On Michigan Radio, Alford Young Jr. calls for increased faculty diversity

January 6, 2016

In a recent interview on Michigan Radio, Alford Young Jr. discusses the lack of faculty diversity in the U.S. with Michigan State professor Django Paris. According to the article, 3.3 percent of University of Michigan faculty members are black, compared to 4.4 percent of faculty members at MSU.

“It doesn’t surprise me because of a number of factors,” Young says about the data. “One is that there is a lot of debate in higher education today about what constitutes excellence, and who represents excellence. And although many institutions put forth the notion that they’re going to search for the best and the brightest, and that will include diversity, I think at the end of the day there are hard choices to be made. And it’s not fully clear to me that those hard choices are made in favor of diversity.”

Young goes on say that he sees broad agreement about the value of diversity, but there is still work to be done. "It's not about just agreeing that diversity matters, it's about developing strategies that will achieve success in a world of limited resources. And I think we've got a long way to go to get it."

Alford A. Young is the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and chair of the Department of Sociology, with a joint appointment to the Department of African and African American Studies and a courtesy appointment at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

Young has pursued research on low-income, urban-based African Americans, employees at an automobile manufacturing plant, African American scholars and intellectuals, and the classroom-based experiences of higher-education faculty as they pertain to diversity and multiculturalism. 

--Story by Afton Branche (MPP '17)