While minorities are nearly a third of the U.S. population, African-Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans are estimated to be only four percent of the faculty of business schools nationwide, primarily because minorities do not apply to PhD programs.
That’s part of the information students learned during the PhD Pipeline Opportunity workshop on November 29, 2011 in the College of Business Administration at Florida International University (FIU). The event was organized by Antoinette Smith, who teaches accounting and is the FIU leader of the program, a national initiative originating from Duke University.
“Because of the wealth of opportunities for minorities at FIU, this is the perfect place to promote the advantages of obtaining a PhD,” said Smith, recently named PhD Pipeline Opportunity’s Faculty Associate of the Year.
Approximately 25 students heard information and motivation from business school panelists:
- Cecilia Alvarez, Department of Marketing
- Karlene C. Cousins, Department of Decision Sciences and Information Systems
- William Hardin, Department of Finance and Real Estate
- Kenneth R. Henry, School of Accounting
The foursome told the students about their own pathways to earning a doctorate and spoke candidly of the challenges and benefits.
Angel Nava, a junior majoring in accounting, said the workshop, including the question and answer session, was quite valuable.
“Hearing what others went through and what it takes to earn a PhD made for an interesting workshop,” he said. “I was surprised to find out about the lack of minorities who have this advanced degree, and I feel it’s a possibility for me.”
Cousins agreed to be a panelist to “give back” what she herself received.
“I came from Jamaica to work on my PhD at Georgia State University,” she said. “As an international minority student far away from home, the support and mentoring I received from the faculty made an enormous difference.”
Future workshops will continue program’s mission.
Smith is planning two PhD Pipeline Opportunity Program workshops each semester. The topics for the spring: “The Life of a PhD Student” and “The Lifestyle of a PhD Professor.”