Princeton published its first University-wide report on diversity, equity, and inclusion in mid-October, just over a year after President Eisgruber ’83 made his call to address systemic racism on campus and beyond.
The 39-page report highlights dozens of initiatives in three areas: climate, inclusion, and equity, which includes new principles for naming, renaming, and iconography; the academic experience, spanning faculty diversity goals and programs to build a more inclusive pipeline of future professors; and access and outreach, featuring the new Emma Bloomberg Center for Access and Opportunity, established last spring to support students from first-generation, lower-income and underrepresented backgrounds. The report (online at inclusive.princeton.edu) also includes demographic data and results from campus climate surveys of recent graduates, faculty, and staff.
“It is a progress report,” Michele Minter, the vice provost for institutional equity and diversity, told PAW. “There are some things in it that we’re proud to be able to celebrate. There is a lot more work to be done. So we hope that the tone expresses that this is just one more step on a journey that we are committed to permanently.”
“If we are going to be at the cutting edge, … we need to prepare our students to deal with the reality of the situation that exists in our society.” — SPIA Dean Amaney Jamal
Last year, 16 University departments or programs added diversity, equity, and inclusion committees, raising the campus total to more than 30. Shawn Maxam, the senior associate director for institutional diversity and inclusion in the provost’s office, said these departmental committees bring together a broad range of stakeholders and cater to the needs of each academic discipline. “We’re not going to succeed in this space without the active participation of academic departments,” Maxam said. “They’re critical to fulfilling our aspirations.”
Minter said the past year also has been a promising one in faculty hiring. The University has set a goal to increase the number of underrepresented tenured and tenure-track faculty members by 50 percent within five years. According to the report, 4 percent of tenured and tenure-track faculty identified as Black or African American and 4 percent identified as Hispanic or Latino/a in 2019-20, compared with 3 percent in each category a decade earlier.
At the School of Public and International Affairs, a faculty review of the curriculum, in response to student concerns, has led to updates to the syllabi of core graduate courses and the creation of a new required course on race, power, and inequality, taught in the three-week August program for first-year MPA candidates. Amaney Jamal, the new SPIA dean, said that student evaluations for the new course were encouraging.
Studying power inequities and systemic racism is key for training future policymakers, Jamal said. “If we are going to be at the cutting edge, … we need to prepare our students to deal with the reality of the situation that exists in our society,” she said.
Educational outreach — from enhancing existing efforts such as the Prison Teaching Initiative and Princeton Online Tutoring Network to adding new ones, including a potential degree-granting program for adult learners — was listed near the top of Eisgruber’s September 2020 announcement that outlined the University’s priorities for combatting systemic racism. “There is a lot of work to do to develop the strategy, but I think it will be a major investment on the part of the University in a whole new strategic area,” Minter said. Provost Deborah Prentice is leading the effort, and the University also plans to hire a vice president to oversee outreach programs, Minter said.