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 business -- 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