Student Response to URM Representation Within Rice Faculty
Submission to the Friends of Fondren Library Undergraduate Research Awards, 2017. This paper was originally prepared for Course SOCI 381 (Fall 2016): Research Methods, given by Professor Craig Considine, Department of Sociology.
This study focuses on Rice undergraduate student satisfaction in relation to faculty diversity at Rice. Specifically, we wanted to research the potential benefits and harms that the presence or absence of underrepresented minority (URM) faculty, both as teachers and as mentors, may have on underrepresented students. A survey and interviews were conducted on a voluntary basis in order to learn more about the undergraduate experience. Statistical analysis was completed across races/ethnicities, divisional departments, and by year at Rice. Overall, there was little statistical difference in satisfaction across divisional departments and between year classification at Rice; however, across racial/ethnic groups, there were many statistical implications. In short, the data shows that African American students are most likely to care the most about diversity within faculty and to be the least satisfied with current faculty diversity at Rice. Although the majority of students agreed that representation within faculty was important, many also felt that quality was a more important determinant for hiring faculty than racial diversity. Despite this, students still felt that Rice should have an active responsibility in increasing the diversity within the faculty.