Faculty teams receive Diversity Transformation Award funding

December 2, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University’s diversity initiative is investing $1 million to fund nine faculty team projects. The finalists were selected after two rounds of presentations in October and November. Teams will receive project funding as recipients of the Diversity Transformation Award.

“I congratulate the faculty and staff members who developed the winning DTA initiatives and thank everyone who submitted proposals to help us advance diversity at Purdue. This program is one step in a portfolio of initiatives that you will see coming out of the Office of the Provost to create a more welcoming and inclusive campus climate,” said Deba Dutta, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity.

The awards and a Diversity Leadership Team were created by the Office of the Provost to enhance recruitment, enrollment and retention of underrepresented minority (URM) students, faculty and staff, and to study factors affecting inclusiveness and success of URM students and faculty.

The call for proposals was announced in August. A faculty review panel received 66 proposals from faculty teams. After two rounds of presentations, the panelists selected finalists. Additional projects that were not among the nine selected will be supported through other mechanisms to expand the reach of diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Over the next few weeks, team principal investigators (PI) will work with the Diversity Leadership Team (DLT) to finalize budgets, project goals and milestones, and develop timelines. Projects are expect to start early in the spring semester. Near the end of the semester, PIs will meet with the DLT to discuss and review progress.

The Diversity Transformation Award is the first initiative of its type at the university to tap the talents and creativity of Purdue faculty in addressing diversity issues.

“We were impressed by both the number and variety of submissions,” said Mark J.T. Smith, a member of the Diversity Leadership Team and dean of the Graduate School. “Given the breadth of ideas and quality of submissions, we elected to fund nine proposals, which slightly exceeds the $1 million investment originally planned.”

The nine selected projects, and their faculty principal investigators (PI), include:

* A pre-college engagement program to increase minority students entering mechanical engineering (PI: Anil Bajaj, William E. and Florence E. Perry Head of Mechanical Engineering and Alpha P. Jamison Professor of Mechanical of Engineering).

* “Boilermaker Family College” for families to share in the student experience, including information on applying, enrolling and succeeding (PI: Marcos Fernandez, associate dean, director of academic programs, College of Agriculture).

* A program to attract and mentor graduate chemistry students (PI: Jean Chmielewski, Alice Watson Kramer Distinguished Professor of Chemistry).

* Networking project between the College of Agriculture and historically black colleges and universities (PI: Shawn Donkin, professor and assistant dean, College of Agriculture).

* Undergraduate and graduate psychology course modules focused on invisible stigma, diversity and inclusion (PI: Deborah Rupp, professor and William C. Byham Chair in industrial/organizational psychology).

* College of Engineering relationship building between Purdue faculty and minority-serving institutions (PI: Audeen Fentiman, associate dean of graduate education and interdisciplinary programs and Crowley Family Professor of Engineering Education/professor of nuclear engineering).

* Creation of a certificate in applied indigenous studies to increase Native American faculty and students (PI: Dawn Marsh, associate professor of history).

* A biomedical sciences pilot program for recent college graduates (PI: Susan Mendrysa, associate professor, basic medical sciences).

* Engagement program to address underrepresented and majority students’ perspectives (PI: Margo Monteith, professor of psychological sciences). 

Writer: John Hughey, 765-494-2432, hugheyj@purdue.edu 

Contact: Mark J.T. Smith, 765-494-2604, mjts@purdue.edu 

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