What is the fate of Americans left behind after creation of the minority professional middle class? The Civil Rights Movement encouraged major American universities, including MIT and Harvard, to recruit underrepresented minority students under terms that made their academic success probable. American educational institutions still pursue diversity in their faculty, staff, and students…but what of the poor (minority and others) who have not entered the education pipeline?


Chair: Evelyn Higginbotham, Professor of History and African American Studies, Harvard University 

Wesley L. Harris, Charles Stark Draper Professor 
of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Associate Provost 
for Faculty Equity, MIT

Professor Harris, an active faculty leader through most
of the last 50 years, recounts the creation of MIT's 
Affirmative Action program, focusing on proactive recruiting of applicants and the creation of the institutional supports that enabled most of those students to graduate.

Sylvester Gates, MLK Visiting Professor, Department of Physics, MIT 

Professor Gates, a distinguished physicist at the University 
of Maryland, was one of the early MIT minority students.
He tells us "what it was like" to be an undergraduate,
a graduate student, and an untenured minority faculty
member at that time.

Paula T. Hammond, Bayer Professor of Chemical Engineering, MIT

Professor Hammond, whose entire academic career occurred at MIT, recently chaired a presidentially appointed committee charged with developing a policy intended to substantially increase the fraction of the faculty drawn from members of underrepresented minorities. She reports on her committee's deliberations and recommendations. 

This is part 4 of a series of Human Diversity and Social Order Forums.