A new trustee committee has been created to guide the University’s efforts to advance diversity among the faculty, graduate student body, and senior administration.
Trustee Brent Henry ’69, co-chairman of the committee, said that while the Board of Trustees is proud of Princeton’s progress in improving diversity, “I think there is widespread agreement that in some areas we can and need to do better.” Psychology professor Deborah Prentice, the co-chairwoman of the committee, described the success of diversity efforts among the group’s target areas as “uneven.”
The Trustee Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity includes eight trustees who are alumni, seven faculty members, two staff members, and two graduate students. It is expected to issue its report in about 15 months, Henry said.
President Tilghman, in her charge to the group, said that to educate leaders “who can excel in a pluralistic society and an increasingly globalized world,” Princeton must draw on “talented individuals from all backgrounds and ethnic groups” and offer an academic environment in which students and faculty share “perspectives and experiences from around the country and around the world.”
She asked the committee to explore how a “richly diverse community” enhances learning, scholarship, civic leadership, and service, as well as how the University’s current level of diversity affects the quality of education. She also asked the group for strategies and best practices to more effectively recruit and retain those who have “historically been underrepresented in academia and at Princeton, including women and people of color.”
“I applaud President Tilghman for acknowledging that while we have made progress, there is some unfinished business,” Henry said. “The faculty and the graduate school present the greatest challenge.” According to the University’s latest figures for full-time faculty, 30 percent are women and 18 percent are members of minority groups.
While some believe that academic admission and hiring decisions should be made solely on the basis of merit, Henry said he sees “no trade-off between merit and diversity; to me, they are both compelling goals and they enhance each other. We are not interested in quotas. What we are interested in is attracting and retaining the very best faculty, students, and staff we can, and doing so in a way that brings together a community of learning that is both excellent and diverse.”