Roy Gilbert

Why business schools often lack diverse faculties and how to make hiring more inclusive

Many business schools lack diverse faculty. SDI Productions/Getty Images Researchers Sonya A. Grier and Sonja Martin Poole examined how business schools select their faculty.

They found that to avoid the discomfort of discussing race, it’s not mentioned during the selection process.

Selection committees also lack a clear definition of ‘diversity’ and believe themselves to be already diverse.

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Despite the increasing diversity among America’s college students, business school professors remain overwhelmingly white.

In US business schools, Black and Hispanic individuals make up 23.2% of students, yet only 6.7% of the faculty.

As a researcher with a long-standing interest in the reasons business schools lack diverse faculty, I — along with marketing professor Sonja Martin Poole — set out to examine how business schools select their faculty . We did this by talking to 21 Black and Hispanic professors who have served on search committees at business schools throughout the US. We discovered four major reasons professors of color often get screened out of the process. 1. Race is unmentionable Search committees rarely have open conversations about race as they search to diversify their faculty, the professors in our study told us. They described conversations about race as “anemic” and “uncomfortable,” which in turn led people to avoid the topic.As one professor in our study stated regarding race, “If we don’t talk about it we don’t have a problem.”The faculty members in our study described a variety of reasons they believed search committees avoided talking […]

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