Let’s Remake Racially Unsafe STEM Educational Spaces

By Ebony O. McGee



In 2012, soon after I started my tenure-track job at Vanderbilt University, I became laser focused on understanding and eventually changing one shocking statistic: only 2.5 percent of all tenured or tenure-track engineering professors at U.S. institutions of higher education were Black professors. Eight years later, after some well-funded and well-intentioned programs directly targeting the racial diversification of STEM faculties, that statistic is now 2.4 percent. Moreover, from 2009 to 2018, engineering faculty hires increased by 4,250; only 79 of those new faculty hires were Black engineering professors. Out of the 298 engineering schools in the United States, more than one-third have no Black tenured or tenure-track engineering professors. This means that a Black engineering student could earn a PhD in the field and never have a professor who looks like them.


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