Here’s what Northeastern is doing to make faculty leadership more diverse

The United States is growing increasingly diverse. But, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, most faculty positions continue to be held by white professors.

“We need much more diversity in our academic leadership to reflect our diverse student body,” said Debra Franko, Northeastern’s senior vice provost for academic affairs.

A group is building a leadership training program for minority faculty in science, technology, engineering, and math. The new program will be based on Northeastern’s Research and Leadership Development Initiative, which is a leadership training program open to mid-career faculty.

“It’s important for us to make intentional decisions to recognize faculty of color and to put them in positions where they have the opportunity to develop leadership skills,” said Jan Rinehart, the executive director of Northeastern’s ADVANCE Office of Faculty Development.

The program curriculum will be developed over the next several months by an oversight committee comprised of a diverse group of academic leaders from Northeastern, Boston University, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Suffolk University, Tufts University, and University of Massachusetts Boston. The first cohort, a group of 20 to 25 faculty from the seven institutions, is expected to start around May 2019.

“Our leadership program makes the most of the richness of Boston,” Franko said. “We have so many institutions of higher learning concentrated here. We don’t always capitalize on that.”

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