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From the Desk: Diversity hiring update

James Wimbush.  James Wimbush. Diverse college faculty members are an integral component of the student success equation at Indiana University. Research shows that when students see professors and others who look like them, they are more likely to realize and achieve their potential.

Indiana University has made significant progress on its goal to enhance faculty diversity. This year, I am pleased to report that we have reached a milestone: hiring a record number of new faculty members from historically underrepresented groups in higher education. In short, the 2022-23 academic year will represent the most diverse faculty in IU’s 200-plus-year history.

This remarkable achievement could not have happened without the tireless work of countless people committed to creating a new generation of scholars and administration at IU.

In particular, we owe much gratitude to IU President Pamela Whitten, whose vision and foresight are responsible for developing the Presidential Diversity Hiring Initiative  launched in fall 2021. This first-of-its-kind, $30 million, seven-year program was developed for the sole purpose of helping IU diversify the faculty across its campuses.

As a result, we are seeing a diverse and wide-ranging group of new hires who will support the academic needs and goals of IU campuses across a broad range of disciplines, including the IU School of Medicine.

These individuals represent 54 total accepted offers this year — 52 who will start in academic year 2022, two in academic year 2023. To date, the Presidential Diversity Hiring Initiative has invested $7.5 million to diversify the faculty at Indiana University, with for the first cohort of Presidential Diversity Hiring Initiative faculty of $22.5 million.

The new hires are recruited from a cross-section of higher education institutions, including the University of Maryland, Auburn University, the University of Notre Dame, Purdue University, California State University-Stanislaus and the University of Central Florida.

Moreover, several new faculty members are coming from professional or service-related careers, including national and regional governmental organizations.

As part of the Presidential Diversity Hiring Initiative, IU Bloomington recently hired Pamela Braboy Jackson as the new associate vice president for faculty and belonging. She reports to me in this senior leadership role within the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs.

Jackson, who began her new duties in June, provides leadership and a university-wide vision for the recruitment, retention and recognition of underrepresented and minoritized faculty.

Additionally, she is working to develop and present programming and workshops focused on faculty recruitment and retention efforts catering to the needs of individual units, schools and campuses; cultivating partnerships with minority-serving institutions and higher education organizations, associations and councils; and participating in various research and scholarly activities.

Moving forward, Indiana University will continue efforts to become a more diverse and inclusive place of learning. But make no mistake: Meaningful progress is happening and will benefit all of us for generations to come.

James Wimbush is vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs.