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From the President and Provost

In January 2002, Provost Robert Barchi and Faculty Senate Chair David Hackney established the Minority Equity Committee to undertake a systematic review of the status of minority faculty across the University.  An executive summary of the committee’s report appeared in the May 3, 2005 issue of Almanac; the full report itself can be found at www.upenn.edu/almanac/volumes/v51/n31/acrobat.html.

Response to Minority Equity Report

We commend the members of the Minority Equity Committee for producing a well-researched report that provides important insights and valuable recommendations on this complex issue. The report represents an important step in the University’s ongoing efforts to create a campus environment that is diverse and welcoming to all members of our community. It also reflects the challenges and opportunities involved in advancing Penn’s aspirations for diversity and excellence. 

We agree that the committee’s findings provide “a basis for some optimism.” In summary, the report concludes that there is “substantial equity” in compensation, the award of University research grants, the recognition of teaching excellence, and the allocation of research space. While the University has made significant progress, we are firmly committed to doing more to ensure that minority faculty work and interact with their colleagues and students in an equitable and supportive environment. Our future efforts must therefore include a strong focus on the academic culture and climate that shapes the experiences of minority faculty. We therefore will redouble our efforts to “find ways to foster an academic culture in which minority faculty do not perceive themselves to be at a disadvantage.”  Diversity is essential to Penn’s quest to rise from excellence to eminence. We have made this among our highest priorities and will continue to devote considerable time, attention and resources to this priority. 

Next Steps

We have already initiated a series of conversations and discussions with deans, faculty and administrators about the findings and recommendations in the Minority Equity Report. Our early conversations have proven to be productive. We have found widespread support for many of the report’s recommendations. We will continue to enlist the support and leadership of the deans and department chairs in addressing the challenges that lie ahead. Making progress will require the support of the President, and collaboration among the Provost, Deans, Department Chairs and Faculty Senate. 

We will work together to:

• Examine Penn’s policies and their implementation related to recruitment, retention and promotion to ensure that they are consistent with best practices; and confirm during Departmental and School reviews, that their recruitment, retention, and promotion processes support the University’s objectives.

• Launch broader and more effective outreach efforts to recruit minority faculty; including identifying “rising stars” in the academy who enhance the strength and diversity of our senior faculty ranks.

• Identify and disseminate information about Departments or Schools with successful track records in recruiting and retaining minority faculty.

• Increase our efforts to expand the pipeline of minority candidates for junior faculty positions by encouraging minority undergraduate, graduate and professional students to pursue careers in the professoriate. 

• Strengthen our efforts to mentor all junior faculty and graduate students, with appreciation of the particular challenges faced by minority faculty and graduate students.

• Strive to produce complete and consistent administrative data across Schools to enable appropriate analyses of faculty recruitment, promotions and departures.

• Publish periodic reports on our progress in improving the presence and experiences of Penn’s minority faculty.

In sum, we are determined to create an ever more equitable environment for all faculty, students and staff. We again thank the members of the Minority Equity Committee for an excellent report. As a University community, we must now work together and avidly pursue our aspirations for equity.

Amy Gutmann, President                Ronald Daniels, Provost



  Almanac, Vol. 52, No. 10, November 1, 2005


November 1, 2005
Volume 52 Number 10


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