Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences now requires faculty to submit reports detailing their efforts to improve the school's diversity, the Harvard Crimson reported.
Francis J. Doyle III, dean of Harvard's Engineering School, told the Crimson that information from these reports will be used to determine faculty bonuses. Some ways faculty can promote diversity include modifying course content and mentoring student affinity groups, Doyle said, adding that these efforts will be a “priority” in faculty bonus decisions.
“This is the way, in the University setting, that I can indicate the importance of this and reward accordingly when our faculty are invested deeply in that area,” Doyle told the Crimson.
Harvard's new policy follows a 2018 climate survey conducted by the Engineering School in which more than a quarter of respondents said they had experienced harassment or discrimination. In response, the Engineering School implemented a number of programs to promote inclusion, including requiring a “diversity, inclusion, and belonging statement” as part of applications for faculty positions.
Penn has taken similar steps to promote diversity both within the School of Engineering and Applied Science and across the University as a whole, but with mixed results.
In Penn's 2017 graduating class, fewer than 10 percent of Engineering students identified as either black or Latino, compared to 7 percent who identified as black and 10 percent as Latino across the undergraduate population. Computer and Information Science faculty, however, said they have noticed an increase in students of color over the years.
To increase faculty diversity, Penn developed an ”Action Plan for Faculty Diversity and Excellence," which was released in June 2011. In March 2017, Penn President Amy Gutmann and Provost Vincent Price released a Faculty Inclusion Report providing data on the results of the action plan. Across the University, slow advancements were made, with a slight increase across the board in hiring female and minority faculty members.
But four schools at Penn — Wharton, the School of Dental Medicine, the School of Design, and the School of Social Policy & Practice — saw a decrease in faculty diversity. The percentage of female professors in the Engineering School also dropped from 18.6 percent in 2016 to 16.7 percent in 2018.
Although Harvard's new policy is limited to the Engineering School, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Claudine Gay told the Crimson that the division is considering instituting new policies along similar lines.
“Certainly one of the many things that we hope the faculty who come here do is find ways to advance inclusion and belonging, because as we know, that is one of the priorities for the [Faculty of Arts and Sciences] and for the University more generally,” she told the Crimson.
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