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UC Investing $40 Million in Faculty Diversity Initiatives


Targeted investments highlight the university's commitment to building excellence through support for diversity in its many forms.

Date: 12/7/2015 12:00:00 AM
By: Elissa Yancey
Phone: (513) 556-4350
Photos By: UC Creative Services

UC ingot   As a part of the University of Cincinnati’s Creating Our Third Century plan, UC is investing more than $40 million in building, supporting and sustaining faculty diversity through the Strategic Hiring Opportunity Program, dual career assistance and a cluster hiring initiative.

The Strategic Hiring Opportunity Program launched in 2013 to recruit underrepresented minority faculty to the university. With bridge funding from the Provost and support and leadership from the college deans, 26 underrepresented minority faculty members have joined the campus community. Another 11 faculty members have been welcomed to UC as a result of the Dual Career Assistance Program, which provides bridge funding for faculty members’ partners who are also seeking faculty careers.

Strategic Hiring
Bill McMillin, Prince Ellis, Maria-Paz Moreno, Eric Tepe and Holly Jones represent the power of the Provost's faculty diversity initiatives.

“These programs enable us to be successful in highly competitive searches for faculty who bring diversity to our campus in a variety of ways,” said UC Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Beverly Davenport, who has made faculty diversity a major focus since her arrival at UC in 2013. “With substantial funding in place, we fully expect to build on the momentum of these programs and continue to hire at this aggressive pace."

This month, Provost Davenport announced a new, $4 million investment in hiring six tenured faculty members whose research, teaching and scholarship will focus on opportunities and challenges facing urban areas. Known as Urban Futures, this new cluster of faculty will focus on issues critical to urban centers such as: race or racism, social (in)justice, educational inequality or access, health disparities, housing, poverty, urban policing and other topics relevant to cities and urban living. 

“Certainly, the political, cultural, socio-economic, systemic and legal aspects of any of these or related topics are important issues of scholarly consideration,” Davenport noted.

In an innovative twist, UC’s Urban Futures cluster includes a new corresponding investment in student support. Each of the six faculty hires in the Urban Futures cluster will be supported by a fully funded Urban Scholar Graduate Fellow and Urban Scholar Undergraduate Research Assistant. 

In addition to accelerating the impact of the Urban Futures cluster, the active intellectual engagement of these 12 students each year has powerful potential to:

  • increase the interest of students in becoming future faculty 
  • reinforce UC’s commitment to a more inclusive, more representative reality in higher education in general
  • accelerate work that specifically addresses urban problems 
  • demonstrate UC’s dedication to building on excellence by championing diversity in its many forms.

These hiring efforts are all part of UC's more comprehensive Third Century excellence agenda. 

The Urban Futures cluster is the newest focus in the Cluster Hiring Program launched last year to support new and existing faculty cohorts dedicated to solving some of the world’s biggest challenges through interdisciplinary collaborations. Each cluster consists of approximately six faculty hires. Four areas were initially identified for investment: cancer, water, analytics and digital media. Notably, cluster hiring is a proven strategy for diversifying faculty.  

“We know that competition for diverse faculty members is keen, but we also know that a critical mass of diverse scholars brings to our classrooms, laboratories, creative spaces and research agendas a much broader, richer array of inquiries, insights, discoveries and perspectives,” Davenport said. “We also know that a diverse faculty will help lead the way in our ability to analyze, understand, appreciate and engage difference in all of its many and multi-faceted forms.”

With the approval of the dean, department heads may submit a proposal for funds to hire a tenured faculty member with scholarly expertise in urban areas and the challenges they face for consideration for Urban Futures Cluster hiring support. Submissions should be directed to Professor Damion Waymer, associate provost for Faculty Development and Diversity.