Faculty diversity increases

Judith Ruderman, vice provost for academic and administrative services, presented the final report of the Black Faculty Strategic Initiative to the Academic Council Thursday.

Speaking on behalf of Provost Peter Lange, Ruderman said the University had met the charge of the initiative, started in 1993, which called for "at least a doubling of black faculty in a decade's time." "We have fulfilled the spirit of that plan by reaching a total of 99 black faculty as of Fall 2003, an increase of 125 percent over the 1993 number of 44," Ruderman said. Overall, four percent of Duke's regular rank faculty are African-American.

Ruderman noted that the numbers had increased more than 89 percent among "tenure track" faculty members, which had led to an increase of 140 percent of tenured African-American full professors at Duke. The most significant gains have come in "other regular rank" faculty members, an increase from eight in 1993 to 31 by 2003. She noted that the increase had radically shifted the ratio of "tenure-track" and "other regular rank" African-American faculty, though she noted that this number corresponds to faculty-wide trends.

Based on statistics accrued between 1983 and 2000, Ruderman said junior African-American faculty members left Duke at a higher rate than non-African-American faculty--43.8 percent compared to 23.3 percent. She said that while this was a significantly higher rate, those faculty members that remained to apply for tenure were accepted at "a slightly higher rate" than non-African-American faculty.

Ruderman said that the University has taken steps to improve retention, and by using new methods, would be better able to determine why faculty members elect to go to other institutions.

"Recent focus groups with black faculty... and our participation in a national survey of junior faculty suggests that we are improving in this regard," she said. "The provost will be instituting University-wide exit interviews and most probably a climate study to take a firmer pulse of our community on this particular issue."

On an individual school level, Ruderman noted varying degrees of success. She strongly praised some schools, including Arts and Sciences and the School of Medicine, while acknowledging the smaller schools--notably the Nicholas School of the Environment, which currently has no African-American faculty members--have had less success hiring African- Americans. Ruderman said that this was largely due to these schools having a "small pool of applicants" from which to select.


Professor Paul Haagen, vice-chair of the council, led preliminary discussion about an amendment to the council's by-laws which would allow Chair Nancy Allen to retain her position, which is scheduled to end in June 2004, for another year. Representing the executive committee, Haagen said because of the great number of administrative changes that will occur in 2004, it would be beneficial for the council to maintain continuity in leadership.

"This would be the first time since the creation of the Academic Council that there was a changeover in the presidency and the council chair at the same time," he said. "It is the point of view of [the executive committee] that in terms of faculty governance, this is not an optimal situation."

The council unanimously passed a resolution supporting the University-wide Faculty Diversity Plan announced by Lange Sept. 25. The new initiative is based on information gathered from the Provost's Faculty Diversity Task Force and the Women's Faculty Development Task Force, both of which presented their reports in May 2003.

Haagen also presented a report on the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics, a cross-institutional body created to address how athletics can best co-exist with other university priorities. He said that he saw the council having a greater role in advocating for a relationship between academics and athletics.


Share and discuss “Faculty diversity increases” on social media.