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New Future Professors Fellowship Program Seeking Applicants
The Office of Academic Affairs has announced a new program designed to increase the number of underrepresented minorities entering the professoriate. The Syracuse University Future Professors Fellowship Program seeks to award five fellowships annually to talented postdoctoral scholars in any academic field.
“With the fellowship supporting the salary and benefits for each fellow for two years, we hope to quickly build a cohort of scholars from historically marginalized groups who are passionate about scholarship, research and teaching and who can become part of a pipeline to build a more diverse faculty,” says LaVonda Reed, associate provost for faculty affairs. Reed notes that one of the greatest challenges to recruiting and retaining faculty of color is providing an environment that supports and nurtures professional growth and success.
“This program is focused on providing the new fellows with the kind of mentorship and networking that is so important to their careers,” says Marie Garland, assistant provost for faculty affairs. The applicants to the fellowship program will be able to select their mentor. “We anticipate that these faculty mentors will have a demonstrated interest and track record in cultivating young faculty and passing along their own passion for developing and supporting a more diverse and inclusive faculty and student body.”
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the percentage of underrepresented minorities in full-time faculty positions at all degree-granting postsecondary institutions included: 6 percent Asian/ Pacific Islander males; 5 percent Asian/Pacific Islander females; 3 percent each for Black males, Black females, Hispanic males, and Hispanic females; 1 percent or less were American Indian/Alaska Native and those who were of two or more races.
“Clearly, we must be more intentional about feeding the faculty pipeline with underrepresented scholars, especially in engineering and other STEM fields,” says Reed. Scholars with interdisciplinary teaching and research are also encouraged to apply for the new fellowship.
Both Reed and Garland stress that the new program is also designed to bolster the overall strength and size of the cohort of postdoctoral scholars at the university, as it is an important factor in the Carnegie R1 ranking of research institutions.
“Our goal is to attract more scholars of color who want to be intellectual thought leaders and work in an institution of higher education as opposed to a think tank or association, for example,” says Reed. “The fellows who want to become full-time professors are likely to be individuals who appreciate the true value of the teacher-scholar model with a commitment to transforming the world through their scholarship and by passing on the same appreciation to their students,” adds Garland.