Boston Globe, At Harvard Business School, Diversity Remains Elusive:
For seven years, Steven Rogers has been unrelenting in his push to include more diverse voices in Harvard Business School’s celebrated case studies, its primary tool for helping students understand how real-life business executives tackle crucial decisions.
But this past year, Rogers, one of a handful of black professors at the business school, faced an executive dilemma of his own: What do you do if you are frustrated by your employer’s lack of African-Americans in its faculty, leadership, student body, and featured in its curriculum?
For Rogers, 62, the answer was retirement. The senior lecturer, who has been featured in Harvard’s internal publications for his efforts to excavate and study the stories of overlooked African-American business leaders, said he will step down from teaching at the country’s premier business school, discouraged that the institution has given short shrift to the black experience.
“I love the place, but I’m disappointed,” Rogers said during a recent interview in his corner office above the business school’s Baker Library. “After complaining and making a statement about that, it’s time for me to go.”
The numbers tell the story, Rogers said. Just nine of the business school’s 270 faculty members are black, about 3 percent. Business school Dean Nitin Nohria’s academic leadership team includes several women and South Asians, but there are no black members. Less than 5 percent of the 500 active business case studies feature black business leaders, many of them written by Rogers. And the percentage of black students at the business school remained unchanged for a decade: It was 5 percent last fall, the same as in 2008.
Rogers acknowledges he was also denied a promotion last year, in part fueling his frustration.
Still, he said, the issues go beyond him, and he took the unusual step in August of e-mailing his concerns to Harvard’s president, Lawrence Bacow. He is also speaking publicly about the racial disparities, what he calls an “anti-black bias,” and the university’s slow progress in addressing the problem.
Poets & Quants, How Harvard Business School Is Failing in Diversity