Connecticut College shares $4.7 million grant from Mellon Foundation

Connecticut College will share a $4.7 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation with Middlebury College and Williams College to increase efforts to diversify faculty at all three colleges.

Since 2008, the College has increased faculty diversity from 16 percent to more than 24 percent in 2012. The grant will allow the College to build on its already successful diversity initiatives.

"We are very proud of the results our efforts have achieved to date on our own campus, and are delighted to be part of this new consortium that will assist other colleges as they seek to build a more diverse faculty," said Roger Brooks, dean of the faculty at Connecticut College.

The three-year project, known as the Creating Connections Consortium (C3), will implement strategies to accelerate recruitment of students into faculty positions from historically underrepresented backgrounds (first-generation college students, or students who have succeeded despite societal, economic or academic challenges). A fourth institution will join the consortium to lead the initiative in year two of the project. The initiative will provide a model for other colleges and universities nationwide.

Working with 23 member colleges of the Liberal Arts Diversity Officers Organization (LADO), C3 will formalize a reciprocal relationship between these institutions and Columbia University and the University of California, Berkeley who will assist in providing research and assessment strategies.

The C3 project includes the following strategies:

- Networking: C3 will host an annual summit at a LADO college where underrepresented graduate students from LADO institutions will meet with doctoral candidates from Berkeley and Columbia to learn firsthand about research and challenges they face in the academic environment. Faculty from LADO schools will conduct mock interviews and discuss current employment opportunities with these students.

- Cohorts of Postdoctoral Fellowships on Liberal Arts Campuses: Three to four two-year post-doctoral fellowships on selected LADO campuses will allow talented faculty members to immerse themselves in the liberal arts environment with strong support from their cohort and faculty mentors.

- Internships for Undergraduates: Underrepresented students from LADO campuses may apply for eight-week summer research internships at Columbia and Berkeley, working closely with a faculty mentor of a similar background.

- Faculty Exchange Program: All LADO schools will explore exchange opportunities so that underrepresented faculty members from the university partners can provide lectures, collaborate in research, and possibly serve as visiting faculty across LADO campuses.

- Adding New Partners: The goal is to add a third research university partner by 2014 once the program is well established.

- Assessment: The C3 initiative includes a partnership with the Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia Law School. The Center will provide assessment strategies for C3 colleges and university partners and help identify ways to implement successful recruitment and retention practices so they become routine at the participating institutions.

See a detailed description of C3's strategies.

December 13, 2012