Best-Laid Plans


When it comes to affirmative action. Harvard has always been good at counting. In 1972, when the University first decided to make a positive effort to increase the number of women and minorities on its faculty and staff, it counted the number then employed and calculated a hypothetical goal.

In 1976, the last time the President's Office issued a comprehensive report on the school's progress, administrators counted heads again. Thursday the University released its newest Affirmative Action Plan. Again the University has counted heads, but this time it appears Harvard has learned to divide.

The report, a 515-page monolith submitted to the Department of Labor, includes a statistical breakdown of the University's work force by gender and minority group, as well as a listing of each faculty's federally-mandated hiring goals.

"The important thing about this report is that the statistics are broken down much further than they have been in the past," Nancy P. Randolph, special assistant to President Bok for affirmative action, said yesterday.

"Goals and timetables used to be set by large groups. This time they were reported by job group, like nurses, secretaries or associate professors. That gives you a chance to know not only how many minorities are employed but where they are. You can make a specific effort to hire people in specific areas."


According to the report, women are most represented in secretarial and clerical positions, where they made up 86.3 per cent of the work force. Only 3.3 per cent of the University's tenured professors are women.

Minorities account for nearly 22 per cent of the service and maintenance workers, the statistic, show, but represent only 4.9 per cent of the University's tenured professors.

"This is a far more accurate picture of the situation than I've ever seen," Constance H. Buchanan, director of women's programs at the Divinity School and a member of the Executive Committee on Concerns of Women at Harvard and Radcliffe, said yesterday. But, she added, "What really matters is what the University does about what is accurately pictured here."