Letters to the Editor

Letter: Faculty diversity requires multifaceted efforts

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Friday, November 7, 2014

To the Editor:

 

In supporting colleague Professor of Neuroscience Diane Lipscombe’s letter to the editor in Thursday’s Herald (“On plans to diversify the faculty,” Nov. 6), please let me add that improving faculty diversity requires extensive practical support from the faculty in implementation.

I recall a case when we hired a former undergraduate who did very well in graduate school on the West Coast, and doubtless the senior administration ticked a checkbox for diversity. It was at a time well before the Internet, and he and I shared a phone line (we each had two), so we often answered calls for each other. There were many undergraduates who shared his skin color, but very few other faculty members did, and many students wanted his advice — so much so that it very seriously cut into the time he could give to research.

Though I’d had a very multi-national, multi-cultural undergraduate experience, it was not in this country, so there was little I could do to try to divert some of that load to myself. I was far from the only person to try to help him.

But by the time of his up-or-out faculty review, he lacked the necessary publications. Hiring is one step, like birth, but retention requires wide academic-faculty-family support to make that a fair opportunity.

 

Peter Richardson

Professor of Engineering and Physiology

One Comment

  1. I don’t give a @#$% what race or gender my math professor is.

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