Scholar Pushes Faculty Diversity at Oklahoma Business Schools - Higher Education

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Scholar Pushes Faculty Diversity at Oklahoma Business Schools

by Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY

The recipient of a doctoral scholarship designed to increase faculty and student diversity in business colleges says he wants to boost the number of American Indians teaching in Oklahoma business colleges.

“I do feel responsible for making sure that Native Americans have the same opportunities and are encouraged to go into academic fields,” said Beau Barnes, who received a KPMG Foundation scholarship valued at $10,000 a year for up to five years.

The scholarship is designed to help minorities gain doctoral degrees in accounting as well as increase faculty diversity.

Minority professors are role models who inspire others to enter accounting and business professions, said Manny Fernandez, national managing partner of university relations and recruiting at KPMG.

Barnes, 28, earned his master’s degree in accounting at the University of Oklahoma, where information on faculty diversity was not available Wednesday. Barnes will seek his doctorate at Texas Tech University.

At Oklahoma State University, where Barnes earned his bachelor’s degree, 13 of 151 business college faculty last year were American Indian, Black or Asian American. Another 18 were international hires and 120 were white. None was Hispanic.

Cornell Thomas, OSU’s vice president of diversity, said business professors of all races are difficult to hire because they can earn more in private industry.

But a diverse faculty is important to helping students broaden their perspectives, he said. “It better prepares them to work with any kind of person anywhere in the world.”

Cornell said OSU recently was awarded a nearly $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to help 12 minority students pursue doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

The KPMG scholarship program claims to have helped triple the number of minority business professors in the United States since 1994. The KPMG Foundation says there are 909 minority business school professors teaching in the United States, about 4 percent of the total

More than 400 minority students are enrolled in business doctoral programs with another 45-50 scheduled to start this fall.

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