Chemistry Department Awarded Provost's First Exemplary Department Award
When faculty in the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences
drafted their latest vision plan four years ago, they positioned diversity as a core priority. But they did more than draft a plan, they took aggressive action to increase the diversity of their faculty and strengthen their connections to a wide range of communities.
That action is being generously rewarded by the Office of Provost Beverly Davenport, which named Chemistry the Universitys inaugural Exemplary Department this month. The honor comes with a $40,000 award and is a part of the Provosts Third Century investments in faculty.
This year, we wanted to recognize the efforts of departments where diversity is an embedded value, transcending the classroom and extending into the community, said Provost Davenport. Im proud of what Chemistry has already done to increase excellence through diversifying its faculty and look forward to seeing how this award can further advance their important work.
Davenport noted that because there were many strong departmental nominations, her Office decided to award an additional $20,000 each to two runners-up: Physics, also out of the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, and Marketing, out of the Lindner College of Business. All three departments deserved recognition and support, she said.
Chemistry, however, illustrated the power of working at all levels to increase diversity and embrace multicultural perspectives. The department already has nearly double the number of female faculty, triple the number of African American faculty and close to quadruple the number of Hispanic faculty of its national peers. Eight of the departments last 16 faculty hires have been female, Hispanic or African-American, far exceeding national averages.
I was impressed by Chemistrys success in hiring new faculty who bring new, diverse perspectives into their labsthese faculty also serve as important role models for undergraduate and graduate students, said Damion Waymer, associate provost for Faculty Development and Diversity. Waymer noted that many of Chemistrys successful initiatives can be replicated in other departments across campus, including:
- Targeted recruiting at minority-serving institutions
- Considering diversity as an important component of departmental awards
- Looking beyond standardized test scores and using diversity as a core value when considering graduate admissions
- Supporting multicultural and community-building student initiatives, such as an international pot luck and a graduate student organization focused on cultural diversity
- Forging partnerships between high-school students and scholar-mentors to create a pipeline of young talent and opportunity