Almost half of the 15 A&S faculty hired for the 1998-99 academic year are AHANA, as are four of the 10 new SOE faculty, one of whom will begin teaching next academic year.
Administrators said these figures reflect the University's commitment to promoting diversity in both its student body and faculty. While the trend is encouraging, the administrators said it should be considered more of a starting point than a realized goal.
"This is an important achievement for which the schools should be congratulated," said Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties David R. Burgess. "Diversity enriches the educational experience and strengthens our community. It also sends an important message: Education is for all people. We have an obligation to our students that they encounter faculty who represent many backgrounds.
"Another key point here is that these faculty were hired because they are individuals with demonstrated quality in their scholarly work," Burgess added. "Above all, Boston College looks for excellence in those who teach our undergraduate and graduate students."
"The increase in our AHANA faculty is the result of commitment from many people in our departments, who strive to find the most talented scholars to join us in helping make Boston College a top national university," said A&S Dean J. Robert Barth, SJ. "We're pleased with the results, but for us this is one step along the way."
"We don't claim to have addressed the issue of creating opportunities for AHANA faculty, but we are working on it," said SOE Dean Mary Brabeck, noting that the 10 AHANA faculty the school has hired since the 1994-95 year constitutes about half the total SOE faculty hires in that period.
"When you realize the demographics in our nation's public schools, you see it's important to have teachers, human service workers and counselors of color," she said. "For that to happen, we need faculty who can serve as mentors and role models."
Brabeck pointed to programs that support AHANA graduate students, such as SOE's Charles F. Donovan, SJ, Teaching Scholars program and the Patricia Roberts Harris Doctoral Fellowships, as critical to fostering diversity at Boston College.
"These are initiatives," she said, "which communicate to prospective faculty of color that we are intent on having colleges and universities be places where students and faculty of color are welcome, and where they can pursue their research interests and develop their professional skills and abilities to the highest potential."
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