Advisory Council Welcomes New Members

The Provost's Advisory Council for the Enhancement of Faculty Diversity, which advises the Provost on faculty initiatives, welcomed three new members this fall.

Jennifer Leach
November 21, 2022

On Thursday, October 6, faculty leaders representing Schools and units across the University came together for the Fall meeting of the Provost’s Advisory Council for the Enhancement of Faculty Diversity. The 18-member group, which meets on a quarterly basis to discuss diversity initiatives, is one of seven committees that advises Provost Mary Boyce. Members serve renewable two-year terms.

Dennis Mitchell, Executive Vice President for University Life and Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement, shared his team’s annual report and quarterly faculty diversity updates and invited the chairs of the subcommittees (Inclusive Faculty Pathways; Metrics and Evaluation; LGBTQ+; and Climate) to share updates. 

Provost Boyce thanked the faculty for their consistent support and engagement, and welcomed three new members: Ana Abraído Lanza (Social Work); Olatunde Johnson (Law); and Gina Wingood (Public Health).

Head shots of Ana Abraido-Lanza, Olatunde Johnson, and Gina Wingood


​​​​​​Ana Abraído Lanza (returning member)
Professor of Social Work; Vice Dean, School of Social Work
  • Research focus: Impact of acculturation on health outcomes of Latino populations in the United States
  • Disciplinary perspective: We know that large organizations, such as universities, have norms and customs, rules, and ways of being, that might be quite unfamiliar to diverse faculty members, staff, and students, and it’s incumbent on universities to create environments that feel welcoming, where people feel that they belong, that they can make a difference.
  • The Council and the Fourth Purpose: There are great opportunities for the Council to have an even bigger reach, for example, in community engagement—making CU more accessible to community-based organizations that are doing some of the hard work with respect to providing programs and other resources to communities that are underserved and oppressed.   
  • Why I serve: I believe that higher ed is a tool and a method by which individuals can achieve their aspirations and contribute in wonderful ways towards the betterment of society.


Olatunde Johnson
Ruth Bader Ginsburg '59 Professor of Law; Co-Director, Center for Constitutional Governance; Provost's Senior Faculty Teaching Scholar
Columbia Law School
  • Research focus: Civil procedure, legislation, and anti-discrimination law
  • Disciplinary perspective: I come from a background of working on civil rights, anti-discrimination, and equity issues in the public and private sector. I've also worked on higher education affirmative action and K-12 equity issues. 
  • The Council and the Fourth Purpose: I very much value the Fourth Purpose. Elite institutions should think about their role, not just as educating, but in advancing a common good and sharing resources with other institutions. As a university, we're producing research and we're producing scholars, and the researchers and scholars should represent the full array of diversity of our national global community. Diversity is important for the quality of knowledge production and for producing leaders who can engage in problem solving in the broader world. I have sent Columbia’s Best Practices guides to other institutions. These resources are helpful not just to higher education institutions but to all institutions seeking to advance equity, be it hiring, retention, or mentoring. This shows we can produce knowledge about equity and inclusion that can serve a purpose beyond Columbia.
  • Why I serve: Having worked on hiring committees, I've seen some of the opportunities and challenges in ensuring that you have a diverse pool of faculty. How do we compose a committee? How do you assess and evaluate candidates? I have also thought a lot about mentoring. As someone who did not come into academia with a PhD, I did not have a built-in support system, and struggled at times to find mentors. Retention is also important in having a diverse faculty and the quality of the infrastructure that a university provides is really important in helping junior faculty to earn tenure.


Gina Wingood
Sidney and Helaine Lerner Professor of Public Health Promotion (in Sociomedical Sciences); Mailman School of Public Health
  • Research focus: My field of Public Health is fascinating, I am in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences, and our department examines the influence of social determinants, such as structural racism, poverty, and gender inequality on health.  The Mailman School of Public Health (MSPH) also includes the Departments of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Population and Family Health, Health Policy and Management, and Environmental Health. I also serve as the Director of the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion. The Lerner Center engages in research, education, and service activities to improve health promotion and health communication practices. My work has been heavily funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and involves, examining social determinants of HIV infections among women, and developing HIV prevention programs for diverse communities, but primarily for African American communities—adolescents, women, and families. In doing so, I don't simply design, implement, and evaluate interventions. But I work closely with diverse community partners to enhance the adoption of my prevention programs which have been disseminated nationally and globally.  This research has been facilitated by The HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral at CUIMC, where I serve as a Center Co-Director. At the Center, we work closely with communities to embrace our theme, The Science of Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic (EtE): Efficacy to Effectiveness at Scale.
  • Unique perspective: Prior to this, I served for three years on TRAC, the Tenure Review Advisory Committee. It is exciting to see how Columbia is recruiting and maintaining diverse faculty. I am interested in how faculty progress along their journey as faculty: As a university, how can we help faculty across the tenure track pipeline? Is the tenure process clear across departments? Is Columbia providing appropriate resources to facilitate the tenure process? If not, how can resources be made more readily available? As the Director of the NIH-funded T32 on Social Determinants of HIV, a pre-doctoral training program that focuses on recruiting underrepresented pre-doctoral students, I wonder what efforts at the pre-doctoral level can facilitate the tenure process.
  • How I hope to contribute: I joined the Metrics and Evaluation subcommittee. One project of this group is evaluating the work of the Faculty Seed Grants. Typically, when we evaluate impact, we often do this quantitatively, which is critical. However, it is also important to hear about faculty members’ experiences of receiving the seed grants, to learn about the impact that these grants are having on communities, and to share the powerful stories of what resulted from receiving the seed grants. I would like to contribute to this process.