LSA announces creation of new postdoctoral fellowship aimed at improving diversity

Wednesday, October 12, 2016 - 6:25pm

LSA Dean Andrew Martin announced the formation of a new postdoctoral fellowship program last Thursday, to be administered through the LSA National Center for Institutional Diversity, aimed at promoting racial and gender diversity among graduate students.

Currently, the goal for the program is to accept 50 postdoctoral fellows over the course of the next five years.

NCID Communications Assistant Devin Walker said this fellowship will provide recent Ph.D. recipients from underrepresented minority and gender populations with the opportunity to conduct University of Michigan sponsored research and hone their teaching skills.

“Recipients of the fellowship will have two years of University funding that will cover their salaries and the costs of their research and travel,” Walker said. “The postdoctoral fellows are also expected, during this time, to teach at least one course in their area of study.”

The fellowship is limited to recent doctoral degree recipients who did not complete their degree at the University.

“Anyone who has their doctorate in an LSA background is eligible for the fellowship,” Walker said. “We want to encourage academic diversity in the program, so we are interested in anyone whose academic background is in any LSA field and meets the applicant profile.”

In addition to providing academic opportunities to traditionally underrepresented minority populations, Walker said this fellowship is designed to improve diversity among tenure-track faculty and expand the network of people who are affiliated with the University.

“While tenure is not guaranteed to all participants in the program, it is anticipated that people will complete the postdoctoral program and advance to being a full faculty member with a chance of becoming tenured,” Walker noted.

The announcement of the fellowship, which was negotiated and discussed throughout the previous year, comes on the heels of the recent roll-out of the University’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion strategic plan.  

“LSA’s Collegiate Postdoctoral Fellowship Program is one of the most important elements of our recently drafted strategic plan for diversity, equity and inclusion,” Martin said last Thursday. “It will help us recruit a dynamic group of promising scholars whose commitment to diversity will bolster the academic excellence of both the College and the University as a whole.”

Walker noted that the plans for this fellowship came from the planning progress for the diversity, equity and inclusion plan on campus. He also noted that the program’s funding will come from the LSA Dean's office.

“Dean Martin wants to have 50 fellows in five years through this plan — which is a significant number of people,” Walker said. “This will all come at the cost of a projected $5 million over those five years, and all funding will come from the Dean’s discretionary fund.”