How one university plans to double its number of minority faculty

Daily Briefing

How one university plans to double its number of minority faculty

The State University System of New York (SUNY) plans to double the number of early-to-mid-career professors from underrepresented groups by 2030, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced.

Under the Promoting Recruitment, Opportunity, Diversity, Inclusion and Growth (PRODiG) proposal, SUNY would hire up to 1,000 new faculty members, reports James Paterson for Education Dive.

PRODiG’s goal is to increase faculty diversity to align more closely with the diversity of SUNY’s student body, whose share of students from underrepresented minority groups rose from 15.4% in 2007 to 28.5% this past fall.

The issue of faculty diversity has recently gained attention in higher ed, in part because greater faculty diversity may contribute to improved student outcomes, notes Paterson. Therefore, colleges and universities have become increasingly focused on recruiting and retaining diverse faculty.

SUNY’s initiative will focus on improving diversity in STEM, in particular, and will receive funding from a state Performance Improvement Fund. The project will offer three-year salary support grants in STEM fields, $5,000 stipends for doctoral students from underrepresented groups, and will help recruit high school students for careers in academia.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County are rethinking how to use postdoctoral programs to recruit and develop young faculty of color. By aligning their postdoc searches with the future hiring needs of the departments—and involving faculty in the process—both universities have been successfully placing postdoc fellows in tenure track positions.

Download the study: Instilling Equity and Inclusion in Departmental Practices

Virginia Tech created a Future Faculty Development event to recruit potential candidates for tenure-track jobs. The university invites promising underrepresented candidates from conferences, peer institutions, and Minority Serving Institutions to the event, where they are able to form meaningful relationships with department members.

Other universities are looking for new opportunities to demonstrate a commitment to faculty diversity and inclusion in job ads. For instance, the University of California, Los Angeles has revamped its ads to highlight cross-campus interest in collaboration, community building, and inclusive family policies, as well as clarify how inclusion relates to departmental priorities (Paterson, Education Dive, 3/20).

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