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Lange to release report on diversity later this spring

Provost Peter Lange said last week that an expected report on the next step for looking at faculty diversity will be released at April or May's Academic Council meeting.

Lange reported last November that the University had reached its previous goal regarding faculty diversity--the Black Faculty Strategic Initiative--ahead of schedule, having doubled the number of black faculty from 44 to 88. That effort, begun 10 years ago, followed several similar, although less successful attempts at increasing diversity. Black faculty currently comprise 3.7 percent of the overall faculty.

Members of the task force charged with developing the BFSI's successor were set to complete their recommendations to Lange March 15. They said the report will focus on three aims: recruiting superior minority faculty members, retaining those faculty members already at Duke, and encouraging minority students to enter less popular academic disciplines.

The Task Force on Faculty Diversity was established last fall and is being chaired by Rex Adams, former dean of the Fuqua School of Business.

The next step will most likely include recommendations for increasing the number of black faculty in schools and fields that traditionally have been less diverse, like the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences or the Fuqua School of Business.

It will also address the ongoing question of climate at Duke. In 2001, William Hart, a newly tenured associate professor in religion, chose to leave the University for the University of North Carolina at Greensboro--in large part, he said, because of the climate for minorities at Duke.

Although the report will focus specifically on black faculty, task force members hoped the University would look at other minorities and women in the future--the Academic Council debated a statement earlier this spring that reported only 30 percent of tenured professors at Duke are women and that the number has remained stagnant for the past decade. The report, presented by President Nan Keohane, was part of a report commissioned by the Women's Initiative, a wide-sweeping look at the position of and the challenges for women at Duke, including students, faculty and employees.

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