Expanding CU’s Commitment to Enhancing Faculty Diversity

April 28, 2015

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community: 

Three years ago this month, we announced an investment of $30 million dedicated to enhancing the diversity of our faculty.  That University-wide initiative has helped us recruit outstanding underrepresented minority and female scholars, provided grants to junior faculty who contribute to our diversity goals, and expanded the pipeline of doctoral students.  All of Columbia’s schools have benefitted.  To sustain and expand the initiative, today we are announcing the commitment of an additional $33 million for recruitment, support, and related programs.  This is a shared commitment, with the University’s contribution matched by contributions from individual schools.

Continuing and strengthening our efforts over time is essential, for we have learned from experience that the work of building a diverse university environment does not occur quickly or simply; it requires sustained attention from all of us.  Our long-term goal has been, and remains, to achieve the critical mass of faculty needed to establish Columbia as a national leader and world center of the greatest scholarship and teaching that can only arise out of a diverse academic community.

Today’s announcement coincides with the completion of the initial three-year plans for faculty and pipeline diversity developed by the deans of our respective schools.  The resources and structure are now in place to move into the next phase of enhancing the diversity of our faculty, supporting junior faculty career success, and expanding the diversity of the PhD pipeline.  New initiatives to be launched include supporting faculty recruitments for LGBTQ scholarship and convening conferences that facilitate and give prominence to issues of race, gender, and sexuality.

We want to recognize and thank the many deans, faculty members, alumni, and administrators for their ongoing contributions and their dedication to this critically important endeavor.  Columbia will be much stronger for your efforts.


Lee C. Bollinger, President
John H. Coatsworth, Provost