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Moving the Needle on Faculty Diversity

In the wake of major social changes, public and private sector entities across the nation have taken steps to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion. Yet while college student bodies have become more racially and ethnically diverse, there is still a dearth of underrepresented minority (URM) faculty in higher education.

A recently published guidebook for college and university leaders offers multiple institutional transformation strategies to increase the representation of traditionally and historically URM faculty on campuses across the United States.

The guidebook, EQUITY AND INCLUSION Effective Practices and Responsive Strategies - A Guidebook for College and University Leaders, stresses the importance of a transformation of policies and practices on the nation’s campuses to improve the quality of life and provide support for URM faculty and doctoral students in career persistence and success.

The idea for the guidebook was inspired by the conference “Changing the National Conversation: Inclusion and Equity,” held at Penn in 2018. The conference drew more than 100 presidents, provosts, and senior administrators from colleges and universities across the country. The guidebook was co-authored by conference organizers: Ruth Enid Zambrana, University of Maryland, College Park, Professor of Women’s Studies, and Director of Consortium on Race, Gender and Ethnicity; Debra J. Pérez, Simmons University Senior Vice President, Organizational Culture, Inclusion and Equity Dean; and from the University of Pennsylvania: Anita Allen, Vice Provost for Faculty, and Henry R. Silverman Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy; Eve Higginbotham Vice Dean for Inclusion and Diversity, and Professor of Ophthalmology at the Perelman School of Medicine; JoAnn Mitchell Senior Vice President for Institutional Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer, and Penn Nursing Professor and Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing, Antonia Villarruel.

This guidebook builds on a synthesis of relevant interdisciplinary evidence, programs, and practices instituted in different universities and the recommendations of higher education leaders who attended the 2018 conference. Specific guidance for how institutions of higher education can develop transformational, responsive, and effective policies and practices that more fully support the vital intellectual and social contributions of URM faculty is outlined in the guidebook.

“Unquestionably, by translating these insights into tangible policies and practices, we can transform institutions of higher education into truly inclusive spaces for the next generation of civic and intellectual leaders,” said Penn Nursing Dean Antonia Villarruel.