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Colleges Lagging On
Faculty Diversity

The lack of black and Hispanic professors, highlighted in two recent reports critical of the faculty makeup at MIT and Emerson College, is a problem shared by the most prominent universities in the Boston area, a Globe survey reveals.

Among those struggling the most is the city’s largest school, Boston University, where blacks and Hispanics make up 3.4 percent of tenured and tenure-track faculty, a figure that has barely budged over the past decade. At BU, like the other schools, the percentage of minority faculty lags far behind the demographics of its student body.

Other local institutions don’t fare much better. At Brandeis University, 3 percent of so-called tenure-line professors are black or Hispanic, and at Harvard, they make up 5.8 percent.

Colleges across the country are struggling to bolster the faculty ranks of these underrepresented minority groups as student populations grow more diverse. Nationally, blacks and Hispanics comprise 8.8 percent of tenure-line faculty, according to the American Council on Education.

A diverse faculty helps universities recruit top minority students and provides them with mentors and role models, say students and university officials. The different perspectives and experiences that minority faculty bring can also make colleges more competitive academically and further intellectual debate.

On Crete, new evidence of very ancient mariners

Early humans, possibly even prehuman ancestors, appear to have been going to sea much longer than anyone had ever suspected.

That is the startling implication of discoveries made the last two summers on the Greek island of Crete. Stone tools found there, archaeologists say, are at least 130,000 years old, which is considered strong evidence for the earliest known seafaring in the Mediterranean and cause for rethinking the maritime capabilities of prehuman cultures.

Crete has been an island for more than 5 million years, meaning that the toolmakers must have arrived by boat. So this seems to push the history of Mediterranean voyaging back more than 100,000 years, specialists in Stone Age archaeology say.

Will steady resolve be enough to land Evan Lysacek the gold?

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLOMBIA —When the figure skating coach Frank Carroll first saw Evan Lysacek perform, he marveled at him.

Lysacek was training at a rink in Colorado with the athlete who would later become his main rival, Johnny Weir. A tall, gangly 14-year-old, Lysacek looked more suited to basketball than to skating.

Carroll immediately surmised that both teenagers would make it big as skaters.

“I looked at Johnny and said, ‘My God, this is the most talented man I’ve ever seen,”’ said Carroll, 71, who coaches Lysacek. “Then I looked at Evan and said, ‘My God, this is the most determined man I’ve ever seen.”’

Weir may have had grace and fluidity, as well as the shorter, lighter body type favored by the skating aesthetic, but Lysacek was plucky. He was the first at the rink and the last to leave, practicing jumps over and over until he got them right.

“I looked at the two of them and thought, who will be the best?” Carroll said. “Will the one with the natural ease and talent win? Will it beat the one with determination, intensity and work ethic?”