Diversify the Faculty, Transform the University

Diversify the Faculty, Transform the University

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A $137,500 grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation to the University of Maryland’s Consortium on Race, Gender and Ethnicity (CRGE) seeks to identify innovative practices to encourage academic environments to be more supportive and inclusive of underrepresented minority (URM) faculty. CRGE Director Ruth Enid Zambrana will draw on data from her prior study supported in part by the University of Maryland to help develop higher education policies to encourage the retention and promotion of URM faculty.

 “My work aims to capture a segment of the U.S. diversity work force that is vital to strengthening higher education’s role in addressing social and economic inequality and educating future cohorts of diverse students as citizens of the world,” Zambrana said.

African American, Mexican American, Puerto Rican, and Native American full-time professors together represented less than eight percent of tenured university faculty in 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Such low numbers fail to provide an inclusive and diverse educational environment for students and can magnify feelings of stress, isolation and perceptions of prejudice and discrimination among faculty. Those feelings can lead to lower retention and promotion rates among URM faculty, whose absence in higher education institutions can dispossess students of innovative and diverse thinking and role models.

CRGE will seek collaboration with national higher education organizations and the UMD Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI), ADVANCE and Office of Faculty Affairs to translate research into action. Three activities are envisioned under the grant including a retreat for early-career URM faculty led by senior scholars to help them navigate the academic terrain for successful careers; three national sessions with key higher education administrators and stakeholders to disseminate and encourage use of and investment in inclusive practices and policies and the production of scholarship  to disseminate the findings and the policies to a broader audience.

"This work has great potential to change the national climate of diversity and inclusion in higher education as well as the creation of a better learning environment for all students, who will take lessons and diverse perspectives learned from URM faculty into their future lives," Zambrana said.

CRGE is an interdisciplinary research center in the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Maryland. It promotes scholarship at the intersection of multiple fields through research, mentoring and collaboration. For more information about CRGE, see http://www.crge.umd.edu/.

The grant was awarded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which aims to support initiatives that create innovative solutions to issues facing disadvantaged communities. For more information about the Annie E. Casey Foundation, see www.aecf.org.

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November 5, 2014


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