On Thursday, June 2, junior faculty joined Columbia University leaders at Faculty House for a long-overdue luncheon.
June 27, 2022
On Thursday, June 2, junior faculty joined Columbia University leaders at Faculty House for a long-overdue luncheon. Hosted by the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement, the event brought together 31 recipients of the Grants Program for Junior Faculty who Contribute to the Diversity Goals of the University. They enjoyed conversation with members of the Board of Trustees, Provost Mary Boyce, Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement and EVP for University Life Dennis Mitchell, Senior Vice President for Faculty Affairs and Career Development at CUIMC and Vice Dean for Academic Affairs at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons Anne Taylor, and other administrators.
In her opening remarks to the awardees, Provost Boyce noted that the grants “are just a small token of support, a vote of confidence in your accomplishments, and a reflection of our belief in your future success. Columbia’s institutional excellence is astounding, but it is built by individual scholars like you, seeking to grow, stretch, and innovate across virtually every field and discipline imaginable.”
Originally conceived in collaboration with Trustee Claire Shipman, the luncheon provides a unique opportunity for awardees to speak with Trustees about their work. In sharing their projects, faculty connect with their colleagues from other schools and departments, often sparking enduring relationships.
“I am so glad that not only are we in person again, but we have brought together faculty from six cohorts, from fall 2019 to spring 2022, for this momentous celebration,” remarked Dr. Mitchell. Though there were more attendees than usual, guests were seated at smaller tables, enabling more intimate conversations. “It was a wonderful opportunity for [the grantees] to connect across disciplines,” noted Trustee Kathy Surace-Smith, “I would not be surprised if some collaborations grew out of those conversations!”
Faculty attendees echoed these sentiments. 2019 Junior Faculty Grant recipient and assistant professor of computer science Lydia Chilton said, “I learned about how people in other fields conduct research, and found points of similarity.” In describing her project’s goals, she added, “I always try to find more ways to get women involved in computer science, often by applying artificial intelligence to writing and artists’ tasks.” She describes her project, AI Tools for Human Productivity, in a 2020 interview with the Faculty Advancement team.
Offered twice per year, the grants program offers awards of up to $30,000 to early-career untenured faculty who have demonstrated a commitment to diversity as demonstrated in their research, teaching, or mentoring activities. Funds can be used to support research assistance, computational resources, procurement of research materials, professional development, equipment, supplies, travel to scholarly meetings or to conduct research, and supplies. Since its inception in 2012, the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement has funded nearly 200 projects.
The next round of faculty grants will be announced this fall. Learn more about the Grants Program for Junior Faculty who Contribute to the Diversity Goals of the University here.