It is our responsibility as a university to make sure the faculty representation on our campus is reflective of our students attending the U. In Spring 2014, an ad hoc faculty committee recommended several strategies for increasing faculty diversity. The purpose of this brief communication was to articulate the process for enacting some of these recommendations in a clear and open manner for the benefit of departments and colleges.
An open initiative to support recruitment of faculty and postdoctoral fellows from diverse backgrounds was launched in the 2014-15 academic year and continued with increased funding in academic year 2015-16.
As a result, 19 new faculty members and post-doctoral fellows from underrepresented backgrounds joined us in the fall of 2016.
In spring 2019, President Ruth Watkins launched the strategy refresh initiative, a campus-wide, participatory process, to develop a strategic plan for the University of Utah for 2020-2025. This included a commitment to increase diversity at the U by 35%.
Senior Vice President Dan Reed implemented new Faculty Diversity Hiring Guidelines. These guidelines require departments and colleges to have Faculty Diversity Hiring Plans. In addition, they provide three years of partial bridge funding to departments/colleges when they identify a hiring opportunity that will increase the faculty’s diversity. These hires may take place through regular searches or a targeted hire, and include the possibility of transitioning a post-doc to a tenure-line position.
The Office for Faculty hired an inaugural Assistant Vice President for Faculty Diversity & Equity to lead and expand its faculty mentoring program. Among the position’s first responsibilities is collaborating with the Office for Faculty and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) to identify a new deputy chief diversity officer to further expand the U’s programs.