Comparing faculty to student diversity at Iowa State University


Courtesy of College Factual

According to College Factual, while Iowa State students are predominately white, there is more diversity amongst students compared to faculty.

Payne Blazevich

While action has been taken to improve the diversity of Iowa State’s student population, the faculty is made up predominantly of white professors. Some within the faculty and student body feel more can be done regarding the diversity of Iowa State’s faculty.

“The student body is far more diverse than the faculty,” said Brian Behnken, a professor in the department of history. “It’s always a thing to talk about. It’s always a thing we want to do better with, but then we look at the numbers, and it doesn’t seem like we actually make that much progress.”

Over 75 percent of Iowa State’s undergraduate student population is white, according to data from College Factual. The second-largest category is Hispanic students at 6.3 percent, followed by international students at 5.3 percent. Asian and Black students make up a combined 6 percent of the undergraduate student population.

Although Iowa State is predominantly white, roughly one-fourth of the undergraduate student population is non-white, according to College Factual. However, 89.2 percent of Iowa State’s faculty is white, resulting in a greater proportion of white professors compared to white students.

“When I first came to Iowa State, especially after seeing a lot of the advertisements, it did claim a lot of diversity, and I was hoping that the diversity wouldn’t just be in the student body population, but more of to faculty as well,” said Hector De La Cruz, a freshman majoring in human development and family studies.

“I was hoping for more of that diversity to reflect in the faculty; however, it didn’t necessarily take away from my learning experience and they were still good professors nonetheless,” De La Cruz said.

De La Cruz identified his nationality as Mexican, which is part of the second-largest category of undergraduate students at Iowa State, according to data from College Factual. However, this representation is not consistent with Iowa State’s faculty.

“I was hoping to kind of dive more into [diversity] and kind of be able to connect with professors in that sense,” De La Cruz said.

A diverse faculty helps create connections with students and allows for more positive relationships to develop, according to research from the National Journal for Publishing and Mentoring Doctoral Student Research. Students are able to build relationships based on shared backgrounds, which can improve student performance, according to the journal.

Although Iowa State has shown diversity in the student population, the faculty still needs to make progress, Behnken said. When steps are being taken to improve the diversity of Iowa State’s faculty, the courses of action are very broad, Behnken said.

“It’s like everything and the kitchen sink is thrown in as far as, what is diversity, is concerned,” Behnken said. “When you do that, it waters down your efforts to actually do what you want to do.”