Faculty Excellence and Diversity Initiative: Update on 2015-16 efforts

Date: Wednesday, September 7, 2016 
From: Ben Polak, Provost
Rick Bribiescas, Deputy Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity 
To: All Yale Faculty 
Re: Initiative for Faculty Excellence and Diversity - update 
Dear Colleagues,
Last fall we launched a five-year $50 million initiative to build on the excellence and diversity of our faculty university-wide.  We write to you today to affirm our commitment to this important initiative and to share an update on its key components. 
Recruiting exceptional faculty to Yale
Bringing exceptional faculty to Yale is the cornerstone of this initiative.  The new Provost’s Faculty Development Fund provides matching funds (a supplement of up to half the salary for three years) to support the appointments of ladder faculty who enrich diversity or contribute on another dimension of strategic importance to the university.   In this inaugural year, the initiative committed resources to support 26 ladder faculty.
As part of the initiative, we also established Presidential Visiting Professors.  These distinguished scholars and practitioners come from around the world, bringing unique research, practice, and teaching to Yale.  We are delighted to welcome 13 Presidential Visiting Professors this year.
We have been impressed by the enthusiastic participation in the initiative across the schools and departments.  In the first year, every school that submitted a request for funding received support, including the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Schools of Divinity, Drama, Engineering & Applied Science, Forestry & Environmental Studies, Law, Medicine, Music, Nursing, and Public Health.
Enhancing the pipeline
We must also expand and develop the pool of young scholars who will contribute to the excellence and diversity of future generations of faculty.  This year, in collaboration with Dean Lynn Cooley, we launched the Dean's Emerging Scholars Initiative.  This program is designed to help attract and graduate the best Ph.D. students who will enhance the diversity and excellence of the academy in the future. Fifteen incoming Ph.D. students were admitted as fellows under this program and ten additional Ph.D. students will receive competitive research awards.  The Provost’s Faculty Development Fund also provided resources to expand Yale’s post-baccalaureate programs that help promising students transition to graduate school and academic careers.
Improved faculty development offerings 
We must also invest in the faculty already at Yale.  This means providing development opportunities and supporting an inclusive climate.  We are partnering with the Center for Teaching and Learning to offer teaching academies for new faculty, with an emphasis on inclusive teaching, and to launch a Diversity & Education Series: Inclusive Pedagogy in Action. We have expanded our workshops and resources on inclusive excellence and recognizing and avoiding implicit bias.  They are offered university-wide for committees conducting faculty searches, dean searches, and tenure and promotion reviews.  A new website, faculty.yale.edu, centralizes information and resources of particular interest to faculty, such as best practices in faculty searches.
We remain committed to the values of excellence and diversity.  We enter the second year of this initiative encouraged by the successes so far.  We recognize, however, that success ultimately depends on the dedication and efforts of our colleagues across the university to recruit and mentor new faculty and to create an inclusive culture.  We are grateful to you for this collective effort and we look forward to the year ahead.
Ben Polak
Rick Bribiescas
Deputy Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity