Under the banner of the Creating Connections Consortium (C3) initiative, the three schools will implement strategies designed to accelerate the recruitment of students from historically underrepresented backgrounds into faculty positions. A fourth institution will join the consortium, which will provide a model for increasing diversity on campuses nationwide, in year two of the initiative.
Working with the Liberal Arts Diversity Officers (LADO) organization, C3 will formalize a reciprocal relationship between LADO members and Columbia University and the University of California, Berkeley, which will provide assistance with research and assessment strategies. The grant will support five strategies for developing diverse and talented candidates: an annual summit where underrepresented LADO graduate students can network and learn about research and employment opportunities and challenges from their peers at Columbia and Berkeley; two-year postdoctoral fellowships on select LADO campuses; summer research internships for underrepresented undergraduates at Columbia or Berkeley; a faculty exchange program to enable underrepresented faculty from Columbia and Berkeley to give lectures, collaborate on research, or serve as visiting faculty on LADO campuses; and capacity building, integration, and outreach.
"We recognize now that trying to do this alone doesn't solve the problem," said Middlebury College president Ron Liebowitz. "Middlebury, Williams, Connecticut College, and the other LADO schools are all committed to creating a more diverse faculty. Studies have shown that the quality of education is enhanced with a greater diversity of ideas and perspectives that come with a diverse faculty. Now we have a strong, effective, multifaceted strategy rooted in collaboration, and we're very grateful to the Mellon Foundation for recognizing its potential."