Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

MIT Taking Steps to Ensure Minority Faculty Pipeline

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

MIT Taking Steps to Ensure Minority Faculty Pipeline

Article excerpt

When Dr. James L. Sherley began a hunger strike outside of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology provost's office in February 2007 alleging racism in his tenure denial, the then-associate professor of biological engineering reignited, in a very public way, concerns about the institution's commitment to diversity.

The lack of diversity has been a recurring problem at MIT. Today, only 34 out of 767 tenured faculty members are Black, Hispanic and Native American.

Since Sherley left, MIT has created a number of new positions that focus on faculty and staff diversity, including two associate provosts for faculty equity. The school is in the middle of an initiative on faculty race and diversity, centered around researching the current climate for minorities at MIT and creating an action plan to solve any problems. And in November, the school brought 300 of its administrative, faculty and student leaders together for an event called the Diversity Leadership Congress.

"In nay mind, MIT has prioritized diversity," says Dr. Wesley Harris, one of the new associate provosts, pointing to the creation of his position and the initiative on race and diversity. …

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