After apologizing for its record on diversity, Harvard Business School is hiring a chief diversity officer, expanding scholarships, and planning to recruit more Black faculty

In this July 16, 2019, file photo people walk past an entrance to Widener Library, behind, on the campus of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Mass.Steven Senne/AP
  • Harvard Business School has announced new diversity measures, the Wall Street Journal’s Patrick Thomas reports.
  • These include the hiring of a chief diversity offer, expanding case-study offerings on racial issues, and expanding scholarship offerings.
  • HBS confirmed to Business Insider that need-based scholarships, which currently consider only the income and assets of the student, will now expand to factor in family income and assets.
  • The news comes 3 months after Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria apologized for the school's diversity record in a letter, in which he said the school hasn't "effectively" served its Black students.
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Big changes are happening at the Harvard Business School, the Wall Street Journal's Patrick Thomas reports.

On September 23, the school announced it was planning to hire a chief diversity officer, expand its case-study offerings on race and diversity issues, and recruit more Black students and faculty.
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"We hadn't made the progress I had hoped we would make," Nitin Nohria, dean of the school, told the WSJ. "Race needs its own independent focus."

The news comes three months after Nohria wrote a letter acknowledging that the college hasn't done enough to recruit Black students. In the letter, he said only about 5% of the students enrolled at Harvard Business School are Black, a number which has remained stagnant for 30 years.

Nohria also pointed out that in more than 100 years, the school has only tenured four Black professors, and the number of Black students in the doctoral program ranged from "low to nonexistent in any given year."
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"I apologize that we have not fought racism as effectively as we could have and have not served our Black community members better," he wrote.

Thomas reports that to help fix its shortcomings, the business school also plans to collaborate with professors and faculty at historically black colleges and universities, though no further details of that have been announced, according to Thomas. The business school also announced it will increase its scholarship offerings, and will revise its needs-based scholarship criteria to start looking at the income and assets of applicants' parents. Jan Rivkin, a senior associate dean who runs Harvard's MBA program, told Business Insider that the current formula for considers only the income and assets of the student and does not factor in family income and assets at all.
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"We have a small number of special fellowships that consider family income and assets, but they are not our core need-based scholarships," Rivkin clarified.

In speaking with the WSJ, Rivkin explained why HBS had decided to adjust its scholarship criteria:

"The big key for us is expanding the pool of talented Black individuals who apply," Rivkin told the WSJ. "Reducing financial barriers is key. It increases financial aid to families that have historically been unable to accumulate wealth over generations and therefore struggled to send their kids to grad school."
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At the same time, Harvard will train its faculty at the business school on how to better talk about race in the classroom, in addition to pledging $25 million over the course of 10 years to fund its newly planned initiatives on race.

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