In the past, Duke University has been a leader in efforts to increase the diversity of its faculty. The Black Faculty Strategic Initiative (BFSI) set a goal of doubling the number of Black faculty at Duke over the ten-year span from 1993-2003. Supported by funds from the Office of the Provost, the BFSI was a notable success, reaching its goal in 2002, a full year before the initiative was set to expire.
But since that time, progress has slowed. In 2014, the Academic Council of Duke University created a Diversity Task Force. This year the task force focused on faculty diversity and recently released its final report. The report finds that Blacks make up 4.4 percent of the university’s faculty, up from 3.8 percent a decade ago.
This is indeed progress. But JBHE notes that at this rate of increase it would take a century for the university to reach a point where the percentage of Black faculty equaled the Black percentage of the U.S. population.
In order to regain momentum in efforts to add more Blacks and other minorities to the faculty, the task force made the following recommendations:
- That University leaders exhibit a visible commitment to, and adopt an official position statement regarding, diversity and inclusion;
- Structural and functional changes to provide effective resources for faculty, to improve communication among schools and administrative entities, and to increase accountability;
- That each School and Department/Division create a Faculty Diversity Standing Committee that works with the Dean/Chair to formulate a Diversity Plan;
- Enhanced training in diversity and inclusion for faculty, particularly those directly involved in hiring, promotion, tenure, and mentoring processes;
- Expansion of hiring programs to increase faculty diversity, modeled on the Target of Opportunity Program;
- Communication of best practices to faculty search committees ;
- Improving retention through community building, mentoring, and other programs to support all faculty, with particular attention to underrepresented groups;
- Increasing the routine sharing of data to improve transparency.