Faculty Excellence and Diversity Initiative: Update on 2017-18 efforts

Date: Wednesday, October 3, 2018
From: Ben Polak and Rick Bribiescas 
To: All Yale Faculty 
Re: Faculty Excellence and Diversity Initiative (FEDI) Update
Dear Colleagues,
This fall, we welcome the third cohort of faculty recruited as part of our five year $50 million initiative to build on the excellence and diversity of Yale’s faculty. We write today to reassert our commitment to this university-wide priority, share details of our progress along several key dimensions, and discuss our strategic engagements with other university goals.
Recruiting exceptional faculty to Yale 
FEDI provides matching resources to support appointments that enrich the excellence and diversity of Yale’s ladder faculty. In year three, 15 new faculty appointments were made in collaboration with this initiative, bringing our three-year total to 65 recruitments campus-wide. During the first two years of FEDI, we chose to be ambitious with the number of appointments that we supported, surpassing our initial budgeted aspirations.  Our awards this year aim to bring us toward a steady-state average for this initiative.  Overall, the average number of university-wide recruitments supported by FEDI over the past three years has exceeded our original aspirations.  The initiative also funds a cohort of Presidential Visiting Fellows — distinguished scholars and practitioners from around the world who bring unique perspectives on research, practice, and teaching to Yale. We are delighted to welcome 9 new Presidential Visiting Fellows this year.  
For information on the demographics of Yale faculty, we invite you to visit http://faculty.yale.edu.
Enhancing the pipeline 
The initiative also supports the Dean’s Emerging Scholars program, which provides funding for outstanding doctoral students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences who contribute to excellence and diversity in the academy. This year, 15 incoming Ph.D. students were admitted as fellows under the initiative, and 10 additional Ph.D. students will receive competitive research awards. Additional resources from the initiative have been allocated to expand Yale’s post-baccalaureate programs that help promising students transition to graduate school and academic careers. 
New and Continuing Engagements
Our partnership with the Center for Teaching and Learning promotes more inclusive classrooms, notably through the Diversity in Education series. We are grateful to Jennifer Frederick and her team for their work and dedication.  The provost’s office continues to advise committees responsible for faculty searches, leadership searches, and tenure and promotion reviews to raise awareness and present strategies to develop excellent and inclusive candidate pools.  In addition, we are working closely with Secretary and Vice President for Student Life Kim Goff-Crews and the President’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion on efforts to improve campus climate and inclusivity.
Diversity and excellence are also at the center of our science strategy efforts.  As noted in the recent University-wide Science Strategy Committee report, diversity and excellence will be deeply incorporated into faculty, student, and postdoc recruitment efforts as we advance scientific investments.  We strongly reaffirm — across the sciences — that an excellent faculty is a diverse faculty.
University-wide participation 
Every school that submitted a proposal has received support. New ladder faculty members or Presidential Visiting Fellows were recruited under the initiative this year in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Schools of Architecture, Art, Drama, Engineering & Applied Science, Forestry & Environmental Studies, Law, Management, Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health. Combined with support for nominations from Divinity and Music in earlier years, the initiative has now provided support to every school at Yale. 
We now look ahead to the fourth year of the faculty excellence and diversity initiative, energized by our successes to date. We are grateful for the thoughtful participation of so many in our community and look forward to our continued work together.
Ben Polak
Provost and William C. Brainard Professor of Economics
Rick Bribiescas
Deputy Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity
Professor of Anthropology