No Progress in Increasing Black Faculty at Rice University

Rice University did not admit black students until 1966 and did not hire its first black faculty member until 1979. That year Beverly Harris-Schenz was hired by the German department at Rice. She is now an associate professor of German at the University of Pittsburgh.

It was another decade until Rice tenured a black faculty member. In 1989 historian Atieno Odhiambo was granted tenure. Professor Odhiambo, a native of Kenya, is still an active member of the Rice University faculty.

New data obtained by JBHE from the university demonstrates that Rice is making no progress increasing faculty diversity. During the 2005-06 academic year there were only nine blacks among the 503 tenured or tenure-track faculty at Rice University. Thus, blacks are less than 1.8 percent of the total faculty at the university.

A 1999 survey by JBHE found 10 black faculty members at Rice. So over the past eight years, the number and percentage of blacks on the Rice faculty has dropped.