Letters to the Editor, Opinions

Letter: Addressing misrepresentation of HUG faculty from DIAP Annual Report

Sunday, March 12, 2017

To the Editor:

The Herald’s article reporting on Brown’s progress over the past year in achieving the goals of the Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan (“University releases first DIAP progress report,” March 10) reflected a misunderstanding of Brown’s efforts to diversify its faculty.

The progress made in significantly increasing the number of regular faculty hires in the 2015-16 academic year is indicative of the intentional and highly focused efforts made by academic departments, in collaboration with the Dean of the Faculty, Dean of the Medical School, Dean of the School of Public Health and the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, to conduct outreach and recruitment efforts that have resulted in diversifying candidate pools for faculty searches.

However, it is not accurate to use faculty hiring numbers to calculate faculty composition, as the article does. Faculty hiring data reflect the outcome of faculty searches done in any given year. Therefore, while faculty from historically underrepresented groups may have been hired in that period of time, it isn’t necessarily reflected in the faculty composition data if these faculty opt for a later start date at Brown. Faculty composition data in any given academic year reflect the head counts of faculty in the fall semester when these data are reported.

Mechanisms such as the Presidential Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship Programs, Young Scholars Conferences and other departmental-specific academic pipeline diversity initiatives will allow us to increasingly identify highly promising and outstanding scholars from historically underrepresented groups who will now and in the future be able to be hired into faculty positions at Brown.

The two Presidential Diversity Postdoctoral Fellows from Brown’s first cohort were hired into assistant professor positions, which are tenure-track faculty positions.

Liza Cariaga-Lo

Vice President for Academic Development, Diversity and Inclusion