Program offers incoming junior faculty one-year Fellowships to help them
develop productive long-term careers at the University of Virginia. Originally
funded by the Provost and by the Deans of Arts & Sciences, Engineering,
and Medicine, the Program now receives permanent support from the University
The Excellence in Diversity Fellows Program supports the University of Virginia’s commitment to making diversity an integral part of the institution’s educational excellence. This Fellowship Program cultivates new and diverse colleagues' connection to the University. In doing so, it helps them navigate the challenges of being junior faculty members and fulfill their potential as excellent teachers and researchers. Our goal is to invigorate the intellectual climate and the educational experience of our students by supporting our diverse faculty in building thriving long-term careers at the University of Virginia.
Assumptions about Faculty Retention
The University of Virginia believes that diversity is important in
providing quality education. A recent statement from the Office of the
Dean of Students affirms that "diversity enriches the educational
experience, promotes personal growth and a healthy society, and strengthens
communities and the workplace." In an increasingly heterogeneous
society, learning and understanding others' values and ways of thinking
is integral to the educational process. As a result, the intellectual
vitality and well-being of our student body depends in great measure on
having a faculty that reflects the level of diversity our graduates will
find in society and in the work place. Therefore, specific assumptions
underlying the EDF Program include these:
are more likely to find their place within the University when they
valued and appreciated, in ways such as these:
believe they contribute.
feel successful and valued in their research and teaching.
have effective mentors and confidants.
see progress in their careers.
interact positively with senior colleagues.
feel recognized for their contributions.
mentoring and strong peer and extended professional connections are
essential to the professional success of faculty. Research has shown
that networks may not be as accessible to non-traditional new faculty
as they are to those from majority groups. Such collegial isolation,
one of the main reasons for early career disillusionment, can best be
avoided by ensuring pre-arranged networks of support and mentoring.
(Boice, "Early Turning Points," 1993)
retention depends on individual faculty choice and administrative tenure
decisions, this Program helps junior faculty develop a tenurable profile
and enhances their desire to remain at U.Va.
- As a result
of recommendations from the U.Va. President's Commission on Diversity
and Equity, we expect that administrators and senior faculty will work
increasingly with diverse faculty and will benefit from direct and constructive
interaction with those colleagues. In addition, junior faculty will
gain insights into policies and procedures and will develop greater
confidence and comfort in communicating with their senior colleagues.
This Program will accomplish these objectives:
- Offer new
junior faculty direct, early insights into how to succeed in the academic
world, including engaging them in defining their teaching and research
a peer-level support network and serious intellectual discourse among
a diverse group of faculty members
and support productive interactions between Fellows and the senior faculty
(Senior Consultants) who serve as knowledgeable, generous mentors, thus
deepening and broadening their connections to colleagues and to the
- Offer senior
faculty opportunities to share and develop their mentoring skills
- Foster improved
interactions among junior and senior faculty members, and academic administrators
faculty in teaching students from diverse backgrounds and in creating
inclusive learning environments
and maintain an environment in which junior faculty, particularly those
from diverse backgrounds, develop a sense of belonging to a community,
not only within individual academic units but also to the University
as a whole
- Offer senior
faculty and administrators insights into perspectives and concerns of
diverse faculty members.
R. (1993). Early Turning Points in Professorial Careers of Women and Minorities.
New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 53, 71-80