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Chafe addresses state of A&S

William Chafe, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences, addressed diversity issues and budgetary concerns at Thursday's Arts and Sciences Council meeting.

In his annual "state of Arts and Sciences" address, Chafe stressed the need to develop a broader definition of diversity. He said although racial diversity in the undergraduate population will not be significantly altered, the University is working to increase faculty diversity, student economic diversity and diversity in its course offerings.

"There has remained a tendency to think of Duke as a place of wealth, whiteness and privilege," he said. "We aim to change that."

Chafe noted faculty diversity has increased in recent years. The Black Faculty Strategic Initiative has increased African-American representation on the faculty from 12 percent to 36 percent. Last year, 16 out of the 30 new faculty positions were filled by women.

Nonetheless, he said faculty diversity is still lacking, and that the University must continue to seek new ways to attract women and minorities. He cited the recent arrival of two visiting female scientists from The Johns Hopkins University, who have come to Duke to advise on gender issues.

Chafe also sought a renewed commitment to economic diversity in the student body.

"We still need to be more energetic in recruiting students of less well-off backgrounds," he said, adding that he and Director of Undergraduate Admissions Christoph Guttentag recently recruited students at inner-city magnet schools in the Northeast as a part of this effort.

Curriculum diversity will likewise come under scrutiny, especially with next year's planned review of Curriculum 2000.

Chafe's speech also addressed Arts and Sciences' budget difficulties. Through "luck, skill and good management," the school managed to avoid last year's projected $1.5 million dollar deficit, but there is little relief in sight. A $3 million budget deficit was projected for 2003-2004, and Chafe said that deficit could be doubled or tripled in the years beyond.

"Clearly the crunch is not over," Chafe said, citing a poor economy and sluggish markets.

The consequences of those budgetary concerns are not entirely clear. While Chafe said the size of the faculty should remain about the same, financial considerations will cause the number of faculty searches to decrease from 42 last year to 32 this year.

The faculty may also seek to raise funds through unconventional means. Chafe said discussions are underway to slightly increase the number of undergraduates by about 50 students per class, creating $2 to 4 million in additional revenues. Summer school tuition revenues have also risen significantly, alleviating some of the budgetary woes.

Despite the bleak outlook, Chafe remains optimistic. "We are not paralyzed by these differences or prevented from moving forward boldly," he said, citing campus construction.

IN OTHER BUSINESS: The Council elected five new members to its six-person Executive Committee. Associate Professor of Art History Mark Antliff and Associate Professor of Germanic Language and Literature Ingeborg Walther were elected from the humanities, Professor of History John Richards was elected from the social sciences, and Professor of the Practice of Computer Science Owen Astrachan and Professor of the Practice of Statistics Dalene Stangl were elected from the natural sciences.

Professor Emeritus of History and Slavic Languages and Literature Warren Lerner has taken over as secretary of the Council.


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