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Attracting a Diverse Faculty 

From left, Tamra Minor and Edelgard Wulfert. 

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 23, 2019) – UAlbany is accelerating efforts to recruit more faculty of color, increase the number of women faculty in STEM fields and foster a more diverse and inclusive campus – key priority areas in the University’s strategic plan.

At present, only 8 percent of UAlbany’s faculty are people of color, Chief Diversity Officer and Assistant Vice President Tamra Minor said. Research has shown that having a diverse faculty encourages student success because students are more likely to interact with faculty who look like them. It broadens the scope of classroom discussion and better prepares students for the real world, which is more diverse.

“College is that place where students can grow their cultural perspectives and appreciation for an inclusive environment,” Minor said. “We have an obligation to ensure that our students leave here prepared to work in a culture where collaboration, teamwork and innovation are required. They will be working with peers from cultures across the globe who often have different perspectives. Thus, faculty diversity is critical to student success.”

Minor and Interim Provost Edelgard Wulfert serve as co-chairs of the President’s Council on Diversity & Inclusion. Providing additional support for their work is the Strategic Plan Accelerator Funding Program.

“Representation matters,” Wulfert said. It’s a challenge to meet the demand, but we don’t have the luxury of not accelerating our efforts. We are examining our existing recruitment process and are bringing different constituents to the table to solicit ideas as to how to move forward.”

UAlbany’s diversity and inclusion goals are:

  •  Recruit and retain faculty, staff, administrators and graduate students who better reflect the strong multi-dimensional diversity of our undergraduate students.
  • Foster an inclusive campus climate through ongoing learning opportunities that celebrate individual differences, encourage the open and free exchange of diverse ideas and provide opportunities to engage in constructive dialogue.
  • Cultivate an inclusive learning environment by incorporating diversity into curricular and co-curricular activities that are delivered in accessible, inclusive facilities.

UAlbany will use a multi-pronged approach to address its diversity and inclusion goals. Initially, $135,000 from the campus Accelerator fund will be used to:

  • Introduce a campus-wide mentoring program for faculty of color and women in STEM fields. Vivien Ng, professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies, and Frankie Bailey, professor of criminal justice, will lead this effort. Their effort is supported by Provost Fellow Christine Wagner, professor of psychology, who will spearhead and promote a digital faculty success program offered by the National Center for Faculty Development.
  • Pilot a visitation program for historically black colleges and universities and Hispanic-serving institutions and create a pipeline from among the ranks of undergraduate students of color recruited from those institutions as well as from UAlbany to diversify the graduate student population.

In addition, UAlbany will work to diversify its faculty through the SUNY-wide plan Promoting Recruitment, Opportunity, Diversity, Inclusion and Growth (PRODiG), which aims to increase representation of historically underrepresented faculty at SUNY, including minority faculty and women faculty in STEM fields. The goal of the PRODiG program, as announced in the Chancellor’s 2019 State of the University System address, is to hire and retain up to 1,000 faculty across SUNY by 2030. UAlbany is in the process of developing its PRODiG implementation plan.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than
120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.