Ranks of Minority Professors at Business Schools Set to Double as More Minorities Enter Business Ph.D. Programs, Survey Finds

Nov 18, 1998, 00:00 ET from The PhD Project

    CHICAGO, Nov. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The number of African-American,
 Hispanic-American and Native American professors on U.S. business school
 faculties -- where minorities historically have been sharply underrepresented
 -- is poised to virtually double within five years, a first-of-its-kind survey
 by The PhD Project finds.
     The PhD Project, holding its annual conference in Chicago today and
 tomorrow, reports that 374 African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans and Native
 Americans are now enrolled nationwide in business doctoral programs, pursuing
 the Ph.D. that will qualify them to become business professors -- far more
 than ever enrolled before.  Throughout the U.S., there are today just
 388 minority business professors -- a population that took decades to amass,
 yet still represents less than five per cent of all business faculty.
     All of the 374 minorities now earning their business doctorates
 participate in The PhD Project's Doctoral Students Associations, whose members
 have a dropout rate of less than 5 percent.  It typically takes about five
 years for a doctoral student to complete a program and earn their degree.
     The PhD Project is a partnership of universities, prominent corporations,
 academic and professional organizations, and foundations.  Established in
 1994, it aims to create more minority professors by urging successful
 African-American, Hispanic-American and Native American business executives to
 leave corporate jobs, earn Ph.D. degrees and become business school
 professors.  More minority faculty role models and mentors mean more minority
 students will see business as a viable option.  By getting more people of
 color into these highly influential teaching posts, The PhD Project adds new
 incentive for young minorities to study business and then go to work in
 corporate America, helping to diversify it.
     "The decades-long absence of minorities in front of the classroom is at
 last beginning to give way to a more diverse business school faculty," said
 Bernard J. Milano, director of The PhD Project and executive director of the
 KPMG Peat Marwick Foundation, the program's creator and lead sponsor.  "A
 population of minority business professors, that took decades to reach, is now
 on the brink of effectively doubling in a few short years."
     The PhD Project, a business approach to a business problem, is essentially
 an extensive marketing campaign to identify the best and brightest potential
 Ph.D. candidates of color now working in business careers.  More than
 23,000 minorities have expressed interest in the program to date.  A select
 number of these respondents are invited to The PhD Project's annual
 conference, where they hear from professors and current doctoral students
 about pursuing a business Ph.D. and explore the pros and cons of the dramatic
 career switch.
     The first PhD Project participant to complete the multi-year doctoral
 process, Dr. Alisa Mosley earned her degree in August 1998 from the University
 of Nebraska.  She is now an assistant professor of management at Jackson State
 University, Jackson, Mississippi.  The PhD Project reported that the
 374 current minority doctoral students are already impacting students in and
 out of the classroom, even before becoming professors.  As teaching assistants
 standing in front of undergraduate classrooms, dozens of them are
 making an impact as a minority in at least one of six ways:
     -- Influencing curriculum or classroom activities
     -- Influencing minority students to pursue business careers or major in
     -- Providing career advice and mentoring
     -- Serving as a role model for minority students
     -- Helping their university recruit minority students
     -- Influencing the attitudes of white students
     "Huge impact on minority students as far as attendance and participation,"
 reported an African-American Ph.D. student at Florida State University.  "They
 come up to me after the semester and express their feelings about finally
 seeing me in front of the classroom ... they are awed at the idea that I will
 be a professor just like the others they have had.  A second result is a
 greater interest in business opportunities by African-American males and
 females as they find that there actually are African-American females who
 teach this difficult quantitative stuff called Finance."
     Doctoral students reported that minority students in their classes have
 told them they are considering business careers, or pursuing specific fields,
 because of the impact of seeing a minority teacher of business at their school
 for the first time.  Other Ph.D. candidates said they had introduced topics
 relating to diversity or ethnic marketing into the curriculum.
     The PhD Project found that growth in minority business faculty will be
 strongest in the key discipline of management -- there are now 94 minority
 faculty in management and 144 doctoral students.  Second-strongest growth
 discipline will be finance, which now has 30 minority faculty throughout the
 U.S. and 37 current minority doctoral students.  Third is information systems,
 with 53 current minority faculty and 60 minority doctoral students.
     Approximately 400 minority executives will attend this year's conference,
 Nov. 18-20 at the Hyatt O'Hare in Rosemont, IL, to consider making the switch
 from a successful career in corporate America to the scholarly life of a
 business school professor.  They will learn all about what it takes to enter
 into a Ph.D. program: What is the process?  What will it cost?  What kind of
 funding is available?  What are the curriculum opportunities? What are the
 benefits of earning a Ph.D.?
     Minority business professionals will also meet with representatives of
 leading corporations, as well as more than 65 of the nation's most prestigious
 business schools, to discuss the value of giving up their corporate jobs and
 pursuing teaching careers at a business school.  Many of the corporate
 sponsors will see some of their own talented executives, who are role models
 for future generations, leave their positions to pursue a Ph.D.
     The conference includes presentations and panel discussions by doctoral
 students, faculty, heads of doctoral programs and deans.  Representatives from
 participating universities' doctoral programs are available to the
 participants in a "career fair" style exhibit hall.
     Attendees will learn careers in academia are often viable, challenging and
 rewarding -- and a great opportunity to impact the lives of thousands of
 future minority executives and business leaders.  They will hear how earning a
 Ph.D. doesn't always cost money -- typically tuition is waived and there are
 stipends for research or teaching, while business school professors are
 surprisingly well-paid -- earning as much as $100,000 a year.
     The PhD Project Sponsors are: the KPMG Peat Marwick Foundation, Graduate
 Management Admission Council, Citibank, AACSB, Chrysler Corporation, Ford
 Motor Company Fund, Fannie Mae Foundation, Texaco, Abbott Laboratories, AICPA,
 Institute of Management Accountants, James S. Kemper Foundation, Merrill Lynch
 & Co. Foundation, Inc., Mobil Corporation and State Street Corporation.
 Seventy of the nation's most prestigious business schools, which collectively
 award 80% of all business doctorates, also participate.

SOURCE The PhD Project