Current Demographics

Current Demographics

Despite these positive aspects of our history, Denison historically has been a predominantly White institution. In 2001, in response to perennially low numbers of students, faculty and staff of color, Denison committed to becoming a more diverse college. Faculty, staff, students, administrators, alumni, and others united in efforts to make Denison more diverse.

Student Diversity

The chart below documents the positive impacts of that work. Although we have made improvements, we recognize that we still have a long way to go.

White Students

Domestic Students of Color

International Students of Color

Fall 2006

84.5%

11.3%

4.2%

Fall 2021

60.9%

21.9%

17.2%


Faculty Demographics & Retention Rates

In 2008, the university began affirming its commitment to faculty diversity and inclusion increasing its number of diverse tenure-track faculty. During the past 10 years, 46% of our tenure-track faculty hires have increased diversity on campus.

The retention rate of tenure-track faculty hired since 2007-2008 is 71% for both white and faculty of color. Both third-year review and tenure rates are also similar with 87% of white faculty passing their third-year and tenure reviews, while 84% of faculty of color passed both reviews.

The following table shows the overall changes in diversity over a 10-year period for tenured and tenure-track faculty. Faculty with permanent resident status are included in the domestic faculty counts.

Domestic White Faculty

Domestic Faculty of Color

Nonresident Faculty

Fall 2011

81%

15%

4%

Fall 2021

68%

29%

3%


Staff Demographics

The university is committed to increasing the hiring and retention rates of staff members from underrepresented groups.1 We recognize this as an area of opportunity to improve through hiring, development, and retention initiatives. Over the past five years, the university has made incremental progress in the hiring of a diverse staff. A focus on retaining diverse staff talent and ensuring their successful onboarding will be essential in meeting the Denison Forward goals. Human Resources will partner with departments and develop strategies to enhance staff engagement and professional development and to develop a more inclusive workplace.

The following tables show the overall diversity for administrative staff and support staff over a 10-year period.

White Administrative Staff

Administrative Staff of Color

Fall 2011

92%

8%

Fall 2021

86%

14%

1Underrepresented groups are individuals who racially identify as Asian, Black, White, Hispanic, Multiracial, Pacific Islander, and Native American.

White Support Staff

Support Staff of Color

Fall 2011

92%

8%

Fall 2021

94%

6%


Creating an Inclusive Community

It is important to recognize that, while we have increased diversity on campus, not all members of our community have always felt welcomed or have a sense of belonging. In particular, students, faculty and staff of color have too often felt marginalized and have had racially-charged experiences. At times, these frustrations have led to campus demonstrations. Often the biggest issue is not the explosive moments but the day-to-day interactions and implicit biases that leave students, faculty, and staff feeling disrespected and make it needlessly and unfairly hard for them to find success at Denison.

In recent surveys of students, we observe students of color feeling less connected to the community. In a 2018 senior survey, Black and Hispanic seniors were less satisfied with the sense of community on campus than White students (Black: 53%, Hispanic: 63%, White: 74%). We found a similar pattern among first-year students — again students of color feel less satisfied with the sense of community. In addition, Asian, Black and Hispanic students were more likely to indicate having felt discriminated against at Denison than White students (Asian: 57%, Black: 53%, Hispanic: 33%, White: 21%).

In our National Survey of Student Engagement (February 2020), we found that Black and Latinx students were less likely to feel valued by Denison or to feel part of the community — both as first-years and as seniors. For example, 50% of Black seniors and 56% of Latinx seniors felt valued by Denison, while 76% of White seniors felt valued. Similarly, we found that 60% of Black and 53% of Latinx first-years felt like part of the Denison community, while 86% of White first-years reported feeling like part of the community.

Additionally, in the 2019 Great Colleges Survey, we saw a 3% decline in how faculty and staff view the institution’s emphasis on having diverse faculty, administration and staff. Furthermore, we observed that different identities observed this difference. Overall, 80% of Denison employees agree that the institution places sufficient emphasis on having diverse faculty, administration, and staff, but only 55% of Black, Hispanic, or American Indian/Alaska Native respondents agree. In addition, 70% of Denison employees agree that Denison acts effectively to retain a diverse faculty, compared to 30% of Black, Hispanic, or American Indian/Alaska Native respondents. Lastly, 64% agree that the college acts effectively to retain a diverse staff, compared to 31% of Black, Hispanic, or American Indian/Alaska Native respondents.

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