Diversity and Faculty Development – 2017-18 (August 14, 2017)

Dear FAS Chairs –
I write to update you on the opportunities available to you through the Office of the Dean of Faculty to support diversity and faculty development. Most of this e-mail is informational, however there is one pragmatic request, namely that I would like the opportunity to visit an early faculty meeting in your department or program in order to represent these opportunities and encourage brainstorming about the dean’s position, cluster hire proposals, and targets of opportunity. If you could e-mail me to suggest the first date when it would be possible for me to stop-by a faculty meeting, I would be most grateful. I would only need 15 minutes of your community’s time.
At that meeting, I’d like to advocate for the following opportunities:
First, the Office of the Dean of the Faculty is currently searching for a FAS Dean of Diversity and Faculty Development (DDFD). [Advertisement attached.] This is a tenured faculty member who would be appointed in one of our academic units, yet would serve as a full-time Dean leading the strategic vision for diversity and faculty development for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The job spec for this position is attached. We welcome nominations from departments, programs, or individuals in the FAS naming who they would like to recruit to this university for this position. We seek an intellectual leader who has some administrative experience in the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Experience in this sense could be a record of accomplishment in an academic society, university, or academic unit. I have already received many nominations from FAS colleagues excited to imagine this as an avenue to bring an excellent colleague with administrative capacities who would be “free” to the department, insofar as the pool slot is already secured and could be applied to any department or program in the FAS.
Second, this year we are invited nominations for cluster hires in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. A cluster hire is a group (2-5 individuals) who would bring excellence through diversity to the FAS and constitute a coordinated area of scholarly investigation. A cluster hire could be in service to a specific disciplinary area within an academic unit, or it could be an interdisciplinary group that might be appointed in multiple academic units. Time and again, we find that the retention of faculty finally comes down to whether an individual thinks their scholarship can continue to flourish at Yale. For many faculty, success in their individual scholarship requires a strong community of faculty working in contingent intellectual areas. Our plan is to solicit nominations from department and program chairs – or a collective of faculty members – nominating a particular cluster by early January 2017. A nomination would include a one-page description of the intellectual area represented by this nominated group of faculty explaining how it would fit into Yale’s existing faculty community as well as the CVs of those nominated.
Third, both of these processes – that for the DDFD, and for the cluster nominations – will yield we hope ongoing targets of opportunity. But at any time the divisional deans of the FAS are eager to hear opportunities to recruit individual faculty to Yale. Regular searches will always be a mainstay of our recruitment efforts. We also should be always on the lookout for promising doctoral students, junior faculty, and senior faculty who could bring excellence to Yale. If you have a name of someone you think would increase the excellence of our faculty and is potentially available for recruitment, never hesitate to e-mail me so we can think through the possibility.
Fourth, and finally, I hope to speak to your faculty about the continuing resource opportunities from the FAS to support your ladder faculty and to support the climate of your particular academic unit. This includes those items I advertised last summer, such as financial support for assistant professors to receive high-level professional feedback on their academic work as well as financial support to help departments and programs to create more inclusive communities. In addition to these two resources, I have also offered financial support to ladder faculty for mentoring programs, research fund enhancement, and intellectual collegiality. I have written separately to the ladder faculty indicating these forms of support, but in your work mentoring junior colleagues, I hope you think of this office as a place to turn for additional assistance.
As always, never hesitate to e-mail with any concerns or inquiries.
with highest regards,
Kathryn Lofton
Deputy Dean for Diversity and Faculty Development
Chair, Department of Religious Studies
Professor of Religious Studies, American Studies, History, and Divinity
Yale University