Yale University recently announced a $50 million initiative aimed at making its faculty more diverse.
The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education reported that Yale committed to a five-year, $50 million program geared at increasing salaries and recruitment of female and minority faculty members.
“Yale’s education and research missions are propelled forward by a faculty that stands at the forefront of scholarship, research, practice, mentoring, and teaching,” Yale President Peter Salovey and Provost Ben Polak wrote in a joint statement, according to the Journal. “An excellent faculty in all of these dimensions is a diverse faculty, and that diversity must reach across the whole of Yale.”
According to CNN, in the 2014-2015 academic year Yale had 4,410 faculty members, of whom 39.5 percent were female and 22.5 percent were minorities.
The new effort will provide funding for salaries and offer training about racial and gender biases.
The Yale program follows similar diversity efforts recently undertaken by other Ivy League universities, including Columbia University, which pledged $30 million to diversity efforts earlier this year. Columbia boasts the most diverse faculty among the Ivies; 41 percent of its faculty are women and 26 percent are minorities. Brown University, The University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University have also pledged to improve staff diversity.
Yale has faced criticism for a poor history of “developing and retaining professors of color.” The Yale Daily News reported in September that the departure of three Black professors was believed by other faculty members to be directly related to systematic problems with Yale’s tenure program as it applies to professors of color.
More recently, Yale has been among several U.S. universities facing on-campus protests over racial issues. According to The New York Times, the Yale protests stem from an alleged “White girls only” comment heard at an off-campus party, and a debate over the appropriateness of several Halloween costumes.
Vanesa Agard-Jones, a Black professor of Women and Gender Sexuality said she is leaving Yale for Columbia at the end of the year. She told the Yale Daily News that Yale University does a good job of hiring diverse faculty members, but does a poor job of retaining them.
“I am dismayed that rather than identify these losses as part of a structural pattern, are instead chalked up to attrition at the whims of individual choice,” Agard-Jones told the Daily News. “I know that my alma mater can do better, and I encourage all of us to continue to think about ways to create a thriving environment for scholars of color at Yale to become leaders in their fields — while also having the support they need to become university leaders.”