College to hire new associate provost for diversity

Interviews to begin in spring semester

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If you follow job listings as closely as The Weekly does, you might have noticed a new one pop up recently.

And no worries if not, we can catch you up.

The new position is entitled: the Associate Provost for Faculty and Diversity Initiatives (APFDI), which is an extension of the Associate Dean for Diversity Initiatives which is currently held by Dr. Brian Mello.

This has developed from when Dr. James Peck, a professor in the Theatre Department, was Dean a couple years ago when the position was first established. Peck did a lot of “heavy lifting” to make the role what it is today, described current Dean Dr. Mello.

As best explained by Mello, “When Dr. Peck took on the role it was a very formative process… I am not beginning and implementing. There is a clear process for hiring and recruiting faculty, including addressing implicit biases in the hiring process and a whole training program [that exists as well]… [Dr. Peck] had to implement this process, I get to sustain it.”

The new associate provost will be an extension of the current position. Their chief responsibility will be the coordination of faculty searches and overseeing the training for in-coming and current professors
on diversity issues.

The new Associate provost will be an extension of the current position.

“The new position takes all of the associate Dean’s responsibilities, clarifies and expands some of those having to do with diversity, but then the focus is on the faculty,” the College’s Provost, Dr. Kathy Harring explained.

“There is a focus on faculty, development, on inclusive pedagogy [the method of teaching, especially in an academic setting], dialogue, partnering with admissions, and multicultural life and supporting the Emerging Leaders and position will support adjunct faculty,” Harring said.

The search committee will be composed of Harring, Robin Riley-Casey, Dr. Paul Murphy, a representative from the Faculty Center for Teaching, a representative from PDAC, and Bruce Anderson the dean of Academic Life and Equity Advocate, as well as Lori Flatto, who serves as an administrative assistant.

The committee is starting to vet applications, and will begin skype interviews in January. This will be followed up by on-campus site visits in January and February, which will include the opportunity for student input, interaction, and evaluation with candidates.

Harring sees this position as serving the role of a connector within the community.

The search committee will be looking at applicants both inside and outside of the campus community. As described by Dr. Harring, the team is “targeting professional organizations where they would be getting a diverse pool.”

One of the primary tasks of the Dean, which will transfer over to the APFDI, is overseeing the implementation of the five-year diversity plan and chairing the President’s Diversity Advisory Council (PDAC). Robin Riley-Casey, the director of Multicultural Life, Dr. Mello and Harring agree that progress has been made towards achieving some goals set out in the plan, while also recognizing there is much more that still needs to be done. The implementation and growth of this role will also hopefully galvanize progress.

Overall, Harring sees this position as serving the role of a connector within the community. As such, they are ultimately “looking for someone who can integrate and connect because those connections really matter.”

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