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April 20, 2001

Governor Ryan Calls for a More Diverse Higher Education Faculty

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan filed an executive order reaffirming his commitment to quality and diversity in higher education faculty by charging the Board of Higher Education to create a strategy to attract more minority faculty.

"Illinois college and university students deserve the best possible faculty members to better their education, and that means being instructed by individuals of all backgrounds," said Governor Ryan. "Through this executive order, I am ensuring that Illinois has a plan to see that minorities are well represented in faculty all across the state."

Governor Ryan issued this executive order in response to a study conducted by the Illinois Committee on Black Concerns of Higher Education that minority faculty is underrepresented at Illinois public universities.

The Illinois State Board of Higher Education and Southern Illinois University have jointly completed an evaluation of minority graduate incentive programs designed to increase the number of faculty at Illinois colleges and universities, and have found the results to be positive.

"I commend the governor for addressing a critically important issue, and one that our Board and staff must continue to address during this next year," said Dr. Keith Sanders, Executive Director, Board of Higher Education.

Current graduate study incentive programs have been successful in increasing the numbers of minority faculty in Illinois institutions. Nearly 10 percent of minority faculty members currently employed have come through fellowships provided by graduate incentive programs. The programs also have been particularly effective at encouraging minority students to enroll in fields in which they are traditionally underrepresented. The programs have also been successful in helping students complete their graduate degrees and compete for other professional position in higher education.


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