Harvard University President Lawrence S. Bacow received a letter from members of the Harvard Business School’s African-American Alumni Association (HBSAAA) persuading him to consider diversity and inclusion during the business school’s search for the next dean, according to The Harvard Crimson.
In June 2020, the business school’s current dean, Nitin Nohria, will retire after spending ten years at Harvard University. The Crimson reports in Nohria’s retirement email to the Business School affiliates, that during his ten years as dean he strived to make progress toward innovation, intellectual ambition, internalization, inclusion, and integration.
“Ten years gave us a good run to make progress on our Five I priorities,” he wrote.
The HBSAAA’s letter urges the search committee to select a candidate that will boost African American enrollees in the business school’s Master of Business Administration program, executive education program, and the eight doctoral programs.
Black Enterprise reports that despite the growth of the Harvard Business School’s overall class from 800 to 900 students, there are only 56 African American students.
The HBSAAA letter also calls for the next to dean to increase the numbers of African American tenure and tenure-track professors. Black Enterprise reports that of the 100 tenured professors only two are held by Black professors.
According to The Harvard Crimson, Jason A. Newton, the university spokesman, notified the HBSAAA of Bacow’s response via email stating:
“In his response he appreciates the effort and energy that members of the HBSAAA have invested, and continue to invest, in advancing diversity and inclusion across HBS—both its people and its programs and noted that advancing diversity and inclusion will remain an essential aim of the school in the years ahead and that it is beneficial to have the HBSAAA’s observations in the context of the dean search and more generally.”
The Harvard Crimson also revealed that Nohria chose not to share any comments regarding the search of his successor through Business School spokesperson, Brian C. Kenny.