By Jeremy Allen, Public Affairs

Source: The University Record

The University of Michigan's National Center for Institutional Diversity is launching three new initiatives and expanding an existing program as part of its ongoing strategic efforts to enhance diversity in higher education and society.

The center, which opened in 2005, will roll out its new Distinguished Diversity and Social Transformation Professorship, Grants to Support Research and Scholarship for Change, and the Distinguished Diversity Scholar Career Award and initiatives.

It also will create a U-M Diversity Scholars Network that will be part of the center's national Diversity Scholars Network, building on the national network's efforts at the U-M level.

NCID Director Tabbye Chavous says the three initiatives and the expansion of the Diversity Scholars Network emerged from the universitywide diversity, equity and inclusion strategic plan and a partnership with the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Through the initiatives, NCID is actively working to highlight the interconnections of diversity and excellence in research and scholarship in ways that positively affect knowledge production and its use for societal change.

"Our multiple initiatives reflect our view that there is not a single way to diversify academia. As such, we have adopted a number of strategies to support the recruitment and retention of diverse, early-career and senior scholars as well as support the production and dissemination of cutting-edge diversity research and scholarship," Chavous says.

The goal of the Distinguished Diversity and Social Transformation Professorship is to recruit senior faculty members to join the community of diversity scholars on U-M's campus. NCID and the Office of the Provost will fund five professorships. Candidates will have strong research and teaching portfolios focused on diversity and must have attained the rank of associate or full professor.

"This effort will complement our efforts to recruit early-career scholars, such as our NCID Postdoctoral Program and our partnership in the LSA Collegiate Postdoctoral Fellows Program," she says. "Through the distinguished professorship initiative we hope to identify leading senior faculty whose program of scholarship related to diversity has made significant impact."

Our aim is not only to recruit outstanding scholars with demonstrated diversity commitments, but also to significantly impact faculty retention and departmental climate. We believe that our approach stands to be a model for units across the U-M and nationally."

The Grants to Support Research and Scholarship for Change program is an effort to engage the U-M community in innovative, evidence-based strategies that will advance diversity, equity and inclusion in academia and society.

Chavous says the grants approach encourages application by individual faculty or teams of faculty, staff and students or external stakeholders."

NCID will begin by offering 10 to 12 grants of up to $3,000 per project for seed funding. Over the next year, we plan to expand the program to also include larger research and scholarship-to-practice grant opportunities," she says.

And, as another effort to promote and recognize those making outstanding scholarly impact through diversity scholarship, NCID established a new Distinguished Diversity Scholar Career Award.

The award will be given annually to a U-M senior scholar who has made important contributions toward understanding diversity and addressing the challenges and opportunities related to diversity in contemporary society. Each year, the selected honoree will deliver the Distinguish Diversity Scholar lecture or performance, and will receive an award of $10,000.

NCID's new U-M Diversity Scholars Network will be a part of the center's national Diversity Scholars Network, first launched in 2008. The network serves to foster an interdisciplinary and multi-institutional community of scholars to strengthen research and scholarship about diversity, equity and inclusion. To date, there are more than 400 scholars from more than 200 institutions across the country.

The national network was focused on early-career scholars in previous years, but NCID is extending an invitation to all U-M scholars who are dedicated to the production and dissemination of diversity research and scholarship. Scholars from education, sociology, psychology, political science and anthropology are the most represented disciplines in the network, but NCID said it hopes to expand beyond those disciplines.

Chavous said the new programs and the expansion of the Diversity Scholars Network will bring added value to the multitude of interdisciplinary diversity, equity and inclusion work already being done across campus."

Our faculty are producing cutting-edge research, our staff are leading the way on implementing strategies, and our students have demonstrated their passion and commitment to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion," Chavous says.

"We hope these opportunities will bring groups together to develop and learn from research and scholarship that will lead to creating social change."

NCID is based in LSA and seeks to strengthen and integrate national research about diversity, equity and inclusion into education and society, and to promote its effective use in addressing contemporary issues. NCID works with scholars and units from across the U-M campus and across the country to accomplish its mission and goals.