Funding for the Initiative
In 2005, the University Trustees unanimously approved a commitment of $15 million for a recruitment campaign to attract outstanding minority and female scholars to the Arts and Sciences faculty. The funds are intended to:
- change the process and culture surrounding faculty searches, retention, and promotion by more successfully identifying and recruiting outstanding scholars from historically under-represented groups
- address the work-life issues of an increasingly diverse faculty (see box at right) and the dearth of women and minority faculty in natural sciences and engineering
- encourage further discussion at the University of this critical need
Professor Jean E. Howard was appointed the first vice provost for Diversity Initiatives and served through June 2007. Professor Geraldine Downey, chair of the psychology department, succeeded Howard in July 2007. During the past three years, the initiative has supported the hiring of nearly two dozen scholars from historically under-represented groups.
Hiring and Recruitment: In 2007, the Luce Foundation awarded a Luce Professorship to Columbia to support the advancement of women scientists on the faculty.
Faculty Development: The office conducted focus groups that yielded insights on how the University could improve the support it gives faculty before tenure. The office also conducted workshops for untenured faculty in an effort to increase the transparency of the tenure process at Columbia. As a result of the $2 million diversity initiative for the professional schools at Columbia, twenty junior faculty and seven visiting fellows received support in 2006-2007.
Pipeline Development: As part of the effort to expand the pipeline of minority scholars in science and engineering, Vice Provost Downey is developing a Bridge to PhD program, which will bring post-baccalaureate students from historically under-represented groups into the Columbia research community as full-time research assistants.
Presidential Lectures: President Bollinger has increased awareness of diversity as an institutional priority by hosting public lectures with other university leaders, such as Shirley Tilghman, president of Princeton University, and Charles Vest, president emeritus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to discuss their experiences implementing diversity initiatives.