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Native Americans - Absent in Higher Education

Native Americans - Absent in Higher Education

The PhD Project has a Model that's Helping to Close the Gap

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Nov. 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- National Native American Heritage Month gives us an opportunity to pay tribute to the rich history and traditions of Native Americans, but it also compels us to examine where this country's first inhabitants are still absent. Academia is still dominated by white faculty (comprising 75% of all faculty – 40% men, 35% women), and even with the emphasis on diversifying college campuses, Native Americans still lag Blacks/African Americans and Latinx/Hispanic Americans on college campuses.

Wrap up Native American Heritage Month by looking at why their numbers lag on college campuses.

An Associate Dean of Graduate Programs and Accreditation and Associate Professor of Marketing at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina, Dr. Stephanie Lawson Brooks earned her doctorate with the support of The PhD Project in 2011. With these life-changing letters, she's now inspiring her family and community in new ways, slowly paving the way for a new generation of Native American scholars.

"People just don't understand the sacrifices you have to make to pursue a doctoral degree," explains Dr. Brooks. "The perception is you don't need college. I believe there is something college gives you that is above and beyond a job. It gives you critical thinking skills and provides networking opportunities. It's socializing. It's a way of thinking that makes you a better person and gives you a way to see the world in a more open way than before."

The PhD Project was founded upon the premise that advancements in workplace diversity could be propelled forward by increasing the diversity of business school faculty. Today, its expansive network of supporters, sponsors and universities helps Black/African Americans, Latinx/Hispanic Americans and Native Americans attain their business PhD and become the business professors who will mentor the next generation of leaders.

"I call the PhD Project the best kept secret in America because based on our name, not many know we're connected to a diversity initiative, racial equity or the corporate world," said Blaine Ruschak, PhD Project President. "Since 1994, we've more than quintupled the number of diverse business professors in the U.S., from fewer than 300 to more than 1500 today. We are making a difference on university campuses and in the business world."

The PhD Project just wrapped up its flagship event, an annual conference for potential doctoral students that took place November 17 – 19, 2021. At this 3-day conference, attendees networked with other doctoral students, business school representatives, professors, and sponsor organizations. For more information on the PhD Project, visit


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