Formation of Provost’s Advisory Council for the Enhancement of Faculty Diversity

Dear Columbia Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce the formation of the Provost’s Advisory Council for the Enhancement of Faculty Diversity, a group that will play a central role in the continuing implementation of the Faculty and Pipeline Diversity Program that President Bollinger and I announced in April.

The goal of this program is to attract, advance and retain a diverse faculty of outstanding female and underrepresented minority scholars who more closely reflect the composition of national pools of qualified candidates in their respective disciplines.  The Faculty and Pipeline Diversity Program is backed by a shared financial commitment of $30 million, comprised of $15 million from the University’s central budget matched by contributions from individual schools.

The Advisory Council members will assess progress under the Faculty and Pipeline Diversity Program; suggest ways to strengthen it; and review proposals emerging from Columbia’s schools and academic departments for using the Program’s available funds.  After working for several months to establish the Program, we are now considering a rich group of proposals for adding to the diversity of our faculty, postdoctoral scholars and doctoral students.  With the support and guidance provided by the Advisory Council, I expect this progress to accelerate.

Council members will also recommend approaches to enhance the presence, prominence and role of women and underrepresented minorities in campus leadership positions; advise on the design and implementation of programs to enhance the career success of junior faculty; suggest possible ways of expanding the scope of diversity efforts; and provide guidance on diversity-related public lectures, symposia and other events.  Moreover, they will join me in championing the University’s diversity mission within their academic units, across campus and among external stakeholders. 

I want to thank the 14 members of the Advisory Council for their willingness to serve on the Council.  Individually, each possesses a deep commitment to advancing faculty diversity at Columbia; collectively, they represent the enormous breadth of Columbia’s academic community.  The members are:

Anke A. Ehrhardt, PhD
Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons

Andrew R. Davidson, PhD, MBA
Office of the Provost
Department of Population and Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health

Nabila El-Bassel, PhD
School of Social Work

Ruben L. Gonzalez, Jr., PhD
Department of Chemistry, Arts & Sciences

Fredrick Harris, PhD
Department of Political Science, Arts & Sciences
Director, Institute for Research in African-American Studies

Saidiya Hartman, PhD
Department of English and Comparative Literature, Arts & Sciences
Director, Institute for Research on Women & Gender

Helen H. Lu, PhD
Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science
College of Dental Medicine

Dennis A. Mitchell, DDS, MPH
Office of the Dean and Division of Community Health, College of Dental Medicine

Frances Negrón-Muntaner, PhD
Department of English and Comparative Literature, Arts & Sciences
Director, Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race

Jorge Otero-Pailos, PhD
Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation

Katherine W. Phillips, PhD
Columbia Business School

Elizabeth S. Scott, JD
Columbia Law School

Kenneth Shepard, PhD
Departments of Electrical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science

Anne L. Taylor, MD
Office of the Dean and Department of Medicine, College of Physicians & Surgeons

I would like to express my personal appreciation to each of the Advisory Council members for joining me in this essential work.

Sincerely,

John H. Coatsworth
Provost