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Workshop Supports ACM Initiative to Diversify Professoriate

Published: February 6, 2017

Workshop Supports ACM Initiative to Diversify Professoriate

Participants in the Mellon Faculty Fellows Program meeting in Chicago on January 27-28.

With a fall term of teaching behind them, the first cohort of six Mellon faculty fellows gathered in Chicago for a two-day meeting focused on topics ranging from work-life balance to mentoring students to developing and maintaining a scholarly agenda and achieving tenure at a small liberal arts college.

The fellows were hired for fall 2016 and designated as faculty fellows by ACM colleges that had applied to receive support from the Undergraduate and Faculty Fellows Program for a Diverse Professoriate, an initiative funded by a generous $8.1 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that aims to increase faculty diversity at ACM colleges.

Joining the fellows were 13 faculty and staff from eight ACM colleges, including tenured and pre-tenure faculty and a senior administrator, and guest speakers from the University of Chicago and Loyola University Chicago.

“The topics addressed in the workshop are important to the faculty fellows and also inform the work I do at St. Olaf regarding the recruitment and retention of underrepresented faculty,” said Bruce King, Assistant to the President for Institutional Diversity and Chief Diversity Officer at St. Olaf College, who moderated a pair of the panel discussions.

“The presenters, representing faculty of color perspectives across the ACM, shared insights and perspectives that illustrated both the challenges and rewards of teaching at our colleges,” King added. “I believe that the fellows and other faculty attending were both mentors and mentees, as they gave those of us attending as administrators and tenured faculty an insight into their transitions into our colleges and what we did right and wrong.”

The faculty fellows are:

 The faculty fellowships support the first two years of salary and benefits for the new professors, with a reduced teaching load for at least the first year. Each fellow is paired with a faculty mentor and has opportunities, such as this meeting, for professional development and networking with other ACM faculty fellows.

King noted that this initial meeting appeared to be on target in providing support and information that will prove helpful to the faculty fellows on their campuses. “I left the workshop believing that it achieved its purpose and then some,” he said. “In the week following, I have been contacted by three fellows asking for advice and follow-up on items presented at the workshop.”

Over the seven years of the grant, the Faculty Fellows Program will award 30 faculty fellowships to Ph.D. or terminal master's degree graduates whose backgrounds and life experiences will enhance diversity on the ACM campuses. The program focuses on faculty positions in the humanities, humanistic social sciences, and the arts, and encourages eligible graduate students and alumni at Big Ten Academic Alliance institutions and the University of Chicago to register their interest in teaching at ACM colleges.

 

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