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University Diversity Programs Still Poor, Say B-School Deans


More than half of U.S. business school deans — 53 percent — say their university’s faculty diversity program is inadequate, according to a recent survey commissioned by The PhD Project.

Fifty-two percent of business school deans also say they are not yet preparing all students to handle issues of diversity in the corporate world. Nearly six in 10 deans say students who have had a minority business professor or doctoral teaching assistant are better prepared for a career in business.

At universities with campuswide diversity initiatives, 40 percent of the deans say those initiatives were doing enough to ensure a diverse business faculty while 31 percent said the program was inadequate. One in four deans worked at institutions that lacked campuswide diversity initiatives.

“The PhD Project’s goal is to diversify the front of the classroom as a means to better prepare students for a diverse work environment,” says Bernard J. Milano, president of the KPMG Foundation and founder of project. Clearly, he added, the survey reveals how much more needs to be done to ensure a diverse faculty.

In other findings, the majority of deans said minority instructors and teaching assistants had a greater impact than non-minority instructors and teaching assistants on career mentoring for minority students (73 percent); attracting minority students (62 percent) and the education of minority students (60 percent).

On average, doctoral-granting institutions have almost 3 percent minority doctoral students functioning as teaching assistants, according to the report. And only 34 percent of the deans surveyed said that they have seen an increase in the pool of minority applicants at their university.

More than two-thirds of the respondents also said the corporate world is more aggressive today in recruiting minorities compared to 10 years ago.

Asked to list factors responsible for corporate America’s increased minority recruitment efforts, deans cited market demands for a diverse work force, changing demographics, legal issues and government pressure, among others. They also pointed to “the realization that we are in a global, diverse business environment that affects businesses of all sizes,” according to the report.

The deans also warned that “major corporations will not recruit at schools lacking a diverse student body” and suggested “more partnerships with HBCUs and more support for minority student activities.”

A copy of the full report is available at The Bernard Hodes Group conducted the survey of deans at 80 U.S. business schools, out of which 41 percent were from doctoral-granting schools.

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