What benefits does diversity bring to a college campus? How can colleges and universities foster a campus culture of inclusivity that will attract and retain a diverse community of students, faculty, and staff?
A two-day workshop on May 24-25 will bring together faculty and staff from seven ACM colleges and the University of Iowa to focus on best practices, strategies, and tangible steps that their institutions can take to diversify their faculty.
The Iowa Regional Hiring and Diversity Workshop is sponsored by The University of Iowa and the Undergraduate and Faculty Fellows Program for a Diverse Professoriate, a seven-year collaboration between the ACM colleges and the research universities of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) to address barriers to faculty diversity, especially in the context of liberal arts colleges. The CIC includes the members of the Big Ten Conference plus the University of Chicago.
Through a mix of presentations and panels, facilitated discussions, and small group conversations, the workshop will cover topics such as unconscious bias, ways to proactively recruit faculty from underrepresented populations, retaining and promoting a diverse faculty, and strategies to engage with issues surrounding campus culture, departmental dynamics, and administrative expectations.
A second regional summer workshop, with a similar program and most of the same presenters, will draw faculty and staff from the rest of the ACM colleges to Chicago on August 15-16.
“At the 2015 ACM-CIC Diversity Workshop, opening speaker Dr. Scott Page gave many examples of research that indicates a need for us to change the value we place on “diversity,” in that diversity is not a trade-off to excellence,” said Lilly Lavner, ACM Coordinator and Campus Liaison for the Undergraduate Fellows Program and an organizer of the workshop. “Rather, organizations can produce better outcomes, particularly in instances that involve complex decision-making and problem-solving, if individuals with a broader range of diverse perspectives are engaged in the process.”
Faculty governance is a prime example of the type of structure that can benefit from diverse viewpoints and atypical combinations, she noted, which is a compelling reason for ACM faculty to engage in the Fellows Program workshops.
“Additionally, the demographics of the K-12 and college-age populations are changing,” Lavner said. “Students want to be educated in a diverse environment and to leave college with skills and intercultural capacities that will enable them to thrive in an increasingly global, multicultural, and interconnected world. If you want to prepare your graduates adequately, then enhancing diversity and promoting inclusion initiatives is something you will need to address on your campus.”
The Fellows Program is supported by an $8.1 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The hiring and diversity workshops and other ACM-CIC meetings comprise one of the program’s three strands of activity, along with the Graduate School Exploration Fellowship (GSEF) for students at ACM colleges and the Mellon Faculty Fellowships, which will support 30 tenure-track faculty fellowship appointments on ACM campuses during the course of the program.