June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Minorities in Engineering
15.581.1 - 15.581.12
RIT’s FFCEP: An Innovative Recruitment Strategy to Fuel the Pipeline and Diversify the Professoriate Abstract
Despite recruitment strategies and efforts to attract and retain ethnic minorities and women in private and public universities across this nation the challenge for parity still exists. Though presidents, provosts, deans, department chairs, and faculty search committees have come to realize and align with the educational benefits of having such diverse populations, continued lack of representation persists. Moreover we still hear the mantra of, “it’s not that we don’t believe in or support diversity, we don’t know where to find them”. In addition, deans and department heads quote the statistics reminding us of the small numbers while majority faculty lament about the impossibility of inducing them to come to our campus even when they are sought after. Numerous studies disclose reasons for underrepresentation of these faculty members in the pipeline and throughout all phases of the recruitment and selection process. In an effort to counteract such studies and to diversify its faculty workforce, aggressive moves at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) are raising the bar for universities nationwide. One move, which is the focus of this article, is RIT’s Annual “Future Faculty Career Exploration Program.” This unique program furthers RIT’s diversity efforts by bringing students nearing the end of their doctoral studies and postdoctoral assignments to Rochester to receive the “RIT treatment.” Since the program’s inception in October of 2003, more than 150 scholars have been invited to attend the annual program. The program has become so widely acclaimed that 185 and 235 applications were received in the past two years, respectively, to fill 27-30 allocated slots. This level of response clearly demonstrates the interest of young scholars and their desire to visit the academy for the value add this program brings to their professional and career development. A review of this best practice and lessons learned will be shared.
The 2001 newly hired tenure track faculty class of 125 saw little gains in diversity representation, especially among African Americans. When former President Al Simone looked into the sea of faces at the New Faculty Orientation he stepped up the demands for diversity hiring. This was not only a concern of the President but it became a direct concern of the Board of Trustees; what naturally followed was an inquiry with the Provost and the Deans. When asked why the departments were unsuccessful in increasing the diversity in their applicant pools, they were quick to reply, “It’s not that we don’t believe in or support diversity, we don’t know where to find them.” They quoted the statistics on national availability of the number of PhDs conferred annually, reminding everyone of the small numbers. The majority faculty lamented the impossibility of inducing diverse faculty to come to campus even when they are sought after. “Help us,” they responded. Certainly the issues and the sense of helplessness voiced were not unlike what many have heard or observed at other institutions.
In response to this request and through committed and dedicated leadership from the Board of Trustees, Vice Presidents, deans, and department chairs, the full-time Office of Faculty Recruitment (OFR) was established in March 2002. The office provides support, direction, and
Baker, R. (2010, June), Ffcep: An Innovative Recruitment Strategy To Fuel The Pipeline And Diversify The Professoriate Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16463
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