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Harvard Still Short Of Diversity Goals

News Feature

By Alex B. Livingston and Anna D. Wilde

As the University winds up a plan launched in 1988 to promote diversity in its faculty and staff, officials express disappointment about their progress.

According to the 1993 report, the University today has still not achieved many of the goals it set in 1988 at the beginning of the five-year plan.

And officials say it's difficult to explain why Harvard seems to repeatedly fall short in competing with other schools for top minority and women scholars. "I don't know why our performance is as it is," says James S. Hoyte '65, assistant to the president and associate vice president for affirmative action. "Harvard ought to be in the forefront."

Though Harvard has been ranked first in academic excellence in national rankings and touts the diversity of its student body, its performance in hiring minority and female faculty and scholars, measured against 18 comparable institutions, has been only average. "We're probably more like the middle of the pack on the minority front, and I'd say probably a little better on the women front," says Hoyte of Harvard's ranking in tenured faculty.

For non-tenured faculty, Harvard is "about the mean" in its representation of women, and for minority professors, the University ranks "kind of low," he says.

Though the University sets aggressive affirmative action goals, officials say the policy may not have teeth.

Officials say they cannot enforce hiring goals at Harvard's schools. In fact, there is no institutionalized mechanism to hold schools accountable on the issue of diversity in faculty hiring.

"I don't think any affirmative action offices, wherever they may lie, have enforcement capabilities," Hoyte says.

"I believe that the power of persuasion, and an ability to be helpful and supportive where appropriate, as well as an ability to jawbone if necessary," are the methods such offices use, he says.

Faculty hiring initiatives come from individual schools and within the schools, departmental faculty search committees. Hoyte, Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles and even President Neil L. Rudenstine cannot force any faculty committee to meet the University's goals.

And Da 'aga C. Hill, director of the affirmative action program, says despite the federal government's interest in Harvard's affirmative action efforts, the University is also not strictly accountable to the government for fulfilling its goals, which she distinguishes from enforced quotas.

"Quotas are generally court-imposed because [an organization] has been found to be discriminating," she says. "Goals are voluntary efforts to reach certain targets by certain dates."

Hoyte says he doesn't think the lack of a central authority over Harvard's affirmative action efforts is a problem. The nature of Harvard's administrative system makes it impossible and undesirable for any central authority to have such power over faculty hiring decisions, he says.

Up to the Schools

The importance of individual schools' programs then comes to the forefront as the crucible for progress. While Hoyte says he would not support quotas imposed from above by the administration on the schools, he suggests a system of financial rewards for departments that exceed the goals could be one option.

Hoyte has also suggests a number of other possible faculty hiring initiatives, including post-doctoral fellowships for qualified candidates and a strong program of visiting professorships for women and minority scholars.

"I think we should find ways to reward those offices and those units that have done a good job in furthering those goals," he says.

According to this year's report, Harvard schools vary dramatically, both in their progress toward the faculty hiring goals and their strategies toward implementing those goals.

"I think it would defy logic not to find there to be some variance in commitments," says Hoyte. "My sense is the overwhelming majority are very committed to having a more diverse faculty.

And some say this commitment has been hardened in recent years because of vigorous student campaigns to increase faculty diversity.

After several years of protests, which culminated in the occupation of University Hall in 1990, the University tenured DuBois Professor of the Humanities and Afro-American Studies Department Chair Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Professor of Afro-American Studies K. Anthony Appiah.

Hoyte acknowledges the role of students in the University's affirmative action efforts. "One way [of forcing action] certainly has to do with public pressure, embarrassment if you will," says Hoyte.

This year the College has seen the creation of a Coalition for Diversity, composed of undergraduates pressing for more minority faculty, while the Law and Kennedy Schools last year saw a series of protests on the issue.

The Law School was earlier sued by students because of the dearth of minorities and women in its faculty, and Weld Professor of Law Derrick A. Bell resigned over the faculty's failure to hire a woman of color to a tenured post.

A Success Story

Over the period of the five-year plan, which was extended to six years to include 1993 because of Hoyte's recent arrival, only one school at the University--the School of Public Health--has met its goals to increase diversity among faculty according to the University Affirmative Action Plan.

Though Hoyte says the University must fulfill these aims before going further, other say the goals should not be the limit of Harvard's ambitions in this area.

"Certainly ten percent is not the kind of goal we should be happy with," says Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences for Academic Planning Joseph J. McCarthy.

Ann R. Oliver, associate dean for academic affairs at the School of Public Health, says her school is able to hire significant percentages of minority and women faculty members because their faculty searches include extensive research into the availability of women and minorities.

"The chair of each search committee talks to people in that specific field to identify eligible minorities and women," she says.

Oliver credits the school's post-doctoral fellowship program, which brings minority fellows to the campus to work with senior Harvard professors, for helping the school and the candidates become familiar with one another.

"The program is mainly Black Ph.D's and doctors," she says, and many are eventually offered positions at Harvard.

While the School of Public Health has achieved its original faculty hiring goals, the other nine schools of the University cannot so easily be tagged as successes or failures in their diversification efforts.

Mixed Results at Other Schools

Levels of progress vary across a spectrum, from the School of Public Health to others which have achieved in some areas and failed in others.

Officials in the schools attribute their shortfalls to many factors, which vary from school to school. One problem for some is the difficulty of increasing the number of total tenured faculty, which some administrators say are likely to remain constant in size for their schools.

The Business School, which was able to meet its goals for all faculty posts except tenured positions, will likely not meet goals for tenured faculty within the coming year for that reason, according to Robert H. Hayes, the school's administrative dean.

"We may not achieve our goals in the time frame," he said. The school, which reports eight tenured minorities and five tenured women, needs to tenure one minority and ten women to meet its goals.

Hayes estimates three to four positions are opened up each year, most through retirement of professors. At this rate of hiring, it would take three or four more years to reach the goals set five years ago.

Another alternative, to increase the size of the tenured faculty, is not under consideration, Hayes says.

"The pressure is to hold the current level," he says. "Ninety tenured professors represent about 60 percent of the faculty. As some things in business become more important a larger percentage of tenured faculty robs the school of its flexibility."

The problem is likely to increase, officials in some schools say, due to the upcoming implementation of a Federal law banning forced retirement of tenured professors.

"It worries me, because you don't have to be a rocket scientist to see this means there will be fewer retirements.. and this is going to diminish the number of appointments of people of color and women," says McCarthy.

University officials also point to the small pool of qualified minority and female candidates in many fields. Although the affirmative action goals reflect the availability of possible professors, the recruitment of stellar candidates is often highly competitive and sometimes unsuccessful, they say.

"The problem is there aren't many highly qualified minorities in the pipeline," says Professor of Oral Diagnosis Joseph L. Henry, associate dean of the School of Dental Health.

Hayes says the goals of the Business School have been frustrated because highly qualified candidates are often attracted by lucrative salaries in the private sector.

"The kind of people we are looking for have lots of other alternatives," Hayes says. "We find it difficult to draw Black graduates who are offered double salaries and more exciting jobs than working with some old codger."

Hayes also says fewer Blacks have been pursuing doctoral programs in recent years.

"If the trend reverses," Hayes says, "the rising tide will lift us along with the other ships."

"Harvard has to keep the pressure on identifying and attracting the best people who are out there," says McCarthy. But "when they come here, they will leave someplace else...We need to diversify the academy overall."

But officials from the schools contacted say they are making efforts to combat these difficulties and to draw qualified candidates to pursue careers in academia, especially at Harvard.

The "pool problem" should not be used as an excuse for inaction, says Timothy D. Cross, associate dean for finance and administration at the Divinity School.

"I think that's an explanation that has gotten overused historically," says Cross. "People have often said, 'there just aren't enough candidates.' I don't think any of us at Harvard accept that any more."

To combat the pool difficulty, Cross says the Divinity School "does a significant outreach to a wide variety of colleagues" in all faculty searches.

Hayes says the Business School has attempted to increase the poor of candidates by encouraging minorities to apply for admission to the Business School. There is a growing group of minority alumni, Hayes says, which helps to identify colleagues for the school's faculty.

"Mostly they know each other," Hayes says. "It's rare that you hire someone who wasn't identified by a colleague."

And in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, though McCarthy says the pool problem faces officials there as well, all search committees must report efforts to recruit minority and women candidates for professorships.

"The Graduate School [of Arts and Sciences] does work on this very hard," he says, "but to say that is not enough."

Rudenstine's Plans

Rudenstine and Hoyte, both relative newcomers to Harvard, say the administration is working on a number of new initiatives, but how their efforts will differ from their predecessors' still remains unclear.

Rudenstine and Hoyte say they will announce initiatives later this month which will shape Harvard's policy on the issue in the upcoming years. The last five-year plan, new a six-year plan, has not met the goals originally set.

The possibilities mentioned by Hoyte in a recent speech include visiting professorships for minority and women candidates, post-doctoral fellowships like those offered in the School of Public Health, and the possible system of incentives for successful offices.

Cross points to the recent efforts to coordinate searches through different schools. On the search for new faculty member Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, who will teach in both the Divinity School and the FAS, he says "the two faculties cooperated and collaborated."

Hoyte says the upcoming capital campaign might also impact the issue. "I've said to President Rudenstine that I think it's very important that the capital campaign include as a significant theme the University's commitment to diversity," he says.

Past efforts masterminded by former President Derek C. Bok and Hoyte's predecessor Ronald Quincy have apparently failed. Bok and Quincy wanted to match minority and women faculty percentages at Harvard with those of their corresponding fields in the general work force.

According to last year's report, Harvard ranked 17th in percentage and 12th in total number of female tenured faculty out of 18 participating selective higher education institutions, including all the Ivies.

Until Rudenstine's new affirmative action plans are announced later this month, officials and activists both wait for the new ideas they have been promised.

"This sounds like a cop-out, to say it's a systemic problem, but it is," says McCarthy. "There's got to be something done."

Harvard's affirmative action efforts have failed to meet what some consider already modest goals, according to the University's report on affirmative action. Later this month, President Neil L. Rudenstine will present a long-term plan to improve the recruitment of minorities and women. Meanwhile it appears that, next to comparable institutions, Harvard is...

"I don't know why our performance is as it is. Harvard ought to be in the forefront." James S. Hoyte '65 assistant to the president and associate vice president for affirmative action.

Faculty Appointments Needed to Meet University GoalsSchool  Women  MinoritiesFAS  28  2B-School  10  1Dental Medicine  4  1Design School  5  1Divinity School  2  0School of Education  7  4Kennedy School  5  2Law School  2  0Medical School  508  706School of Public Health  0  

Faculty hiring initiatives come from individual schools and within the schools, departmental faculty search committees. Hoyte, Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles and even President Neil L. Rudenstine cannot force any faculty committee to meet the University's goals.

And Da 'aga C. Hill, director of the affirmative action program, says despite the federal government's interest in Harvard's affirmative action efforts, the University is also not strictly accountable to the government for fulfilling its goals, which she distinguishes from enforced quotas.

"Quotas are generally court-imposed because [an organization] has been found to be discriminating," she says. "Goals are voluntary efforts to reach certain targets by certain dates."

Hoyte says he doesn't think the lack of a central authority over Harvard's affirmative action efforts is a problem. The nature of Harvard's administrative system makes it impossible and undesirable for any central authority to have such power over faculty hiring decisions, he says.

Up to the Schools

The importance of individual schools' programs then comes to the forefront as the crucible for progress. While Hoyte says he would not support quotas imposed from above by the administration on the schools, he suggests a system of financial rewards for departments that exceed the goals could be one option.

Hoyte has also suggests a number of other possible faculty hiring initiatives, including post-doctoral fellowships for qualified candidates and a strong program of visiting professorships for women and minority scholars.

"I think we should find ways to reward those offices and those units that have done a good job in furthering those goals," he says.

According to this year's report, Harvard schools vary dramatically, both in their progress toward the faculty hiring goals and their strategies toward implementing those goals.

"I think it would defy logic not to find there to be some variance in commitments," says Hoyte. "My sense is the overwhelming majority are very committed to having a more diverse faculty.

And some say this commitment has been hardened in recent years because of vigorous student campaigns to increase faculty diversity.

After several years of protests, which culminated in the occupation of University Hall in 1990, the University tenured DuBois Professor of the Humanities and Afro-American Studies Department Chair Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Professor of Afro-American Studies K. Anthony Appiah.

Hoyte acknowledges the role of students in the University's affirmative action efforts. "One way [of forcing action] certainly has to do with public pressure, embarrassment if you will," says Hoyte.

This year the College has seen the creation of a Coalition for Diversity, composed of undergraduates pressing for more minority faculty, while the Law and Kennedy Schools last year saw a series of protests on the issue.

The Law School was earlier sued by students because of the dearth of minorities and women in its faculty, and Weld Professor of Law Derrick A. Bell resigned over the faculty's failure to hire a woman of color to a tenured post.

A Success Story

Over the period of the five-year plan, which was extended to six years to include 1993 because of Hoyte's recent arrival, only one school at the University--the School of Public Health--has met its goals to increase diversity among faculty according to the University Affirmative Action Plan.

Though Hoyte says the University must fulfill these aims before going further, other say the goals should not be the limit of Harvard's ambitions in this area.

"Certainly ten percent is not the kind of goal we should be happy with," says Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences for Academic Planning Joseph J. McCarthy.

Ann R. Oliver, associate dean for academic affairs at the School of Public Health, says her school is able to hire significant percentages of minority and women faculty members because their faculty searches include extensive research into the availability of women and minorities.

"The chair of each search committee talks to people in that specific field to identify eligible minorities and women," she says.

Oliver credits the school's post-doctoral fellowship program, which brings minority fellows to the campus to work with senior Harvard professors, for helping the school and the candidates become familiar with one another.

"The program is mainly Black Ph.D's and doctors," she says, and many are eventually offered positions at Harvard.

While the School of Public Health has achieved its original faculty hiring goals, the other nine schools of the University cannot so easily be tagged as successes or failures in their diversification efforts.

Mixed Results at Other Schools

Levels of progress vary across a spectrum, from the School of Public Health to others which have achieved in some areas and failed in others.

Officials in the schools attribute their shortfalls to many factors, which vary from school to school. One problem for some is the difficulty of increasing the number of total tenured faculty, which some administrators say are likely to remain constant in size for their schools.

The Business School, which was able to meet its goals for all faculty posts except tenured positions, will likely not meet goals for tenured faculty within the coming year for that reason, according to Robert H. Hayes, the school's administrative dean.

"We may not achieve our goals in the time frame," he said. The school, which reports eight tenured minorities and five tenured women, needs to tenure one minority and ten women to meet its goals.

Hayes estimates three to four positions are opened up each year, most through retirement of professors. At this rate of hiring, it would take three or four more years to reach the goals set five years ago.

Another alternative, to increase the size of the tenured faculty, is not under consideration, Hayes says.

"The pressure is to hold the current level," he says. "Ninety tenured professors represent about 60 percent of the faculty. As some things in business become more important a larger percentage of tenured faculty robs the school of its flexibility."

The problem is likely to increase, officials in some schools say, due to the upcoming implementation of a Federal law banning forced retirement of tenured professors.

"It worries me, because you don't have to be a rocket scientist to see this means there will be fewer retirements.. and this is going to diminish the number of appointments of people of color and women," says McCarthy.

University officials also point to the small pool of qualified minority and female candidates in many fields. Although the affirmative action goals reflect the availability of possible professors, the recruitment of stellar candidates is often highly competitive and sometimes unsuccessful, they say.

"The problem is there aren't many highly qualified minorities in the pipeline," says Professor of Oral Diagnosis Joseph L. Henry, associate dean of the School of Dental Health.

Hayes says the goals of the Business School have been frustrated because highly qualified candidates are often attracted by lucrative salaries in the private sector.

"The kind of people we are looking for have lots of other alternatives," Hayes says. "We find it difficult to draw Black graduates who are offered double salaries and more exciting jobs than working with some old codger."

Hayes also says fewer Blacks have been pursuing doctoral programs in recent years.

"If the trend reverses," Hayes says, "the rising tide will lift us along with the other ships."

"Harvard has to keep the pressure on identifying and attracting the best people who are out there," says McCarthy. But "when they come here, they will leave someplace else...We need to diversify the academy overall."

But officials from the schools contacted say they are making efforts to combat these difficulties and to draw qualified candidates to pursue careers in academia, especially at Harvard.

The "pool problem" should not be used as an excuse for inaction, says Timothy D. Cross, associate dean for finance and administration at the Divinity School.

"I think that's an explanation that has gotten overused historically," says Cross. "People have often said, 'there just aren't enough candidates.' I don't think any of us at Harvard accept that any more."

To combat the pool difficulty, Cross says the Divinity School "does a significant outreach to a wide variety of colleagues" in all faculty searches.

Hayes says the Business School has attempted to increase the poor of candidates by encouraging minorities to apply for admission to the Business School. There is a growing group of minority alumni, Hayes says, which helps to identify colleagues for the school's faculty.

"Mostly they know each other," Hayes says. "It's rare that you hire someone who wasn't identified by a colleague."

And in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, though McCarthy says the pool problem faces officials there as well, all search committees must report efforts to recruit minority and women candidates for professorships.

"The Graduate School [of Arts and Sciences] does work on this very hard," he says, "but to say that is not enough."

Rudenstine's Plans

Rudenstine and Hoyte, both relative newcomers to Harvard, say the administration is working on a number of new initiatives, but how their efforts will differ from their predecessors' still remains unclear.

Rudenstine and Hoyte say they will announce initiatives later this month which will shape Harvard's policy on the issue in the upcoming years. The last five-year plan, new a six-year plan, has not met the goals originally set.

The possibilities mentioned by Hoyte in a recent speech include visiting professorships for minority and women candidates, post-doctoral fellowships like those offered in the School of Public Health, and the possible system of incentives for successful offices.

Cross points to the recent efforts to coordinate searches through different schools. On the search for new faculty member Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, who will teach in both the Divinity School and the FAS, he says "the two faculties cooperated and collaborated."

Hoyte says the upcoming capital campaign might also impact the issue. "I've said to President Rudenstine that I think it's very important that the capital campaign include as a significant theme the University's commitment to diversity," he says.

Past efforts masterminded by former President Derek C. Bok and Hoyte's predecessor Ronald Quincy have apparently failed. Bok and Quincy wanted to match minority and women faculty percentages at Harvard with those of their corresponding fields in the general work force.

According to last year's report, Harvard ranked 17th in percentage and 12th in total number of female tenured faculty out of 18 participating selective higher education institutions, including all the Ivies.

Until Rudenstine's new affirmative action plans are announced later this month, officials and activists both wait for the new ideas they have been promised.

"This sounds like a cop-out, to say it's a systemic problem, but it is," says McCarthy. "There's got to be something done."

Harvard's affirmative action efforts have failed to meet what some consider already modest goals, according to the University's report on affirmative action. Later this month, President Neil L. Rudenstine will present a long-term plan to improve the recruitment of minorities and women. Meanwhile it appears that, next to comparable institutions, Harvard is...

"I don't know why our performance is as it is. Harvard ought to be in the forefront." James S. Hoyte '65 assistant to the president and associate vice president for affirmative action.

Faculty Appointments Needed to Meet University GoalsSchool  Women  MinoritiesFAS  28  2B-School  10  1Dental Medicine  4  1Design School  5  1Divinity School  2  0School of Education  7  4Kennedy School  5  2Law School  2  0Medical School  508  706School of Public Health  0  

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