over the next seven years.
However, the current rate of Hispanic students who receive a bachelor's, master's or doctorate degree are low. In 2014, the national percentage of Hispanic students ages 25-29 who obtain a bachelor degree was 15 percent, according to a July 2016 report by the Pew Research Center.
Additionally, a fall 2013 report by the National Center for Education Statistics shows the national percentage of full-time instructional faculty in degree-granting postsecondary institutions by academic rank, selected race/ethnicity and sex.
Hispanic males and females accounted for a total of 4 percent.
"This issue is not unique to Lone Star College as the national numbers indicate," Head stated via email. "The percentage of Hispanics receiving master's and doctoral degrees lags significantly behind the increasing number of Hispanic students at LSC."
According to an LSCS ethnicity demographic information from fall 2016, Hispanic students account for the highest population at LSCS with 38.1 percent of the overall student population. White students account for 31.9 percent, black students for 15 percent, Asian/Pacific Islander for 7.3 percent, and other/multiple or unknown sit at 7.6 percent of the student enrollment.
Comparatively, spring 2017 LSCS reports show that the Hispanic employee population across the system is at 14.8 percent, an improvement over the national average. Looking at the growth by numbers, Amos said LSC had 851 Hispanic employees in the system in 2011. Six years later, 1,127 Hispanic individuals are currently employed at LSCS.
"We are outperforming the national average (for Hispanic employment), but we want to continue to do better," Head said. "Lone Star College is committed to its efforts of recruiting a diverse workforce and working with people of all backgrounds who are dedicated to student success."
Part of the "Join the LSC Familia" recruitment effort is reaching out to current enrolled students and creating a distinct connection by assisting students during and after their time at LSCS. Vice Chancellor of LSCS Amos McDonald said he hopes this will encourage those students to complete their four-year degrees or higher and return to the community to give back through education.
"Hopefully we've done a good enough job of doing that, of showing the value in being an educator, the difference you can make is lasting," McDonald said. "Come back and teach. Come back and make a difference."
McDonald said the Hispanic recruitment initiative is years in the making, but each college in the system has been doing their own diversity initiatives as well, focusing on other minorities.
"It's about creating more diversity period within our employment, within our employees, within our staff," McDonald said. "We have to make sure we're meeting those needs and being more reflective of the community we're serving."
Source: The Houston Chronicle