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Rutgers officials announce new $45 million initiative focusing on faculty diversity, inclusion

One aspect of the University's new Presidential Faculty Diversity Initiative will focus on providing opportunities for postdoctoral and visiting faculty fellows at Rutgers. – Photo by Rutgers University-New Brunswick / Twitter

University officials announced on Thursday the Presidential Faculty Diversity Initiative, which will provide up to $45 million in funding over an initial five-year period to support programs focused on diversifying the faculty and graduate community across Rutgers.

This initiative comes after an internal equity audit was conducted on the University’s central administration last summer and showed that certain operational changes must be made to better support diversity and inclusion, according to the email announcement.

University President Jonathan Holloway, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Prabhas V. Moghe and Senior Vice President for Equity Enobong (Anna) Branch said they believe inclusion plays a critical role in the University’s goals.

“Building on the equity audit, the diversity strategic planning process launched in January has identified faculty diversity as a key area in need of institutional investment and alignment across all four chancellor units and the central administration,” they said. “Thus, we are pleased to announce a new … initiative that strategically aligns with the overarching goals we have set for creating systemic change.”

One aspect of the initiative involves the Accelerated Recruitment of Individual Faculty, which will work toward improving the recruitment process to allow for the selection of exceptional candidates. 

Another aspect involves the Presidential Postdoctoral Fellows program, which will provide certain scholars with two years of mentored research and teaching as well as a potential pathway to a tenure-track position, and the Presidential Visiting Faculty Fellows program, which will bring select scholars to any Rutgers campus for a year-long residence.

“Through visiting faculty appointments, we will immediately increase the diversity of the faculty who are engaging and mentoring our students while exploring Rutgers as a vibrant place to build careers and make long-term contributions,” the officials said.

Additionally, the initiative will also introduce the Faculty Cluster Hiring program, which will allow for the hiring of multiple faculty members involved in scholarship in the areas of race, racism and inequality, health equity and diversity in science, technology, engineering and math disciplines.

“A diverse faculty is a cornerstone of academic excellence,” they said. “By reaching out far and wide to recruit a diverse cohort of faculty who will then be supported, mentored and developed in a way that fosters retention and eliminates isolation, Rutgers will set in motion a self-reinforcing academic community that is committed to diversity and inclusive excellence.”

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