Latinx cluster hire proposed for “a return in terms of recruitment” along I-35 corridor


Brian Hayes

A Faculty Senate meeting held in October. The senate meets twice a month in Clinton Hall 126.

A proposed cluster hire of Latinx faculty was brought before the Faculty Senate Monday, with supporters citing a lack of representation for the Latinx community in the Wichita State student body, faculty, and staff.

Jean Griffith, interim chair of the English department, said the Latinx community is the “largest-growing population in the region.”

The cluster hire — faculty hired as a group — would affect several departments on campus, including psychology, English, and social work. The proposal also lays out plans to increase online education and Spanish-language instruction.

Wilson Baldridge, professor of French, said the cluster hire would not necessarily bring in revenue for the university.

The payoff, he said, would be recruitment.

“What we are hoping for is a return in terms of recruitment,” Baldridge said. “Through outreach, through what’s in Kansas and along the I-35 corridor.”

Baldridge nodded to Wichita State’s I-35 recruitment strategy, a move that has allowed residents of certain parts of Oklahoma, Texas, and Missouri to attend Wichita State and pay discounted in-state tuition.

Griffith said the cluster hire would double the number of Latinx faculty at Wichita State.

“Our numbers are really low,” Griffith said.

Baldridge said the proposal was a “bottom-up initiative, not a top-down initiative.”

He said the proposal was still a work in progress.

Griffith said the proposal does not have funding.

“The funding hasn’t been worked out yet,” Griffith said.