I was digging through the NCES IPEDS database of virtually all bachelor's degree recipients in the U.S., examining demographic trends in the philosophy major (article forthcoming soon in The Philosophers' Magazine). It occurred to me to wonder which philosophy programs in the U.S. had the most racially or ethnically diverse undergraduate student bodies.
So I gathered all of the race/ethnicity data from IPEDS from 2010-2011 through 2018-2019 (the most recent available year), both for the university overall and for the philosophy major. I considered all universities that awarded at least 10 bachelor's degrees in philosophy per year (90 students total over the nine-year period; included students only). Students were included if IPEDS had recorded race/ethnicity data fitting the five most widely recognized racial/ethnic categories in the U.S.: American Indian / Native Alaskan, Asian / Pacific Islander, Black, White, or Hispanic (any race). Excluded from the count are non-resident aliens, students with race/ethnicity unknown, and non-Hispanic multi-racial students (the last excluded due to uneven reporting). In all, 235 schools qualified.
I then assumed an ideal of 20% in each of these five categories. Of course, few universities will have 20% American Indian / Alaska Native! (Non-Hispanic AIAN are currently about 0.9% of the U.S. population.) In fact, among the included schools, none had more than 5% American Indian / Alaskan Native. Still, the aim of the measure is to compare with an ideal which might not closely reflect reality, and I didn't want to fuss around with fine-tuning the measure in dubious ways. A graduating philosophy class with 20% American Indian / Alaska Native, 20% Asian / Pacific Islander, 20% Black, 20% White, and 20% Hispanic (any race) would be an impressively diverse class in a U.S. context, so I'm comfortable with that as a standard. (Another possible standard might be match to U.S. population percentages, but it would be odd to have a diversity measure that treated a school with 5% AIAN as "less diverse" than one with 0.9% AIAN.)
My actual numerical measure, then, was just the simple, stupid, obvious sum of the squares of the differences between each school's percentage of philosophy graduates in each of the five racial/ethnic categories and 20%. How far is each school from this somewhat arbitrary ideal of having 20% in each category?
Drum roll, please....
Here's the top ten as a picture, because that's good for social media:
Hey, UC Riverside is #3. Go, team!
Strikingly, the top twenty positions are dominated by Cal State schools (8 spots), CUNY schools (5 spots), and University of California schools (4 spots). Only three of the top twenty schools (Houston, Amherst, and Florida Atlantic) are not schools from one of those three large public university systems.
For perspective, the graduates of #1 ranked school, CUNY John Jay, are 0% American Indian / Alaska Native, 8% Asian / Pacific Islander, 30% Black, 29% White, and 34% Hispanic (any race).
Of course, most of the top ranked schools on the list above have very diverse overall student bodies. When I apply the same 20-20-20-20-20 measure to student bodies as a whole, the most diverse schools are:
2. University of Houston
3. CUNY Hunter College
4. CUNY Brooklyn College
5. CUNY Bernard M Baruch College
6. San Francisco State University
7. St John's University-New York
8. CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice
9. California State University-Long Beach
10. CUNY Queens College
11. San Jose State University
12. California State University-Sacramento
13. University of Illinois at Chicago
14. Georgia State University
15. California State Polytechnic University-Pomona
16. University of California-Riverside
17. California State University-Fullerton
18. University of California-Los Angeles
19. Stanford University
20. University of San Francisco
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? I've done it as a simple subtraction of the previous two measures. Fifty-two schools (23%) have more diverse philosophy students than their student body overall:
2. Bucknell University
3. Villanova University
4. Hamilton College
5. Bates College
6. Illinois State University
7. Calvin University
8. College of the Holy Cross
9. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
10. University of San Diego
11. California State University-Los Angeles
12. Miami University-Oxford
13. University of Toledo
14. Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
15. East Carolina University
16. Gettysburg College
17. Creighton University
18. Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
19. West Virginia University
20. Brigham Young University-Provo
For perspective, the overall graduates of #1 ranked school, Trinity College, are 0% American Indian / Alaska Native, 6% Asian / Pacific Islander, 7% Black, 79% White, and 9% Hispanic (any race); while their philosophy graduates are 0% American Indian / Alaska Native, 4% Asian / Pacific Islander, 12% Black, 68% White, and 15% Hispanic (any race).
Since typically the philosophy major is less racially/ethnically diverse than the student body as a whole, it could be interesting to see what practices these schools employ that might be responsible for having reversed that general trend.
Updates, May 25
1. Since most of the top 20 schools on the first list are public, some readers were curious whether public schools are in general more diverse than private schools. I ran the numbers today and actually did not find a statistically detectable effect overall. The mean diversity score was 0.42 for the public schools, 0.40 for the private schools (t = 1.0, p = .30). Eyeballing, the explanation seems to be that public schools might be disproportionately among the most diverse and the least diverse (by this measure), depending on the diversity of their locale, while private schools cluster more near the middle.
2. Another reader asked about Historically Black Colleges and Universities. None qualified for the list above, because none met the cutoff number of philosophy major completions (90 in the past ten years). The three HBCUs with the most philosophy graduates were Morehouse (67), Morgan State (41), and Howard (40) (not including a few multiracial, race/eth unknown, and non-resident students, for comparability with the methods above).
3. Pertinent to 2, IPEDS similarly has a "tribal colleges" category including 34 schools (as of 2018-2019). IPEDS, strikingly, lists no bachelor's degree recipients in category 38.01 ("Philosophy") for any of these schools. However, most of these colleges award few bachelor's degrees. The largest, Haskell Indian Nations University, awarded only 755 bachelor's degrees total over the nine year period. Schools of that size will typically lack the enrollments needed to sustain a philosophy major.
4. Various readers suggested alternative measures of diversity, especially measures more sensitive to differences in local context. I support that. I don't mean to suggest that this is the only or best measure of racial diversity. It's simply a convenient and straightforward measure that I hope captures something useful.
 University of Washington, Bothell, is also excluded since it seems to have erroneous or at least unrepresentative data. The category "two or more races" would have been nice to include, but NCES appears to have measured it inconsistently over the period, with demographically implausible sharp increases in this category. Furthermore, elite schools appear to have been faster than nonelite schools to classify their students in that category once NCES opened it. "Nonresident alien" is also potentially an interesting category from the perspective of diversity, though this category also tends to favor elite schools that draw foreign students. If these two categories are added to the measure and the target proportions are reduced to 1/7 per group, the top ten most diverse philosophy majors are: