Diversity at Pitt

Recruiting and Retention of a Diverse Faculty

The Office of the Provost seeks to provide access to key resources and services to strengthen the recruitment, advancement, and retention of a world-class, diverse faculty at the University of Pittsburgh.

Council of Deans Task Force on Enhancing Faculty Diversity

In 2011, Provost Patricia E. Beeson convened a Task Force on Enhancing Faculty Diversity. The task force was charged with developing recommendations to increase the recruitment and retention of a diverse faculty at the University of Pittsburgh. The membership included:

  • Larry E. Davis, Dean, School of Social Work (Chair)
  • Livingston Alexander, President, University of Pittsburgh at Bradford
  • Gerald Holder, Dean, Swanson School of Engineering
  • Kathy Humphrey, Vice Provost and Dean of Students
  • Ronald Larsen, Dean, School of Information Sciences
  • Alan Lesgold, Dean, School of Education
  • Carol Mohamed, Director, Office of Affirmative Action, Diversity, & Inclusion
  • Alberta Sbragia, Vice Provost for Graduate Studies

Among the recommendations of the Task Force are mentoring programs for faculty, diversity training, and the formation of standing diversity committees at the unit level to focus on the recruitment and retention of a diverse faculty. These and other recommendations have been (or are being) implemented. For example, the standing diversity committees have been formed at each school and regional campus. The chairs of the standing diversity committees meet with the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, Development, and Diversity to share information, experiences, and best practices. For more information, contact Amy Tuttle at atuttle@pitt.edu.

Pitt Participating in IDEAL-N Grant on Gender Equity

Case Western Reserve University has received an IDEAL-N grant from the National Science Foundation to seed and institutionalize gender equity transformation in science and engineering disciplines by creating a networked learning community. The University of Pittsburgh has joined this effort as a partner institution, along with nine other academic institutions in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Each partner institution was asked to identify a core change team of three faculty who could serve as the project co-director, a change leader, and a social scientist. Serving in those roles for Pitt are Professors Laurie Kirsch (Office of the Provost) as co-director, Anne Robertson (Swanson School of Engineering) as change leader, and Kris Kanthak (Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences) as social scientist. The core team works broadly with others throughout the University of Pittsburgh to advance the IDEAL-N effort.

As a partner institution in this exciting initiative, Pitt is participating in a three-year effort to identify and implement specific change efforts related to gender equality for faculty in science and engineering. The specific focus of Pitt’s project is to build a culture that encourages and supports the professional development and career progression of mid-career women faculty. Pitt is committed to creating an environment of encouragement and support to propel mid-career women faculty to their fullest potential.

The IDEAL-N project seeks to strengthen the culture at the University of Pittsburgh for women faculty in STEM disciplines (and by extension for all faculty) through collaboration with academic units and University committees such as PACWC. This means recognizing, and creating awareness about, the contributions of women faculty; providing opportunities for networking, interactions, and interdisciplinary collaborations among women faculty; removing barriers that slow the career progression of women faculty; supporting efforts to achieve work-life balance; and developing and offering a wide range of professional development programs designed to support personal growth and career progression. Ultimately, the goal is to strengthen the retention of women faculty in STEM disciplines and improve faculty satisfaction with the workplace.

Research on Efforts to Advance Women of Color

The Office of the Provost is sponsoring a project at Pitt that is part of a larger national effort to do research in the area of advancing girls and women of color. The national effort was initiated by Melissa Harris Perry at Wake Forest, which was followed by a meeting at the White House that launched the national effort. Pitt’s project focuses on the theme of increasing women of color in STEM. The project is entering its second year of the five-year project.

Pitt will focus on the theme of increasing women of color in STEM+ (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics + quantitative disciplines such as Economics) graduate studies, with the ultimate goal of increasing the number of women of color in faculty positions, who can in turn mentor the next generation of female students of color. In order to accomplish this, the project will study and refine an existing program that nurtures and supports underrepresented students in the transition into graduate programs. The project’s central research question is: How can we most effectively prepare women of color for success in graduate programs in STEM+ disciplines that will allow them to transition to positions of influence for the next generation?

The project will build its initiative around an existing program here at Pitt, called the Hot Metal Bridge Program. The Hot Metal Bridge Program (HMB) is a post-baccalaureate program that was established by the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences in the 2010-2011 academic year to prepare minority students and women to enter a PhD program in fields in which these groups are currently underrepresented. HMB students are recruited for 6 STEM+ programs (Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, Neuroscienc,e and Psychology), plus English. As of Fall 2016, there have been 56 students in the program, of which 46 (86 percent) are women. Of the 40 women who have completed the HMB program, 22 entered PhD programs and 5 entered master’s programs. This current project will commit to expanding the HMB program to include greater numbers of women of color, understanding the keys to success through research involving the program, and documenting the project’s findings to share with other universities nationally.

Reports and Resources

Upcoming Events

Please check back for upcoming events!

Past Offerings

Provost's Diversity Institute for Faculty Development 2017

The 2017 Provost’s Diversity Institute for Faculty Development was created to offer University of Pittsburgh faculty the opportunity to increase awareness about diversity and develop the skills needed to teach in a diverse, multicultural environment. Whether it’s expanding your diversity mindfulness in classroom discussions or designing learning activities that incorporate a variety of perspectives, this institute is appropriate for any full- or part-time faculty member who wants to deepen their teaching practice.

Seminars on Race and Gender in Teaching

  • What White Institutions Can Learn from Hispanic-Serving Institutions
    May 2017
    Gina Garcia, School of Education
  • Identity Politics in the Classroom
    May 2017
    Gabby Yearwood, Dept. of Anthropology, Dept. of Gender, Sexuality, & Women’s Studies
  • The Conversation Crisis: Managing Your Bias, Facilitating Conversations, and Finding Common Ground in the Classroom
    May 2017
    Mary Margaret Kerr, School of Education
    Joe Horne, University Center for Teaching and Learning
  • Teaching Race to College Students—2017 Black/White Update
    June 2017
    Ralph Bangs, University Center for International Studies

Students and Poverty

  • How Socioeconomic Factors Shape Student Learning and What We Can Do
    May 2017
    Lori Delale-O’Connor, Center for Urban Education
    Gerald Dickinson, School of Law
    Ken Regal, Just Harvest
    Elizabeth Votruba-Drzal, Dept. of Psychology

Transformative Intergroup Dialogue Workshop

May 2017
Mario C. Browne and Erika Gold Kestenberg, Pitt Intergroup Dialogue Collaborative

Understanding Our Students Series

This series focused on understanding the intersection of various identities within the student experience. Faculty had the chance to hear what Pitt students have to say about these important topics, and to reflect on what it means for their teaching practice. Each workshop featured a faculty facilitator and a panel of Pitt students.

  • Understanding the Background and Academic Preparation of Students from Chinese Cultures
    May 2017
    Meiyi Song, University Center for Teaching and Learning
  • Political Diversity in the Classroom
    May 2017
    Andrew Lotz, Dept. of Political Science and Assistant Dean of Arts & Sciences
  • Muslim Student Perspectives
    May 2017
    Jeanette Jouili, Dept. of Religious Studies
  • Students on the Autism Spectrum
    June 2017
    Shaun Eack, School of Social Work

“How Bias Creeps into Decision Making and How to Minimize Its Impact” Workshop Series

Recruiting an Excellent and Diverse Faculty: Mitigating the Effects of Implicit Bias in Decision-Making

February 2017
In this session, Dr. Blee presented a protocol developed by the Dietrich School Diversity Committee to mitigate the effect of implicit bias in faculty recruiting and graduate student admissions. The workshop was led by Dr. Kathleen Blee, Associate Dean, Chair of the Diversity Committee, and Distinguished Professor of Sociology, Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences. View a video recording of her workshop here.

Understanding Unconscious Bias

January 2017
Bias is part of being human. In our faculty roles as teachers, researchers, and academic leaders, it is critical to understand our biases, identify how these biases affect our judgments and decision making, and develop strategies to overcome our biases. In this workshop participants reviewed the research on bias, identified how bias can creep into our judgments and decision making, and developed strategies for overcoming bias. The workshop was led by Dr. Ann Thompson, Vice Dean of the University School of Medicine and Professor of Critical Care Medicine and Pediatrics. Dr. Thompson is a certified trainer on unconscious bias and in leading this workshop used examples and exercises in a very interactive format.

“Are You Aware?” with Theater Delta

November 2016
This interactive theater performance explored obstacles in increasing diversity in faculty hiring. Participants viewed a faculty recruiting scene, interacted with the actors, and participated in a facilitated discussion about implicit bias. Questions explored in this workshop included: "How does implicit and unconscious bias operate?" and "How can we improve search outcomes through a better understanding of bias?"

Examining Implicit Bias in Faculty Recruiting

November 2015
The Office of the Provost presented "Are You Aware? - Examining Implicit Bias in Faculty Recruiting." This illuminating event featured Theater Delta, a North Carolina-based theater company that uses interactive theater for social change. They used scripted and improvisational audience participatory theater to promote dialogue and to offer solutions addressing how implicit and unconscious bias may influence faculty search committee selections. Participants in "Are You Aware?" witnessed a scene about the hiring of a STEM faculty member, had an opportunity to interact with and question the characters in the scene, and then took part in a facilitated discussion about the issues raised.

An Inclusive Classroom: Practical Lessons and Techniques for Constructing a Truly Open Learning Environment for LGBTQIA Students

June 2016
What does it mean to create a truly inclusive classroom with respect to students' sexual orientations and gender identities. This interactive workshop explored this question in depth, through the lens of the most current scholarship in LGBTQIA college student identity, needs, and experiences. Creative application of proven strategies (including classroom practices, curricular integration, and tools for responding effectively to bias) that can be used in any discipline will be demonstrated. Together, we envisioned and enacted ways that LGBTQIA students and their allies can experience an enhanced sense of belonging in the classroom, toward their persistence and success.

Intergroup Dialogue Training

May 2016
Designed to provide the foundational skills and knowledge necessary to facilitate multicultural group interactions, Intergroup Dialogue Training develops basic group facilitation skills through theoretical and experiential learning on topics such as group dynamics, conflict intervention, intergroup communication, and community building. Participants engaged in discussions, activities, and readings focused on prejudice, stereotyping, privilege, oppression, social identity, and group development.

Film Viewing and Discussion: "What's Race Got To Do With It?"

April 2016
"What's Race Got To Do With It?" is a 49-minute documentary film that goes beyond identity politics, celebratory history, and interpersonal relations to consider social disparities and their impact on student success in today's post-Civil Rights world. Pitt's Mario Browne and Paula Davis led a discussion after the film.

“Can I Be of Any Help?” An Interactive Theatre Performance on Race Relations in the Classroom and an Interactive Workshop

November 2015
Destination Diversity presented an interactive theater workshop entitled "Can I Be of Any Help?" Facilitated by Dr. Ben Saypol, this workshop focused on navigating race relations in the university classroom. Participants actively engaged in a lively session covering topics such as intersecting identities and privilege, micro-aggressions and stereotypes based on implicit bias, intent vs. impact, bystander intervention, faculty intervention, self-segregation, and campus resources. This popular workshop focused on the complexities and challenges of inclusion in the college classroom as well as best practices faculty can use.

Diversity in the Curriculum and Inclusion in the Classroom

The Office of the Provost values diversity and inclusion. We seek to increase the capacity of all University of Pittsburgh faculty to create an inclusive teaching and learning environment, which encourages learning about diversity issues and diffusing diversity in the curriculum, and emphasizes mutual respect and appreciation of differences across the Pitt community.

In 2015, Provost Patricia E. Beeson convened a task force on Diversity Programming for Faculty Development. She charged the task force with building on the momentum of the Diversity 2020 Summit and past diversity programming to develop recommendations for diversity programming for faculty, which would help to diffuse diversity in the curriculum and strengthen inclusion in the classroom. How can learning activities be designed to incorporate a variety of perspectives? What skills are needed to teach in a diverse and multicultural environment? How can diversity mindfulness be expanded? How do unconscious biases affect our interactions with students? These and other questions were considered by the task force as they developed recommendations for diversity in the curriculum and inclusion in the classroom.

Provost's Diversity Institute for Faculty Development

The Provost's Diversity Institute for Faculty Development was created to offer University of Pittsburgh faculty the opportunity to increase awareness about the diversity issues on campus and develop the skills needed to teach in a diverse, multicultural environment. Whether it's expanding your diversity mindfulness in classroom discussions, or designing learning activities that incorporate a variety of perspectives, these workshops are appropriate for anyone who wants to deepen, expand, or recalibrate their teaching practice.

Reports and Resources