February 22, 2012
Last fall, Old Dominion University began an initiative to increase the recruitment, retention and success of faculty of color (African American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian, Hispanic, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander).
As a metropolitan university, it is inherent in our mission to be committed to the diversity of our students, faculty and staff. A diverse faculty enriches student learning by offering a broader perspective, a variety of experiences and many different scholarly interests. Likewise, being more inclusive is likely to enhance both the extensiveness and quality of our research. Moreover, a diverse faculty provides a variety of role models and mentors for Old Dominion's diverse student population, which plays a significant role in their success.
Spearheaded by Academic Affairs and led by Dr. Gwen Lee-Thomas and Dr. Chandra de Silva, Committing Our Resources to Excellence through Equity (C.O.R.E.2) was launched with a series of conversations with current ODU faculty of color to identify what the university was already doing well and where improvements might be beneficial. As a result, 17 recommendations were made, including partnering with minority-serving institutions to increase recruitment from their doctoral programs; developing a formal mentoring program; providing professional development workshops; and assisting with networking opportunities, among others. The full list of recommendations and descriptions is attached.
Because the success of this effort will be largely dependent upon faculty-driven initiatives, our next step is to identify a Faculty Diversity Leader in each college. Dr. Lee-Thomas will soon send out a call for nominations and provide more details about the requirements, scope of work, and time commitment. Those selected as Faculty Diversity Leaders will be given a summer stipend.
To ensure our continued commitment to and progress toward faculty diversity efforts, we are creating a Senior Task Force that will include the provost, vice provost of faculty and program development, , assistant to the provost and president for special projects, and representatives from Institutional Equity and Diversity, Intercultural Relations, General Counsel, Human Resources and the Faculty Senate. This group will convene annually to receive updates from the colleges and to ensure that the resources, policies and practices that will affect the success of the initiative are aligned.
We want to thank Dr. Lee-Thomas for her leadership and the numerous faculty members who contributed their insight to help us better understand the opportunities and challenges for faculty of color at ODU. We encourage all faculty to join us in these next steps. By working together, we will ensure the success not only of faculty of color, but the entire Old Dominion campus.
John R. Broderick