Faculty Diversification: The $800,000 Proposition
Mellon Grant allocated to Gettysburg College to enhance faculty diversity efforts on campus
By Benjamin Pontz ’20, Staff Writer
Gettysburg College announced last week that it has received an $800,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support diversity related efforts on campus. The grant stems from the college’s strategic plan (see previous coverage in The Gettysburgian), which emphasized a need to foster inclusion and internationalization, and it will provide funds for the hiring of six new tenure-track faculty members who “possess the experience, knowledge and skills to support underrepresented students,” according to a release from the college’s communications department.
The release goes on to explain, “In their first year, these ‘Mellon Faculty Fellows’ will receive additional support as they adjust to living and working in the community, including the opportunity to teach a reduced course load and receive additional mentoring and training. A new Inclusion Partner Program will also provide faculty with training to implement inclusive hiring practices and engage in ongoing diversity recruitment practices.”
In addition to hiring new faculty members, the grant will support efforts to revise departmental learning outcomes to emphasize and enhance diversity-related components as well as to develop new courses that represent different perspectives than those currently a part of the curriculum.
Although the primary focus of these curriculum modifications may come in the humanities, Associate Professor of Mathematics Darren Glass sees an opportunity for growth even in a department such as his.
“Having a diverse faculty across the curriculum is important for a number of reasons, but in my eyes the biggest one is the ways that it can help us diversify the students studying a given discipline and, ultimately, working in a given discipline,” he explains. “Traditionally, the sciences have been dominated by white men, much to our detriment as a community, and everyone will be better off if we find ways to nurture talent no matter where it is coming from … If we want to diversify the kinds of students that study, for example, Mathematics then it is important to give role-models that show that anyone can thrive in the sciences.”
As the coordinator for the first-year seminar program, Glass is also eager for faculty with new and diverse perspectives to engage incoming students of all backgrounds from their first day on campus.
“We have some seminars that deal directly with ‘diversity issues,’ but we could always use more, and more importantly I think there are lots of other topics that would resonate with a student body that is increasingly diverse which this new cohort of faculty might be able to help with,” says Glass. “I am hopeful that this grant will help us to be able to recruit a more diverse group of faculty and just as importantly, help them to thrive at the college and want to spend their careers here.”
According to the Mellon Foundation, this is the 14th (and largest) grant they have awarded Gettysburg College since 1975. Collectively, those grants amount to more than $4 million.