Update on Faculty Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives

December 17, 2021

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community,

As we near the close of the fall semester, it is heartening to reflect on our ongoing progress strengthening faculty diversity and inclusion, an area critical to our sustained excellence.

As President Bollinger noted in October, this year we welcomed the most racially and ethnically diverse cohort of new tenure and tenure-track faculty hires in Columbia’s history (26% of new faculty are Black, Latinx, or Native). And with 47% of tenure and tenure-track hires identifying as women, the gender diversity of this cohort was the second highest in our history.

Our ongoing efforts to build a more representative and inclusive faculty continue to gain momentum, spearheaded by the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement. As part of the larger Faculty Diversity Initiative, I am pleased to announce awardees of a number of competitive programs:

  • Faculty Recruitments in Race and Racism Scholarship
  • Provost’s Grants Program for Junior Faculty who Contribute to the Diversity Goals of the University
  • Addressing Racism: A Call to Action for Columbia Seed Grants, and
  • Inclusive Faculty Pathways Initiative’s Provost's Postdoctoral Research Scientist and Scholar Program.

Faculty Recruitments in Race and Racism Scholarship
The Faculty Cluster Hire Initiative, launched in 2020, invited schools to submit proposals for recruiting outstanding tenured and tenure-track faculty engaged in race and racism scholarship. This cohort can be instrumental in the strengthening of cross-disciplinary and cross-school collaborations regarding race and racism. Six pending recruitments were authorized in fall 2021: the School of Social Work (2); and, in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Anthropology (1); the Department of Psychology (1); the Department of Religion (1); and the Department of Sociology (1)

Provost’s Grants Program for Junior Faculty who Contribute to the Diversity Goals of the University
This program offers grant support to further the scholarship of outstanding junior faculty who contribute to the diversity goals of the University by their research, teaching, and mentoring activities. The fall 2021 junior faculty grants awardees are listed below. We congratulate them and look forward to their continued success.

Elham Azizi (Irving Institute for Cancer Dynamics and Biomedical Engineering)
Machine Learning for Characterizing Spatial Dynamics in Tumor Tissues

Sorcha Brophy (Health Policy and Management)
Negotiating Health Care Coverage for Foster Youth: A Pilot Study

Maya Deyssenroth (Environmental Health Sciences)
Predictive Biomarkers of Cerebrovascular Health among Women who Experienced Preeclampsia during Pregnancy

David Kalfa (Surgery)
A Softrobotics Sensing and Actuating Cardiac Compression Sleeve for a Personalized Treatment of Heart Failure in Children and Adults

Cynthia Rush (Statistics)
Machine Learning Methods for Robust Data Analysis

Gerard Torrats-Espinosa (Sociology)
The Impact of Workplace Diversity on Police Officer Behavior: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from the Chicago Police Department

Yamil Velez (Political Science)
A Descriptive and Causal Analysis of Latino-Targeted Misinformation

Samantha Winter (Social Work)
Water Is Life: Exploring Women’s Resilience in the Face of Water Scarcity and Inequalities in Informal Settlements in Nairobi, Kenya

Addressing Racism: A Call to Action for Columbia Seed Grants
The Office of the Provost invited proposals from faculty for seed grant funding for projects designed to address structural racism. This initiative supports projects that contribute to collaborative dialogue, action, and insight for systemic change towards racial equity. We are tremendously grateful for the support of the Board of Trustees, who made generous contributions to fund the inaugural cohort of projects last year. The fall 2021 Addressing Racism Seed Grant recipients are:

Marcel Agueros (Astronomy), Frances Negron-Muntaner (English and Comparative Literature and Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race), and Kevin Fellezs (Music and African American and African Diaspora Studies)
The Sky Is For Everyone, The Land Isn’t

Hisham Aidi (International and Public Affairs)
Queen Mother of Harlem: The Story of Sister Aisha

Erica Avrami (Historic Preservation), Jorge Otero-Pailos (Architecture, Planning and Preservation), and Andrew Dolkart (Architecture, Planning and Preservation)
Pedagogy, Place, and Publics: An Equity Analysis of GSAPP Historic Preservation Studios

Carolyn Barley Britton (Neurology) and Wendy Vargas (Neurology)
Health Equity Rounds: Mitigating implicit racial bias through real-life cases

Sorcha Brophy (Health Policy and Management)
Assessing Capacity for Racial Equity Work in Health Care Organizations: A Pilot Grant

Kellie Bryant (Nursing) and David Wang (Anesthesiology)
A Simulation-Based Education Pipeline Summer Program to Introduce Diverse High School Students to Careers in Health Care

Marina Catallozzi (Pediatrics and Population and Family Health) and Amanda Esteves (Pediatrics)
Enhancing the Reach and Scope of the Pediatric Diversity and Inclusion Council Curriculum

Trudi Cloyd (Emergency Medicine) and Robert Fullilove (Sociomedical Sciences)
Just Care in the Justice System: Educating medical and dental trainees to be advocates for the care of incarcerated and undocumented patients

Frank Guridy (History and African American and African Diaspora Studies)
Black Lives in the Diaspora: Past / Present / Future

Christine Hendon (Electrical Engineering) and Helen Lu (Biomedical Engineering)
In these Hallowed Halls - Alumni Showcase Project

Patrice Malone (Psychiatry) and Claude Mellins (Psychiatry and Sociomedical Sciences)
Bold Conversations Program

Daniel Neghassi (Medicine)
Multi-Tiered Care: Investigating How Segregated Care Manifests at Academic Medical Centers 

Wendy Vargas (Neurology) and Minnelly Vasquez (Neurology)
Mentorship Support Groups for Black, Indigenous, People of Color Medical Professionals

Inclusive Faculty Pathways Initiative
This new initiative creates opportunities for talented students from underrepresented groups to pursue Columbia's graduate programs, with particular emphasis on pathways toward the professorate. This fall, we invited schools to apply for funding to recruit outstanding postdoctoral scholars from underrepresented groups through the Provost's Postdoctoral Research Scientist and Scholar Program. The awards have been granted to the following units: the Division of Natural Sciences in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences; the Department of Biomedical Engineering; the Departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering; Columbia Climate School; Columbia Law School; and the Columbia School of Social Work.

I am delighted to recognize our awardees and the progress they help us make toward building a more diverse and inclusive community of scholars.

Please join Dennis A. Mitchell, Executive Vice President for University Life and Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement, and me in congratulating the recipients of these awards.


Mary C. Boyce
Professor of Mechanical Engineering