Browse By Subject: 
News HomeResources for MediaFor Duke CommunitySign Up for NewsTrading PostAbout Us
Brodhead tells students: Duke education will transform youBrodhead tells students: Duke education will transform you

In his convocation address to first-year students, President Richard H. Brodhead urges students to be courageous in seeking out new learning opportunities

Duke's Black Faculty Initiative Reaches Goal Early

Duke has doubled number of black faculty members in nine years

By Geoffrey Mock

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Print This Page

Provost Peter Lange told the Academic Council Thursday that Duke's Black Faculty Strategic Initiative (BFSI) will meet its goal of doubling the number of black faculty members at Duke a year ahead of schedule.

The BFSI was implemented in 1993 with the main goal of doubling the number of black faculty members by 2003. It is the successor to Duke's original black faculty hiring plan, which was passed in 1988.

Lange added, however, the results are precarious and the continuing concerns of black faculty retention and of hiring more tenure-track faculty members must be addressed.

"Success in increasing our numbers of black faculty does not permit us to flag in our efforts," said a report Lange presented to the council. "Such success is never static; indeed it opens us up to increased 'raiding' by other schools. Moreover, climate issues remain to be addressed. Achievements are uneven across departments. And we still show too great an overall discrepancy between the tenured/tenure track ranks and the other regular ranks."

When the BFSI was started in 1993, Duke had 44 black faculty members (36 in the tenure track and eight in other ranks). In the current year, Duke has 88 black faculty members (58 in the tenure track and 30 in other ranks).

Particular progress has come in arts and sciences, medicine and even in smaller programs such as nursing, Pratt and Divinity. Law has two black faculty members, an increase of one from 1993. Fuqua has hired several black faculty members, but several recent departures means it has only one current black faculty member - the same as in 1993. The Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences has no black faculty members. The report noted there are few blacks earning Ph.D.s in environmental studies.

"Continued strong efforts are called for" in these schools, the report said.

The BFSI also targeted increasing black student enrollment, particularly in the graduate and professional schools. One consequence of greater minority enrollment is enhancing "the pipeline" of black Ph.D. recipients.

The report noted progress on several fronts, particularly in the Graduate School, where Assistant Dean Jacqueline Looney has established an innovative outreach program that is attracting top minority candidates.

The class entering the Graduate School this year included 89 U.S. minority students (14.1 percent), of whom 29 are African American. Both numbers represent a large increase over the previous year's entering class.

Over the past two years, Duke has awarded Ph.D.s to 27 African-American students, by far the highest two-year total in Duke history.

Lange said with the coming conclusion of the BFSI, the university will begin to look at ways to build upon the successes of the past decade. The report emphasized that these efforts are not mere statistical exercises, but are essential parts of Duke's effort to remain a leading research institution and to prepare students for a changing world.

"Significant changes have occurred in the racial and ethnic demographics in the United States and in our own region," the report said. "These changes themselves suggest both challenges and opportunities for recruitment, retention and curricular initiatives so that we are well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities that a broadly diverse community offers.

"Ultimately ' our goals are to draw the best faculty to Duke, along with the best students; to create an environment that engages, and hence retains, these talented teachers and researchers; and to ensure that our education prepares our students for life in a diverse society."

For more information, contact: Geoffrey Mock | (919) 681-4514 |