Office of the Provost


To: Deans and Regional Campus Presidents
From: James V. Maher
Re: Faculty Diversity
Date: March 29, 2002

The University of Pittsburgh has a strong tradition of commitment to faculty diversity, in terms of both racial and gender diversity. Last year, I appointed an ad hoc committee of deans to help us better achieve our ambitious diversity goals in hiring faculty. This committee drafted a report expressing our core values on diversity, and I am sharing the essence of that report with you because it echoes and underscores the deep commitment that Chancellor Nordenberg, Senior Vice Chancellor Levine, and I hold to diversity at the University of Pittsburgh.

We know that a diverse faculty provides substantial tangible benefits to all our students, allowing them to participate in a rich educational experience that includes exposure to diverse perspectives, role models, and mentors. Through this type of educational experience, our students will be better able to live and work effectively in a society that continually grows more diverse and inclusive.

A diverse faculty is also essential for the University's full engagement in the community of scholars. Cutting-edge scholarship and the growth of knowledge depend on discussion and debate incorporating multiple perspectives, theories, and approaches. By nurturing a diverse group of scholars, the University can participate fully in current scholarly discussions and activities, sustaining and improving our academic reputation.

A diverse faculty enhances the University's reputation among other key constituencies: students are attracted to an institution of higher learning that offers opportunities to learn from a diverse faculty; key funders, especially governmental agencies, place a high value on diversity; and employers increasingly demand graduates who have studied, confronted, and appreciated diverse points of view. Only by aggressively recruiting and retaining a diverse faculty can the University meet the demands of these important constituencies.

Because a diverse faculty provides substantial benefits, and thus is essential to the University's well being and advancement, you are asked each year to address this need in your annual plans. You are also asked each time you run a faculty search to account in a specific way for your efforts to run an inclusive search; I will continue to refuse to approve results of faculty searches that are not inclusive in their scope and effort.

I recognize that a one-size-fits-all University strategy for recruiting and retaining minority and women faculty will not work. Each unit faces distinct market conditions in recruiting and retaining faculty. Therefore, in order to pursue aggressively the goal of a diverse faculty, each unit must develop specific, pragmatic, and effective strategies for recruiting and retaining minority and women faculty members. Accordingly, I will continue to require that annual plans contain a substantive discussion of your diversity initiatives.

In developing your unit's specific strategies, please understand that I hold the following expectations:

1. Deans and other top administrators will embrace an active
leadership role in recruiting and retaining colleagues who add to the diversity of our faculty.

2. Deans and faculty appointments committees will actively, creatively and aggressively identify and pursue historically underrepresented candidates for faculty positions, refusing to move searches forward without first making every effort possible to include potentially qualified minority and women candidates.

3. Units will develop specific employment assistance strategies for spouses and partners.

4. Units will actively use doctoral programs to develop historically
underrepresented students, particularly African Americans and women, for the professorate at the University or at other institutions of higher education.

5. Administration and faculty will establish and nurture mentoring
programs designed to promote success and to fully integrate minority and women faculty members into the academic community.

6. Administration and faculty will create a scholarly, intellectual and social environment that would be attractive to a diverse faculty and a diverse student body.

7. Deans will commit the salary funds necessary to effectively
recruit and retain a diverse faculty.

8. Deans will create and apply scholarly support programs and will support flexible leave policies designed to meet the needs of all faculty members.

9. Deans and senior faculty will provide historically underrepresented faculty members opportunities to play key roles on important committees and in administration, consistent with their own development as scholars and teachers.

10. Academic administrators and senior faculty will provide support to historically underrepresented faculty in their interactions with students, especially in regard to any University constituents who do not value diversity or who are not sensitive to issues of difference.

I ask that you share and discuss the foregoing set of expectations with members of your leadership team. I have attached to this memo a document listing not only these expectations but also some examples of positive and specific strategies identified by the Ad hoc Working Group on Diversity as
already being enacted by your colleagues here at the University. The examples offered are not meant to be exhaustive, but to give you and your team a basis for developing strategies best suited for ensuring that your particular unit has a diverse faculty.

Finally, I wish to thank the members of the Ad hoc Working Group on Diversity whose thoughtful deliberations and discussions provided the groundwork for this letter: Elizabeth Baranger, Vice Provost for Graduate Studies; N. John Cooper, Dean of the Faculty and College of Arts and Sciences; Jack Daniel, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Interim Vice Provost and Dean of Students; David Herring, Dean of the School of Law; Gerald Holder, USX Dean of the School of Engineering; and Rick Winter, Dean of the Katz Graduate School of Business and the College of Business Administration.


cc: Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg
Senior Vice Chancellor, Health Sciences and Dean of Medicine
Arthur S. Levine
Provost's Senior Staff

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