Sept. 26, 2006
Hogan Announces Record Number of New Minority Faculty and Students
As a result of several new diversity initiatives implemented last year, the University of Iowa has set two new records, UI Executive Vice President and Provost Michael J. Hogan said. More minority students than ever before are attending the UI this fall, and more minority faculty will begin their appointments in UI colleges and departments than in any previous year.
The record number of new minority faculty, Hogan said, can be attributed in large part to the Faculty Diversity Opportunity Program (FDOP), a program of the Office of the Provost that helps colleges hire minority faculty members by supporting part of their salary. The UI has hired 23 new minority faculty who will start their appointments this academic year, 17 of whom are supported by FDOP.
The number of minority students is up as well, from 2,678 students in fall 2005 (9.03 percent of the total student body) to 2,741 in fall 2006 (9.14 percent of the total, the highest percentage since 1998 and the largest total number of minority students ever). The largest increase was in the total number of Latino/a students, up 30, or 4 percent, since fall 2005, and up 74, or 10 percent, since fall 2004. The percentage of minority undergraduate students increased from 8.69 percent last year to 8.72 percent this year, with significant increases in the numbers of Native American and Latino/a students.
"This is very good news," Hogan said. "With the new strategic plan we adopted last year, we made it a top priority to increase the diversity of our faculty, staff and students. But the key is, we are following words with action, and it's starting to pay off."
The Office of the Provost strengthened FDOP with an infusion of reallocated dollars from its Strategic Investment Fund in fiscal year 2007, increasing the size of the funding pool to $1.1 million. The UI's new strategic plan, The Iowa Promise, calls for the funding pool for FDOP to reach $1.3 million by 2010.
Bolstering FDOP is just one of several initiatives put into place last year to help the university be more effective in meeting its diversity goals.
Following discussions among senior administrators, led by Hogan, about how to generate more opportunities for synergy among existing diversity programs, the new Office of the Special Assistant to the President for Equal Opportunity and Diversity was created, allowing for joint oversight of three key diversity offices: the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, Opportunity at Iowa, and Support Service Programs. Marcella David was appointed to head the office as special assistant to the president for equal opportunity and diversity and associate provost, a role in which she reports both to the university president and to the provost.
Last winter, two UI programs dedicated to recruiting and supporting underrepresented minority students -- Opportunity at Iowa, which serves primarily undergraduate students; and the award-winning Alliance for Graduate Education and Professoriate program, which works to increase the representation of minority students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics doctoral programs -- were moved to joint, redesigned space in Phillips Hall. The new space better serves the needs of the programs and their students and generates more opportunities for the two units to work together.
"These administrative, organizational, and physical changes -- some of them may seem small," Hogan said. "But they're fundamental to the reenergized effort we're making now. We're positioning ourselves to make some real progress in the area of diversity, and these shifts are a huge part of that."
To help build diversity in the curriculum, Hogan last year encouraged the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to move forward with plans to revitalize the African-American Studies Program. Of the new faculty this fall whose hires are supported by FDOP, four are associated with African-American Studies. Hogan has also encouraged the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to work toward creating a Latino/a Studies Program, by attracting a critical mass of faculty with the expertise to contribute to such a program. Two of the FDOP-supported faculty arriving on campus this year have such expertise.
To help UI researchers, scholars and artists incorporate diversity outreach in their work, last spring Hogan and Vice President for Research Meredith Hay implemented a pilot project called the Iowa Promise Momentum Plus initiative, a program of competitive supplemental grants to help individuals enhance externally funded projects with an additional diversity component.
And, in order to gather better information about where things stand and where improvement is needed as the university moves forward, last fall Hogan commissioned two diversity-related task forces: a Diversity Action Committee and a Gender Equity Task Force, both of which worked through the year and submitted their final reports and recommendations late last spring. Hogan has invited comment from the university community as he considers how to act on the recommendations of the reports, which are available online at http://www.uiowa.edu/~provost/docs/DACreport.pdf and http://www.uiowa.edu/~provost/docs/getf.htm.
Recommendations in the Diversity Action Committee report include strategies for broadening faculty, staff and alumni involvement in recruiting a diverse student body; better coordinating and monitoring the UI's diversity efforts; and better understanding the needs of Iowa's minority students in order to foster their success. Other key recommendations include revitalizing the university's cultural houses, and creating a more welcoming climate by enhancing diversity training and increasing cultural awareness across campus.
Recommendations in the Gender Equity Task Force report include developing a program similar to FDOP to support hiring faculty spouses or partners; implementing an automatic one-year extension of the tenure clock for probationary faculty following the birth or adoption of a child; and creating ongoing faculty support structures including a formal mentoring program for junior faculty, a special task force to address challenges unique to the Carver College of Medicine, and a standing committee to monitor gender equity issues. Other key recommendations include providing resources for broader advertisement and outreach when conducting searches, and evaluating deans and DEOs on their efforts to hire, retain and promote underrepresented groups within their units.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.
CONTACTS: Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011, firstname.lastname@example.org; Program: Michael J. Hogan, 319-335-3565, email@example.com; Marcella David, 319-335-3555, firstname.lastname@example.org; Writer: Kris Yows