JEADI among UNM Faculty
UNM is working to increase diversity of faculty from underrepresented racial/ethnic minority (URM) groups and women, including URM women in STEM (with focus on engineering, and physical and mathematical sciences). In order to better coordinate and communicate justice, equity, accessibility diversity, and inclusion (JEADI) efforts across colleges, in Fall 2019, UNM Vice President for Equity and Inclusion (VPEI) Dr. Zerai established the Liaisons for Equity, Advocacy, and Diversity (LEAD) council.
LEAD is a council of associate deans for diversity or associated positions (recognizing that colleges vary in size and structure) that represent each of the academic colleges on main/ABQ campus; ex-officio members are also invited from Academic Affairs, the Health Sciences Center and UNM Branch campuses, and DEI. The LEAD council’s charge is to work to increase and enhance faculty JEADI at UNM, with a focus on tenure-system faculty. Minimum criteria for LEAD council membership is a demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion. LEAD council college representatives serve on their respective dean’s executive leadership team.
VPEI and the LEAD council created a plan for increasing Underrepresented Racial/Ethnic Minority (URM) tenure-system faculty at UNM. This plan started with a several-months long discussion to set preliminary goals for minority faculty composition at UNM. The dashboard, a mechanism for tracking each college’s progress in increasing faculty diversity, includes approved goals. It can be found here: http://oia.unm.edu/facts-and-figures/dei-benchmarking-goals.html
After establishing goals, we designed the following strategy to improve overall composition of URM faculty at UNM. VPEI worked with LEAD to identify challenges to building and sustaining faculty diversity. These included:
- implicit bias in hiring,
- the need for a roadmap to the professoriate for underrepresented racial/ethnic minority (URM, to include individuals who are Native American, Black, and Latinx) postdocs and visiting scholars through a revitalized postdoc program,
- the need for bridge funding to support tenure-track faculty hiring of URM and women in STEM (with focus on mathematical and physical sciences, and engineering), and
- the need for resources to help retain faculty and support their scholarly endeavors.
DEI established several resources to address each of these challenges. They include:
- Making the DiversityEdu online course available to faculty search committee members; this online course which provides implicit bias awareness and mitigation strategies, along with tools for implementing diversity-competent searches, and is required for faculty research committee members starting AY21);
- Establishing the Inclusive Excellence Postdoc and Visiting Scholars Program; the central feature of this new program draws from the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD) resources and other best practices to require a substantive mentoring plan; the program also provides incentives to senior faculty to receive diversity education, so they will be more effective mentors to postdocs and junior faculty (for main campus tenure-granting departments);
- Establishing Inclusive Excellence bridge funding to support hiring of URM tenure-track faculty (main campus); the hiring program also requires a substantive mentoring plan, as mentioned above; and
- Purchasing the annual National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity institutional membership (available university-wide, including HSC and branches), including offering Faculty Success Program (FSP) Scholarships; FSP is a 12-week boot camp that promotes and guides participants in practicing empirically tested methods to improve research productivity through intense accountability, coaching, and peer support; FSP scholarships from DEI are available to main campus and HSC tenure-system faculty; NCFDD provides resources and support for extraordinary research productivity and work-life balance. For more information, see https://diverse.unm.edu/affiliate-resources/faculty/nfcdd-faculty-success-program.htm