Recommendations of the Task Force on Faculty Diversity & Inclusion; Creation of Associate Provost for Diversity & Inclusion at Boston University

October 5th, 2016

From Dr. Robert A. Brown, President
and Dr. Jean Morrison, University Provost and Chief Academic Officer

This past May, after more than nine months of research and extensive consultation with students, faculty, and staff across the University community, the Task Force on Faculty Diversity & Inclusion submitted a report to us detailing its recommendations for elevating BU’s commitment to faculty and student diversity and enhancing our culture of inclusiveness. The report is available to the BU community on the Task Force website and may be accessed by using your Kerberos password.

We want to recognize the exceptional leadership of Professors Gene Jarrett and Steve Brady and to thank the Task Force for its thoughtful and diligent work. We would also like to thank our community for taking part and investing in this very important process for Boston University. Meaningful dialogue and action around issues of race, identity, and community are seldom easy. But they are essential if we are to succeed and remain relevant as a global research institution that is reflective of the rich diversity of our society, both now and in the future.

The report submitted by the Task Force is instructive as we work toward this objective. Based on the data (both internal and from peer institutions) and the narrative compiled, and the aspirations and concerns expressed by faculty, staff, and students, it is clear that there is considerable work ahead for us to achieve our goals. The recommendations of the Task Force, we believe, place Boston University in a strong position to further advance dialogue, set attainable goals, and achieve measurable results in this critical area moving forward.

Alongside ideas for recruiting and retaining a diverse faculty and fostering an inclusive environment, the report presents five major recommendations, all of which we are prepared to support as a university:

  1. The appointments of a University-wide Associate Provost for Faculty Diversity & Inclusion and equivalent administrative officers in each of BU’s schools and colleges;
  2. The creation of implementation and standing committees focused on faculty diversity and inclusion;
  3. The development of strategic plans for faculty diversity and inclusion across all BU schools and colleges;
  4. Public and regular communication about diversity and inclusion at BU; and
  5. The creation of doctoral-faculty pathways for underrepresented minorities.

Central among the recommendations put forward by the Task Force is the establishment of a new executive-level position at Boston University, tasked broadly with promoting and advancing an institutional culture that values and supports diversity across our Charles River and Medical Campuses. The new Associate Provost for Diversity & Inclusion will provide leadership and management for successfully building and supporting initiatives that promote and advance diversity, equity, access, and inclusion across the institution.

The Associate Provost will establish programs and initiatives to foster campus-wide awareness of and commitment to the University’s diversity goals; serve as a resource and catalyst for implementing best practices across BU; work to develop shared accountability for making progress on goals; measure the effectiveness of programs; and promote an overall culture of inclusion throughout the University. In keeping with the recommendations of the Task Force, the Associate Provost will contribute to efforts throughout all of BU’s schools and colleges to develop, implement, and assess a faculty diversity and inclusion strategic plan.

The Associate Provost for Diversity & Inclusion will report to the University Provost and Chief Academic Officer and serve as a member of the Provost’s Cabinet as well as the University Council. We will conduct a national-level search during the 2016–2017 academic year, with the objective of having the incumbent in place by fall 2017. We will announce the formation of a formal search advisory committee in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we welcome recommendations for outstanding candidates for this role, both internal and external to BU. Nominations may be submitted to provost@bu.edu.

While the appointment of a new Associate Provost for Diversity & Inclusion will provide enhanced leadership and support for our collective efforts to further diversify our community and to create a more inclusive environment, attaining our institutional goals related to diversity and inclusion will require a renewal of our shared commitment and attention to our individual responsibilities at all levels of the University. We are confident that the work of the Task Force has prepared us to seize these responsibilities and, again, we want to thank the members of the Task Force for their service and for their commitment to advancing excellence at Boston University.

Recommendations of the Task Force on Faculty Diversity & Inclusion – 10.5.16

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