June 21, 2018, Ann Arbor, MI — Creating college campuses and classroom experiences that accurately reflect the country’s diversity is a challenge for higher education, and one that the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts is leading the charge to change. Through an ambitious hiring initiative, LSA is recruiting postdoctoral fellows who excel in their fields and whose research, teaching, or service will foster diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in higher education.
LSA announced today a new cohort of LSA Collegiate Fellows, part of a five-year pilot program to recruit 50 exceptional early career scholars whose scholarship, instructional approach, service, and other related efforts will contribute to long-term transformational change on campus. Through a partnership with the National Center of Institutional Diversity (NCID), academic departments select fellows first and foremost on excellence in their disciplines, and also upon the strength of their experience in DEI research/scholarship, teaching/mentoring, or service/engagement.
“Students want classroom experiences and campus culture which reflect the diversity of the world at large,” said Andrew Martin, dean of the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. “This is a challenge for higher education, but one we’re working to address head on through programs such as the LSA Collegiate Fellows. Recruiting faculty who are at the top of their fields and who offer an array of viewpoints and perspectives is essential to meet the needs of today’s increasingly diverse student population and enhance the overall educational experience.”
The 2018 LSA Collegiate Fellows cohort consists of nine of the top liberal arts scholars from across the country with expertise in the social sciences, the natural sciences, and the humanities. In the fall the fellows will start a two-year postdoctoral appointment during which they will conduct independent research, gain classroom instruction experience, and prepare for possible tenure-track appointments in LSA.
“The LSA Collegiate Fellows program is a key initiative of our DEI strategic plan,” said Fiona Lee, associate dean for diversity, equity, inclusion, and professional development at LSA. “It’s a great tool to recruit highly sought-after postdoctoral candidates who are at the top of their fields and who have undertaken innovative research or teaching techniques proven to foster diversity on campus. These scholars bring academic excellence, unique backgrounds, and extensive work in the DEI space to U-M and LSA. We’re excited about what they will contribute to the community.”
This year’s cohort was chosen from more than 900 applicants. Some scholars advance DEI goals through research, such as gender history or media representation of people of color, while others advance them through their teaching and/or engagement efforts, such as increasing interest in STEM and access to STEM pathways for people from underserved groups or by building inclusive curricula in the classroom.
“Research shows that exposure to diverse perspectives benefits student learning and innovation, and students also want faculty who can effectively teach and mentor students from a variety of backgrounds,” said Tabbye Chavous, director of the NCID and professor of education and psychology. “We need to recognize and effectively incorporate evaluation of these attributes, skills, and competencies into the faculty search process, and LSA is leading the way with this program. In doing so, the selected fellows’ research, teaching techniques, or experiences will contribute intellectual richness and promote greater diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus for all students. We’re proud to welcome these new colleagues to our campus this fall.”