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Attracting and retaining female professors was a losing battle; from 2006 to 2007, a third of the female junior faculty left.
Some students, like Sheryl Sandberg, class of ’95, the Facebook executive and author of “Lean In,” sailed through.
But they lectured about respect and civility, expanded efforts like the hand-raising coaching and added stenographers in every class so professors would no longer rely on possibly biased memories of who had said what.
They rounded out the case-study method, in which professors cold-called students about a business’s predicament, with a new course called Field, which grouped students into problem-solving teams.
Turning around its record on women, the new administrators assured themselves, could have an untold impact at other business schools, at companies populated by Harvard alumni and in the Fortune 500, where only 21 chief executives are women.
The institution would become a laboratory for studying how women speak in group settings, the links between romantic relationships and professional status, and the use of everyday measurement tools to reduce bias.
As they stood amid the brick buildings named after businessmen from Morgan to Bloomberg, black-and-crimson caps and gowns united the 905 graduates into one genderless mass.The country’s premier business training ground was trying to solve a seemingly intractable problem.Year after year, women who had arrived with the same test scores and grades as men fell behind.The dean’s ambitions extended far beyond campus, to what Dr.Faust called in an interview an “obligation to articulate values.” The school saw itself as the standard-bearer for American business.