Yale launches five-year, $50 million initiative to increase faculty diversity

Yale will devote $50 million in resources over the next five years to enhance the excellence of its faculty by building diversity university-wide, President Peter Salovey and Provost Ben Polak have announced.
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Yale will devote $50 million in resources over the next five years to enhance the excellence of its faculty by building diversity university-wide, President Peter Salovey and Provost Ben Polak announced in a Nov. 3 email.

“Yale’s education and research missions are propelled forward by a faculty that stands at the forefront of scholarship, research, practice, mentoring, and teaching. An excellent faculty in all of these dimensions is a diverse faculty, and that diversity must reach across the whole of Yale — to every school and to every department,” wrote the President and Provost.

‘This commitment has been and continues to be one of the university’s most important,” they continued. “Over the past three decades several Yale initiatives helped to foster a more diverse and more inclusive faculty, and all of our schools have worked diligently in recent years to contribute toward this goal. We are grateful for this collective effort, and for the resources that have already been invested. But we can and should do more.”

The principal elements of the initiative are:

Recruiting exceptional faculty to Yale: As the cornerstone of this initiative, the Provost’s Faculty Development Fundwill provide $25 million in central resources over a five-year period for faculty recruitment, faculty appointments, and emerging faculty development. It will provide matching funds (a supplement of up to half the salary for three years) to support the appointment of faculty targets of opportunity who would enrich diversity or contribute on another dimension of strategic importance to the university. The fund will also provide support (up to half the salary) for as many as 10 visiting professors each year. Deans may apply for funding by nominating distinguished scholars who would enhance the excellence, inclusivity, and/or diversity of the faculty and the curriculum. When matched by resources of the appointing school, the available funding will be $50 million.

Improved faculty development offerings: The Provost’s Office will develop enhanced programs to support best practices in faculty searches and tenure and promotion processes, and cultivate faculty leadership. Yale has already begun offering an expanded program of training on implicit bias in faculty and leadership searches as well as the tenure and promotion process, noted Salovey and Polak. “At the same time, we are augmenting existing faculty development programs. We will offer a university-wide teaching academy, with special attention to challenges and strategies for women in STEM fields as well as international and underrepresented faculty. And in partnership with the School of Management, we are piloting a program to empower mid-career faculty with the skills they will need as future leaders in higher education.”

Support for emerging faculty: “We must also expand and develop the pool of young scholars who will contribute to the excellence and diversity of future generations of faculty,” said Salovey and Polak. Yale sponsors a number of “pipeline programs” that help its students and alumni transition into graduate programs and into the academy, including the Edward A. Bouchet Fellowship, the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program, and the James and Mary Pinchot Fellowship at the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. The Provost’s Office has recently increased support for and coordination with the Office for Graduate Student Development and Diversity, which provides programming and support to help graduate students pursue their intellectual and professional goals.

University-wide participation: “Diversity and inclusion are shared responsibilities, and the initiative we announce today builds on many effective programs already underway in schools and departments across the university,” said Salovey and Polak. The Provost’s Office will develop a dedicated website on this topic with connections to analogous sites at each school. The provost will meet with each dean to review and discuss efforts at each school on an annual basis. To support this collaborative, university-wide approach, the Provost’s Office will continue to collect data on the demographics of our faculty and will work with schools and departments to compare their demographic profiles with those of relevant peers.

The President and Provost announced that Richard Bribiescas, deputy provost for faculty development and diversity, will oversee these programs, and noted that he will be writing to provide additional details, including information about how deans may apply for funding from the initiative, later this semester.

“We are committed to investing the significant funding and human capital that will be necessary to make this initiative a success,” concluded Salovey and Polak. “But increasing the excellence and diversity of our faculty will take more than resources; it will require the dedication and efforts of colleagues from across the university. You, the faculty of today, are our crucial partners in shaping the faculty of tomorrow. We look forward to working with you toward this important goal.”

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