by Joan S. Burrelli
Science, engineering, and health (SEH) doctorates awarded by U.S. institutions to minorities (Asians, blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians/Alaska Natives) have been increasing in number and as a percentage over the past two decades. Nevertheless, both minority doctorate numbers and minority faculty numbers remain low, especially in the leading research institutions. Data on SEH doctorate recipients show that blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians/Alaska Natives, as a group, earned about 3,300 SEH doctorates from U.S. universities in 2008, 9% of all SEH doctorates (table 1). Asians earned about 10,900 SEH doctorates in 2008, 31% of all SEH doctorates, most of which (81%) were earned by temporary visa holders.
Table 1 Source Data: Excel file
This InfoBrief examines the characteristics of minority faculty with SEH doctorates, the types of schools from which they earn their doctorates, the types of schools in which they teach, and how they compare with nonminority faculty.
Among employed SEH doctorate holders in 2008, higher percentages of blacks (58%) and Hispanics (55%) than of most other racial/ethnic groups (34%–47%) were employed in education in a variety of settings and appointments (table 2)., Differences in field of doctorate account for some of the differences in employment by sector. Black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native doctorate holders are more likely than white and Asian doctorate holders to have doctorates in the social and behavioral sciences, fields in which academic employment is prevalent (NSF/SRS 2011).
Table 2 Source Data: Excel file
Of the approximately 291,000 SEH doctorates employed in educational institutions in 2008, approximately 221,000 were faculty in universities and colleges (table 3). Of these, 13% were Asian, 4% were black, 4% were Hispanic, 1% were two or more races, and less than 1% were all other race/ ethnicity (American Indian/Alaska Native or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander). Because the fraction of SEH doctorates awarded to minorities has increased over time, minorities are a higher percentage of faculty with recent SEH doctorates than they are of all faculty with SEH doctorates. Among faculty who received SEH doctorates in 2005 or later, 22% were Asian, 5% were black, 6% were Hispanic, 2% were two or more races, and less than 1% were all other race/ethnicity.
Table 3 Source Data: Excel file
Differences in years since doctorate are likely to account for some of the differences by race/ethnicity in rank and tenure. Smaller percentages of black, Hispanic, and Asian doctoral faculty with SEH doctorates than of white faculty are full professors, and larger percentages are assistant professors. Similarly, smaller percentages of black, Hispanic, and Asian faculty than of white faculty are tenured. As is the case with field of doctorate, faculty with SEH doctorates differ by race/ethnicity in field of employment. A higher percentage of black faculty than of most other faculty with SEH doctorates are employed as faculty in S&E-related occupational fields, including the health sciences, or in non-S&E occupational fields (figure 1). A lower percentage of Asian than of most other faculty with SEH doctorates are employed as social science faculty, and a higher percentage are computer science, mathematics, or engineering faculty.
Figure 1 Source Data: Excel file
Minority faculty with SEH doctorates also differ in citizenship status and sex. About one-third of black, 37% of Hispanic, 91% of Asian, and 11% of white SEH doctoral faculty members are non-U.S. born, most of them being naturalized citizens (table 3). Higher percentages of black and Hispanic faculty with SEH doctorates are women than is the case for white and Asian faculty.
From What Types of Schools Did They Earn Their Doctorates?
Most (79%) faculty with SEH doctorates employed in U.S. academic institutions earned their doctorates at institutions in the Carnegie Classification category of research universities with very high research activity (RUVH). Lower percentages of black faculty than of white, Asian, or Hispanic faculty earned their doctorates at RUVH institutions, and higher percentages earned them at academic institutions in the other two Carnegie Classification categories of doctorategranting institutions (research universities, high research activity [RUH], and doctoral/research universities [DRU]) (table 4).
Table 4 Source Data: Excel file
Where Are They Employed?
Among all faculty with SEH doctorates employed in U.S. academic institutions in 2008, a total of 36% were employed in RUVH institutions, 24% were employed in other doctorate-granting institutions (either RUH or DRU) or medical schools, and 21% were employed in master's-granting institutions (table 5). Minority faculty follow a similar pattern, with one notable exception. Black faculty with SEH doctorates differ from most other racial/ethnic groups in that a lower percentage were employed in RUVH institutions and a higher percentage were employed in master's-granting institutions.
Table 5 Source Data: Excel file
Faculty with SEH doctorates who earned doctorates at RUVH institutions tend to teach at RUVH institutions. Relatively small percentages (less than 15%) of those who earned doctorates at other types of doctorate-granting institutions (either RUH or DRU) are employed at RUVH institutions. Those who earned doctorates from RUH or DRU doctorate-granting institutions are most likely to teach at master's-granting institutions (table 6).
Table 6 Source Data: Excel file
However, among faculty who received their SEH doctorates from RUVH institutions, relatively fewer (31%) of black faculty were employed in RUVH institutions than faculty of most other racial/ethnic groups (39%–48%). A higher percentage of black faculty (25%) with SEH doctorates from RUVH institutions than of white (20%) or Asian faculty (15%) were employed in master's-granting institutions. The relative prevalence of black faculty in master's-granting institutions is at least partly attributable to their prevalence in historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) (figure 2), most of which are master's-granting institutions. Although HBCUs are the employers of only 2% of all faculty with SEH doctorates, they are the employers of 24% of black doctoral SEH faculty.
Figure 2 Source Data: Excel file
Data Sources and Limitations
This InfoBrief updates a previous publication (NSF 06-318) that was withdrawn in 2010 because of the discovery of quality issues in racial/ethnicity data from the National Science Foundation's 2003 and the 2006 Survey of Doctorate Recipients (SDR). In this report, the racial/ethnic categories are mutually exclusive. The non-Hispanic white, black, Asian, and American Indian/Alaska Native categories are referred to here as white, black, Asian, and American Indian/Alaska Native, respectively. In tables, American Indians/Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders (excluding those selecting an Hispanic ethnicity) are included in the "other" race/ethnicity category.
The faculty data included in this report refer only to U.S. faculty with doctoral degrees in SEH fields from U.S. institutions. This InfoBrief draws on the 2008 SDR to describe the characteristics of minority faculty with SEH doctorates. The SDR provides data on people who have earned SEH doctorates from U.S. institutions and who are employed in the United States. The term faculty in this report refers to full, associate, and assistant professors and instructors and includes adjunct faculty.
The Carnegie Classification used in this InfoBrief is the 2005 version of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching's Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Science, engineering, and health fields include biological/agricultural/environmental life sciences, computer and information sciences, mathematics and statistics, physical sciences, psychology, social sciences, engineering, and health fields.
 Joan S. Burrelli (retired), Science and Engineering Indicators Program, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES), National Science Foundation (NSF), 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 965, Arlington, VA 22230. For further information about this report, please contact Jaquelina Falkenheim, NCSES/NSF (firstname.lastname@example.org; 703-292-7798).
 Data on SEH degrees are from the Survey of Earned Doctorates, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Institutes of Health, U.S Department of Agriculture, and U.S Department of Education.
 The standard error for "other" race/ethnicity (American Indian/Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander) is quite large due to small sample sizes. Thus differences between this group and all other racial/ethnic groups are not statistically significant.
 Employment refers to principal employer during the week of 1 October 2008 and includes both full- and parttime employment.
National Science Foundation/Division of Science Resources Statistics (NSF/SRS). 2011. Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering: 2011. Special Report NSF 11-309. Arlington, VA. Available at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd/.