UAlbany’s BILPOC Faculty Advancement Initiative Embarks on its Second Year

ALBANY, N.Y. (Sept. 7, 2023) — Last month, UAlbany's BILPOC Faculty Advancement Initiative held its first community building event of the year. BILPOC launched in 2022 and facilitates opportunities for UAlbany faculty members who identify as Black, Indigenous, Latinx and People of Color to build community, share research, identify new avenues for academic collaboration and engage in professional development activities.

With nearly 30 faculty members in attendance, the event featured three presentations focused on strategies for effective academic writing delivered by Jeanette Altarriba, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Lotfi Sayahi, professor of Spanish Linguistics in the Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures and UAlbany alum Gayle Morse, now a professor at Russell Sage College.

“The BILPOC Faculty Advancement Initiative is focusing on writing as its theme for the 2023-24 academic year in part because of the challenges faced by faculty at all ranks during and following the pandemic,” said Jared Enriquez, assistant professor in the Department of Geography & Planning and BILPOC steering committee member. “Early career faculty had difficulty finding writing communities on campus due to most operations shifting remotely, while associate professors often had to adjust to greater administrative work due to faculty retirements in their departments."

Paul Morgan, director of the Institute for Social and Health Equity and Elisa López, university research awards and information coordinator, highlighted grant writing opportunities and related resources at the event. Lakia Green, associate director of diversity and inclusion, was recognized for her outstanding support of the group as the Office of Diversity and Inclusion liaison.

“In the coming year, I look forward to securing grants and giving BILPOC more visibility nationally,” said Carmen Serrano, associate professor of Spanish in the Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures. “For example, we will be presenting at Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) in October. I especially look forward to meeting new colleagues."

The BILPOC Faculty Advancement Initiative is headed by Steering Committee members DeeDee Bennett Gayle, College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity; Jonathan Dirlam, Department of Sociology; Jared Enriquez, Department of Geography & Planning; Mila Gascó-Hernandez, Rockefeller College; Zawadi Rucks-Ahidiana, Department of Sociology; Carmen Serrano, Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures; Elizabeth Vásquez, School of Public Health; and Xiaojun (Jenny) Yuan, College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity.

To learn more about the BILPOC Faculty Advancement Initiative and upcoming professional development and community building events, contact Carmen Serrano at [email protected].