University of Rochester Targets Diversity Plans for Faculty
Joel Seligman, president of the University of Rochester, has assembled a team to review internal policies and programs in an effort to recruit and retain more faculty members from underrepresented groups.
In a speech to the Faculty Senate and distributed throughout the University, the president described the goals as twofold: "to remedy the historic underrepresentation in our faculties of minorities and, in some fields, of women, and to further strengthen an academic environment characterized by excellence. . . . We believe that such improvement requires that all individuals in our community be free to explore and share their experiences and thoughts, uninhibited by prejudice or discrimination."
The University has made strides in recent years, Seligman noted, by increasing the number of women in tenured and tenure-track positions within the College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering from 8 percent in 1980 to 21 percent in 2005. In the social sciences, 48 percent of assistant professors are women, compared to the median percentage of 38 percent for peer universities within the Consortium on Financing Higher Education.
Other data, however, points to numbers that show the University lags behind its peers in the percentage of faculty from underrepresented minorities.
His February 21 announcement named a task force, chaired by Lynne Davidson, deputy to the president. Among other assignments, the group will review current procedures for hiring and promotion, and identify potential employment barriers affecting women, minorities, and others.
The task force will present findings and recommendations by October 1. For more details about President Seligman's presentation, visit www.rochester.edu/president/memos/2006/senate_february.html .