Mary C. Boyce
The “crown jewel” of the Faculty Advancement portfolio is the stewardship of the Faculty Diversity Initiative, which was enhanced in 2016 to include the Cluster Hire Initiative in the Area of LGBTQ+ Scholarship; and again, in 2020, with the Cluster Hire Initiative in the Area of Race and Racism Scholarship, research support to accelerate STEM cluster hiring, and accelerated Target of Opportunity hiring of Black, Latinx, and other historically underrepresented faculty. These programs are, in part, responsible for the fact that the Fall 2021 cohort of incoming faculty was the most diverse in our institution’s history.
Whether it is publishing Best Practices guides, leading Faculty Professional Development sessions, or organizing New Faculty Orientation (in conjunction with the Center for Teaching and Learning), the Faculty Advancement team strives to welcome, develop, support, and celebrate faculty throughout their careers. With the 2021 addition of the Inclusive Faculty Pathways initiative, their work has expanded to incorporate those aspiring to academic careers, including guidance for equitable graduate admissions. I would also like to acknowledge the Office of Work/Life, under the leadership of Associate Provost Amy Rabinowitz, for its extraordinary efforts to accommodate the caregiving needs of faculty parents.
Despite the turmoil that 2020 brought to all aspects of our lives, I am proud to say that we have seen a palpable shift in Columbia’s response to structural racism. We have pushed beyond inclusivity to be actively antiracist as an institution. This has been an inflection point—one that has brought rapid growth and the expansion of our portfolio.
The Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement (OVPFA) aims to promote and nurture a vibrant climate of inclusive excellence through creative collaboration with University partners, while building upon and expanding the portfolio of the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Diversity and Inclusion. OVPFA’s primary focus is on fostering faculty development, diversity, planning, and community-building initiatives that will allow faculty to thrive.
Our vision is for Columbia to be the go-to place for the world’s greatest scholars. We imagine a University community that embodies inclusive excellence, where all faculty feel welcomed and supported. We hope to foster a climate where faculty can confidently focus on their scholarship and teaching, and where there is growing space for collaboration and innovation across disciplines. We cannot achieve this without realizing our core values of inclusion and excellence.
Columbia is home to innovative faculty cluster hire programs, which enhance faculty diversity and encourage interdisciplinary collaboration. These include LGBTQ+ Scholarship, Race and Racism Scholarship, and Accelerated STEM Cluster Hiring.
Faculty who joined in 2021–22: Jon Freeman (LGBTQ+ Scholarship); Robert Eschmann, Naeem Mohaiemen, and Mario Small (Race and Racism Scholarship)
“The grant allows me to conduct fieldwork and archival research in understanding whether an organization’s board diversity has a “cascade” effect on its rank-and-file employees. I will be able to undertake interviews, with not only corporate leaders but also many employees, and collect novel data.”
—Wei Cai, Columbia Business School
The Junior Faculty Small Grants Program, launched in Fall 2012, is a one-year, small-grants program designed to support and advance the career development of outstanding junior faculty who contribute to the diversity goals of the University through their research, teaching, and mentoring activities. To date, over 150 grants have been awarded University-wide.
Launched in Spring 2018, the Mid-Career Faculty Grants Program is designed to support Schools’ diversity plans by advancing the career success of outstanding mid-career faculty. Awards are granted to those who have made a recent, significant contribution to their field, and who contribute to the diversity goals of the University by their research, teaching, and mentoring activities. To date, over 20 grants have been awarded.
In 2020, we reflected on the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the public reckoning following the recent murders of African Americans at the hands of police. Understanding the need for a University-wide effort to address the pervasiveness of race and racism in our society and in the academy, the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement (OVPFA) created the Faculty Seed Grant Initiative, which included a call for faculty seed grants to facilitate collaborative dialogue, action, and insight for systemic change toward racial equity. In 2021–22, 13 projects were funded and the Metrics and Evaluation work group of the Provost’s Advisory Council for the Enhancement of Faculty Diversity began evaluating the 2020–21 projects.
This initiative seeks to expand access for historically underrepresented students to Columbia’s graduate programs, to deepen a sense of community and belonging among both underrepresented students and pathways program participants, and to enhance support available to those students and faculty who work with them.
In 2020, COVID forced us to move New Faculty Orientation to a virtual format. With the return to campus, faculty still have the flexibility to view the content online. For the first time in two years, we brought new faculty to campus for a welcome reception.
We offer career development workshops and connect faculty to resources at Columbia and beyond.
In 2021–22, we hosted sessions on navigating the tenure process, using LinkedIn, building a professional brand, supporting mentees, and developing antiracist assessments.
The Office of Work/Life supports the well-being of Columbia’s diverse community through child care and schooling, housing and relocation, faculty spouse/partner dual career search, well-being, adult/elder care, and breastfeeding support.
Students from the Summer Health Professions
Education Program (SHPEP)
Launched in 2021, the Columbia University Pathways Programs (CUPP) is a consortium of faculty and administrators who lead pathways efforts across the University. An exciting and ongoing initiative of the group is an online directory of Columbia’s pathways programs.
“Columbia has been the home to many pathways programs over the years—it is very exciting to bring these efforts together, enhancing the experience and connection participants have to Columbia.” —Adina Berrios Brooks, Associate Provost for Inclusive Faculty Pathways
Our office completed a first draft of the Guide to Equity-Based Graduate Admissions, the sixth in our series of Best Practices guides. It aims to share and promote equity-based admissions practices to make Columbia more accessible to students who are historically underrepresented in the academy. The digital draft report was shared with the University community in June 2022.
The Climate of Inclusiveness initiative supports programming that enhances Columbia’s diversity scholarship and brings prominence to issues of race, gender, sexuality, and other dimensions of diversity. The goal is to foster dialogue and build a more welcoming and inclusive community for students, faculty, staff, and alumni.
In the year ahead, we plan
to welcome scholars from
the following units:
The Provost’s Postdoctoral Research Scientist and Scholar Program supports the recruitment of outstanding postdoctoral scholars from historically underrepresented groups and is designed to recruit emerging scholars and nurture them in the early years of their careers.
The Provost’s Advisory Council for the Enhancement of Faculty Diversity was established to attract, advance, and retain a diverse faculty of outstanding scholars who more closely reflect the composition of national pools of qualified candidates in their respective disciplines.
The Council advises the Provost on a myriad of faculty initiatives, publications, recruitments, and awards.
In the past year, we have shared Columbia’s best practices in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at the national level
As a founding member of the Faculty Advancement Network
Presenting at the annual National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education conference
Participating in an invited poster presentation at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine annual summit