A critical mission of the Cook Center is training the next generation of scholars in the social sciences, with a focus on economics as it undergirds and informs most of the research at the Center. This mission could not thrive without the Diversity Initiative for Tenure in Economics (DITE), which began in 2008 in response to the gross underrepresentation of minority economists (particularly Black, Latinx, and native American economists) in the ranks of university faculty.

Through mentoring and workshops, DITE aids the transition from junior faculty status to associate professor for economists from these underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. Since its inception, DITE has assisted fourteen cohorts of early and mid-career professors of economics advance toward tenure. Of the 101 past fellows, thirty-one now have tenure; notably, two are deans, four are department chairs, five are center directors, and two are full professors. There are now distinguished professors among the past fellows as well.

The 14th cohort of the Diversity Initiative for Tenure in Economics Fellowship Program at their conference at Duke University on August 18-20, 2022.

Diversity in Economics

In 2015 the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that only 6 percent of full-time faculty are Black and 5 percent are Latino, and these numbers are lower in economics. Similarly, a 1994 study found that there were eleven Black economists teaching at the nation’s twenty-five highest-ranked universities; a 2006 study identified thirteen such individuals, many of whom were the same individuals canvassed in the 1994 study. Given the lack of underrepresented & minority (URM) professors of economics, both the academy and society lose more when any one of these scholars drops out of the tenure pipeline. DITE is designed to help URM faculty of economics decode the academy; demystify the promotion and tenure process; and identify, develop, and leverage a research program in route to an effective tenure placement. As the tenure system aims to protect academic freedom, securing it is crucial to prevent the loss of human capital and diversity.

How the Program Works

DITE provides its fellows sustained mentorship from distinguished professors of economics and vertical integration into research projects. Via DITE’s assistance with establishing a research program and a publishing and service record, as well as building connections with distinguished and supportive mentors who are willing to share their professional networks, experience, and guidance.

Program Eligibility

DITE is open to any junior faculty members holding doctorates in economics. Each year, DITE matches up to twelve junior scholars with six senior faculty mentors.

Recent Appointments and Article Placements

DITE fellows have placed papers in the following highly-regarded journals across the economics field and other disciplines:

American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings

Economic Development and Cultural Change

Economic Inquiry, Journal of Economic History

Journal of Development Economics

Journal of Development Studies 

Journal of Econometrics

Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization

Journal of Human Resources

Review of Finance

Review of Economics and Statistic

American Journal of Public Health (Epidemiology)

American Sociological Review (Sociology)

In recent years, DITE fellows have earned appointments at Duke, Harvard University, Howard University, New College of Florida, Spelman College, and elsewhere.

Contact and Application Information

Applications accepted on a rolling basis. If you are interested in applying, please email a statement of interest and a current CV to Gwen Wright (gwright@duke.edu).  Additional materials and information may be required.

DITE is supported by the National Science Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.