Building a diverse pipeline for business faculty

Since 2012, IDDEAS@Wharton has been a pathway for undergraduate students of all backgrounds to enter the world of business research.

In a 2017 report, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) found that about 76% of post-secondary faculty members in the U.S. were white, compared to 55% of undergraduate students. The need for faculty diversity in higher education continues today—but the hard work begins way before the hiring process.

Wharton’s Introduction to Diversity in Doctoral Education and Scholarship program, or IDDEAS@Wharton, is doing so by supporting undergraduate students interested in business research before they even apply for a Ph.D.

“The premise of IDDEAS acknowledges that higher education has not been an inclusive environment for minorities and women,” says IDDEAS co-director Anita Henderson. “Anyone who walks into a classroom can see the issues of faculty diversity here at Wharton, at our peer institutions, and in many other institutions in business education. This is a problem that has existed for generations of minorities and women, built by a combination of resistance to their presence and a lack of access and opportunity in higher education.”

In 2012, Henderson, who was the first Black woman to earn a Ph.D. in linguistics at Penn, was the senior director for Wharton Deputy Dean Michael Gibbons. She and Gibbons, along with her coworkers at Wharton Doctoral Programs and then Vice Dean Eric Bradlow, knew the issue had to be addressed.

“I have always stressed the importance of diversity as an integral part of doctoral training,” Bradlow says. “To me, this meant traditional measures of diversity in gender, race, background, and culture, but also diversity of thought. IDDEAS was, at first, an aspirational goal to be able to bring diversity to doctoral education in business where it is desperately needed.”

Since launching in 2012, the program has fine-tuned a two-day agenda where participating scholars can chat with doctoral students and Wharton faculty about their experiences, learn about the research being produced at Wharton, and collaborate on a research exercise with other scholars.

Read more at Wharton Stories.