My MIT School of Science newsletter arrived in the mail recently (I was a math major undergrad, laboring under a mistaken teenage impression of personal intelligence). Nearly all of the news was positive, with various awards and honors received by MIT faculty and important scientific discoveries achieved. The one disappointment was in the area of recruiting professors and graduate students of desired races:
In 2004, the MIT faculty unanimously passed a resolution to double the percentage of under-represented minority (URM) faculty and triple the percentage of URM graduate students at MIT by 2014. … overall progress has been slow. One important reason for this is the very low rate of URM PhD production in some fields. In Physics, only 2 percent of the PhDs awarded in America go to URMs. Under the leadership of Ed Bertschinger [photo of a very white professor included], the Physics Department is working to change this.
[under the headline Empowerment] … the Physics Department invited [some black and Hispanic physicists] to attend a one-day “Physics Diversity Summit” workshop at MIT. … “In learning about MIT’s student efforts in Africa and the diversity efforts initiated by the University of Washington graduate students,” Bertschinger says, “I felt reinvigorated in my own efforts to champion diversity and inclusion at MIT.”
No mention was made of my 2006 proposal in “Women in Science” (Appendix C) that salaries be raised for members of desired groups, e.g., women or blacks. If a professor of a particular sex or race has more value to the school, why shouldn’t he or she be paid more than a white or Asian male? After six years of failure, on top of decades of failure of earlier programs to change the skin color balance at MIT, why not try a more direct approach to recruiting and retaining desired employees?