Claude Steele Named Provost at Columbia University

In what was a major surprise to most observers, Columbia University announced that the esteemed psychologist Claude Steele will become its provost this September. Steele is currently Lucie Stern Professor in the Social Sciences and director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. Steele has been at Stanford since 1991.

Steele is a widely cited scholar for his work on drug and alcohol abuse as well as for his theory that black students are subjected to “stereotype vulnerability.” According to this theory black students fear that their performance on standardized tests will reflect on their race as a whole. The resulting anxiety causes them to underperform on these tests.

Steele is a graduate of Hiram College. He holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in psychology from Ohio State University. Prior to coming to Stanford he taught at the University of Michigan, the University of Utah, and the University of Washington.