The Fuqua School of Business ranks third among the nation's top 25 business schools in percentage of black students, according to a recent survey in The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education.
Seven percent of Fuqua's students are black, placing it behind Indiana University and The Ohio State University. However, Duke's business school fared worse in faculty numbers, since it has only one black faculty member.
"I'm thrilled with the news," said Doug Breeden, dean of the business school. "I knew that we were one of the top, but we are not content to remain where we are."
The survey found that business schools, where black student enrollment fell 7.8 percent since 1999, have made less progress in recruiting black students and faculty than law and medical schools.
"Blacks continue to show only snail-like progress in business school enrollments," the article read. "[Law and medical schools] have been active in recent years in enrolling black students. But business schools in America have been major laggards."
The University of Texas, where only seven black students are enrolled, placed last in the survey. Black enrollment at the school has dropped by more than one-third since a 1996 state court decision prohibited race as a consideration in admissions.
Breeden said Fuqua has a strong black student community, but needs to focus more on hiring black faculty. One of the school's strategies for increasing black faculty is to produce more black doctorate students.
Lehman Benson, a visiting associate professor at Fuqua, was not included in the survey's faculty count because he is not a regular-rank professor, but he said the decreasing number of black students at top business schools concerned him because it would decrease the number of potential black faculty members.
"The number is disturbing because the faculty pool is getting even smaller as the student pool is getting smaller," Benson said. "It's a cycle."
He added that Fuqua has a positive racial climate and that the Office of Institutional Equity had been a helpful resource. However, the school faces faculty hiring challenges both because of its current small pool of black faculty and because Duke lacks an urban environment.
Breeden emphasized that numbers do not by themselves ensure true diversity.
"I think the [environment] for black students is quite supportive," Breeden said.
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"When you walk through our hallways, you see faculty, staff and students of all colors. I think it is encouraging."
The journal last week announced that Duke ranked tops for black diversity among the top 28 universities in the nation. Provost Peter Lange attributed much of Duke's success to the Black Faculty Strategic Initiative. A task force led by former Fuqua dean Rex Adams is meeting for the first time this week to determine where the initiative will go in the next decade.