LECTURERS, vice chancellors and funding council officials are hiring researchers to find out why universities employ so few people from ethnic minorities as academic staff.
Research planned for this year will map the jobs filled by ethnic minority staff and assess their reasons for leaving. Sir Ron Dearing's committee found that ethnic minorities were significantly under-represented among higher education staff except at the most junior levels, and it recommended that institutions improve their recruitment and progression.
Joe Charlesworth, a senior policy officer with the Commission for Racial Equality and coordinator of the research project, said it was paradoxical that higher education has a healthy number of ethnic minority students but very few ethnic minority staff. In 1996 only 1.4 per cent of senior university staff were from ethnic minorities.
The Association of University Teachers, lecturers' union Natfhe, the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals and the English and Scottish funding councils are supporting the study, for which tenders have been invited. Research should begin in March, with results out in November.