Yale Takes Collaborative Approach to Increasing Faculty Diversity

Yale University last week announced a $50 million initiative to increase diversity among its faculty population.

Yale President Peter Salovey and Provost Ben Polak are calling for university-wide participation and said the provost’s office will work with the deans of various schools to track the initiative’s impact.

“Yale’s education and research missions are propelled forward by a faculty that stands at the forefront of scholarship, research, practice, mentoring, and teaching,” Salovey and Polak said in an email to the community on Nov. 3. “An excellent faculty in all of these dimensions is a diverse faculty, and that diversity must reach across the whole of Yale — to every school and to every department.”

The Provost’s Faculty Development Fund is contributing $25 million over five years for recruitment and appointment of “faculty targets of opportunity who would enrich diversity or contribute on another dimension of strategic importance to the university,” according to a press release. Schools and departments that appoint new faculty will match the fund in resources, totaling $50 million.

The fund will also support emerging faculty development programs, which are pipeline programs designed to help Yale students and alumni transition into graduate school and eventually into faculty positions.

Additionally, Yale is implementing enhanced best practices training for faculty. Training will cover faculty searches, tenure and promotion processes, and faculty leadership building.

“We will offer a university-wide teaching academy, with special attention to challenges and strategies for women in STEM fields as well as international and underrepresented faculty,” said Salovey and Polak. “And in partnership with the School of Management, we are piloting a program to empower mid-career faculty with the skills they will need as future leaders in higher education.”

To facilitate inter-departmental collaboration and the sharing of best practices, the provost’s office is establishing a website to compile faculty diversity initiatives being utilized within various schools.

“We are committed to investing the significant funding and human capital that will be necessary to make this initiative a success,” Salovey and Polak said. “But increasing the excellence and diversity of our faculty will take more than resources; it will require the dedication and efforts of colleagues from across the university.”