Some heartening news courtesy of philosopher Eric Schwitzgebel, Professor of Philosophy at University of California-Riverside. He recently posted data on his blog about the most racially diverse philosophy departments by majors in the U.S.: CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice and CUNY City College come in at numbers one and two on that list.
Of more local interest to us at Bucknell was an additional data point that he uncovered, measuring the relative diversity of philosophy majors to the overall diversity of the school. He asks, “How about measuring the difference between the diversity of the student body as a whole and the diversity of the philosophy department? What schools draw relatively diverse philosophy students from relatively less diverse overall student bodies?”
Schwitzgebel found that only fifty-two schools (23%) have more diverse philosophy students than their student body overall. Trinity College ranks number one, but Bucknell comes in second (!), ahead of Villanova University, Hamilton College, and Bates College, who round out the top five.
While the news is certainly welcome, there is more to be done to improve on issues of diversity and inclusion in the department. The statistic measures relative diversity, so while it remains a step in the right direction, we must still improve in absolute terms — both among our students and the faculty in the longer term. We will continue to provide a welcoming space for students of color in the department and offer courses that showcase a diverse range of philosophical authors and traditions.