Harvard President Drew Faust Pledges “A Different Harvard”: Goal Is a Major Increase in the Number of Black Faculty

When Drew Faust was appointed the new president of Harvard last winter, JBHE expressed cautious optimism that she would breathe new life into black studies at Harvard and push for greater racial diversity in the student body and faculty. Now it appears that our optimism was justified.

At a recent reception held for the Association of Black Faculty, Administrators, and Fellows, Faust called for the creation of “a different Harvard,” one with far greater numbers of black faculty members.

A recent report by Evelynn M. Hammonds, senior vice provost for faculty development and diversity at Harvard, identified 46 blacks among the nonmedical ladder faculty at Harvard University. They made up 3.5 percent of the total ladder faculty. There are only three blacks among the 242 faculty in the natural sciences at Harvard.

With faculty hiring decisions made primarily at the departmental level, it is unclear at this time how President Faust will achieve her goal of significantly increasing black faculty at Harvard.

Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard, told JBHE, “We just don’t know yet. She has not announced the plan.”