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Task Force on Faculty Diversity and Inclusiveness

October 17, 2006

I am today adopting the 31 recommendations unanimously recommended by Task Force on Faculty Diversity and Inclusiveness in the attached report.

These recommendations were submitted after seven months of meetings by an extraordinarily conscientious Task Force, chaired by my deputy, Lynne Davidson. Let me express my gratitude to her and to the other members of the Task Force: Professor Nicholas Bigelow, Dean Raffaella Borasi, Professor Anthea Butler, Dean Patricia Chiverton, Professor Mary Dombeck, Senior Vice President for Health Sciences Bradford Berk, Professor Gerald Gamm, Dean David Guzick, Professor Fredrick Harris, Professor Frederick Jefferson, Professor Ellen Koskoff, Dean Peter Lennie, Professor Vivian Lewis, Associate Vice President Charles Murphy, Professor Elissa Newport, Dean Joanna Olmsted, Provost Charles Phelps, Dean Jamal Rossi, University Counsel Sue Stewart, and Dean Mark Zupan, as well as Maggie Cassie who served as staff to the Task Force.

The recommendations provide the basis for further significant progress in making our University a more inclusive and welcoming campus for all faculty regardless of gender, race, and ethnicity. I have been continuously impressed by the commitment of our Board of Trustees and academic leaders to creating a University that is among the finest in both academic excellence and diversity. These recommendations will provide a framework for University wide coordination of faculty diversity programs and policies, a Special Opportunities Fund for diversity hiring, family friendly policies, and implementation of specified best practices.

The recommendations significantly propose “a University faculty diversity officer who would report to the President and the Provost.” This officer is intended to chair a committee of school based faculty diversity officers and should have the authority and resources to carry out the functions not best done at the school level. These functions include being a default starting point for faculty seeking help on issues of multiculturalism and its advancement; helping ensure that consistent and comprehensive education and training standards be established and that all searches are inclusive; establishing a central clearing house to address questions on issues such as local schools, daycare, resources for special needs children; providing a central point of contact for deans, department chairs, and faculty who need assistance with faculty spouse or partner hiring; and coordinating annual reporting on the status, progress, and challenges of diversity.

The faculty diversity officer will also jointly administer with the Provost an expanded faculty support fund, called the Special Opportunities Fund, to assist the deans and department chairs in the recruitment (or, in special cases, the retention) of specific faculty candidates who will contribute to the diversity of the faculty and who might otherwise not be recruited successfully because of market competition, among other purposes.

I am appointing Lynne Davidson to serve as Deputy to the President and Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity, effective January 1, 2007. Lynne’s leadership of this Task Force and commitment to effectively addressing the many issues articulated in the attached Report make her the ideal individual to rapidly begin implementation of this important initiative. Lynne will continue as a member of my Senior Leadership Group and as a member of the President’s Cabinet. Her associate, Maggie Cassie, currently Special Projects Researcher for the Office of the President, will work with Lynne on implementation of the Task Force recommendations also effective January 1, 2007.

Before January 1, I have requested Lynne to work with the Deans of each school to name their representatives to the committee of diversity officers so that that committee can begin to operate effectively in January of next year. I have also requested that Lynne submit to me before January 1, 2007 an 18 month plan for implementation of the Task Force recommendations and that one of the implementation steps be an initial report on diversity that can be provided to the Faculty Senate and University community by April of 2007.

I am also today naming Frederick Jefferson, University intercessor and emeritus professor of education, to serve as a consultant to the faculty diversity officer and to chair a Diversity Advisory Committee. The Diversity Advisory Committee will work with Lynne Davidson and the school diversity officers on helping to ensure that we are as effective as is possible in networking with potential outstanding faculty members. The membership of this Committee will also be chosen by January 1, 2007.

Today’s publication of the Task Force report and these implementation steps represent a foundation for what I hope will be steady progress towards achieving a University whose faculty will be a model for diversity and inclusiveness and who will provide they type of academic excellence most consistent with the challenges of an increasingly competitive multicultural world. I am proud to have been an ex officio member of an outstanding Task Force.