LSA has recruited eight new fellows for its fifth cohort of LSA Collegiate Fellows.

Selected from more than 750 applicants, these early-career scholars come from the humanities, natural sciences and social sciences. They were recruited for their exceptional scholarship and strong commitments to LSA’s diversity, equity and inclusion goals, as demonstrated through research, teaching and mentoring, or service and engagement.

LSA and the National Center for Institutional Diversity have welcomed cohorts of LSA Collegiate Fellows to U-M since 2017. The initiative aims to increase the capacity of faculty members to engage in intellectually grounded DEI work and to enhance the culture of diversity in LSA and beyond.

The components of the program have been designed to help catalyze a shift in how LSA departments, the college and the university more broadly approach the value of diversity scholarship, leadership and service, as well as criteria for the general recruitment, tenure and promotion of faculty.

Fellows participate in professional development and community building opportunities to prepare for tenure-track faculty careers at U-M.

“I have been truly inspired by each cohort of Collegiate Fellows,” said LSA Dean Anne Curzan. “They are outstanding scholars, and they enrich the intellectual culture of our college by rigorously and creatively advancing our conversations and deepening our understanding about DEI. I look forward to working with them toward our shared goal of transformational change.”

This academic year’s new fellows and their LSA departments are:

  • Mia Howard, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
  • Thais Vasconcelos, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
  • Sara Awartani, American Culture.
  • Rovel Sequeira, Women’s and Gender Studies.
  • Davon Norris, Organizational Studies.
  • Jon Cho-Polizzi, Germanic Languages and Literatures.
  • Jessica Fayne, Earth and Environmental Sciences.
  • Juan Delgado, Sociology.

Now in its sixth year of recruiting and hiring new outstanding scholars with DEI commitments to LSA, the Collegiate Fellows program, by multiple measures, has been successful. Since its inception, 96% of the LSA Collegiate Fellows have or will transition into tenure-track assistant professor positions within LSA.

It also speaks to intentional, innovative design features of the program — a national, open search across disciplines, clear criteria for scholarly excellence and demonstrated DEI commitments, centering of department and faculty governance processes, and a cohort-based model to deepen scholars’ sense of community on campus.

The LSA Collegiate Fellows have made varied and important impacts on campus over the past few years — advancing cutting-edge research and scholarship in their respective fields, while also beginning to implement inclusive teaching practices in classrooms and high-quality mentoring practices with undergraduate and graduate students.

“Recruiting such talented scholars is only the beginning,” said Elizabeth R. Cole, director of the NCID and professor of women’s and gender studies, of psychology, and of Afroamerican and African studies in LSA.

“In order for them to thrive personally and professionally, we must foster inclusive environments. Our goal is to support the valuable contributions the fellows make and for them to become longstanding members of the U-M community.”


Originally published in the University Record.