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Mellon Foundation to Fund Expansion of Duke Model For Mentoring Underrepresented Early Career Faculty

SITPA 2017The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is funding the expansion of Duke’s Summer Institute on Tenure and Professional Advancement (SITPA) program. SITPA is an intensive research mentoring and professional socialization program for early career faculty who are from underrepresented groups or who otherwise deepen diversity at their institutions.

One of SITPA’s objectives is to address a nationwide problem in higher education—the underrepresentation of various racial and ethnic minority groups on the faculties of U.S. colleges and universities.

The SITPA approach concentrates support and mentoring of junior faculty early in their career, with the goal of enabling a successful transition to tenured associate professor rank. The Duke program will receive $698,000 over three and a half years, from July 1, 2018, to December 31, 2021.

“Duke is committed to the value and need for diversity in the professoriate,” noted Valerie Ashby, dean of Duke’s Trinity College of Arts & Sciences. “I have seen this program in action, and this approach will enable us to build a stronger, more inclusive university community which is essential to our future.”

The U.S. has succeeded in significantly increasing the number of minorities receiving doctorates in a broad range of fields in recent decades. However, faculty diversity has changed only marginally and is not keeping pace with the nation’s shifting population demographic.

“We need underrepresented minority faculty members and others who recognize the importance of having diverse faculties to become long-term stakeholders who help shape the mission, curriculum, student body and faculty at our institutions,” said SITPA creator and Director Kerry Haynie, an associate professor of political science and African & African American studies. “We’ve designed a program that provides promising scholars with the knowledge, strategies and support they need to earn tenure.”

Haynie plans to present the SITPA model at national conferences over the next three years and to publish on the benefits of this faculty development approach. In addition, he hopes to enlist two to three colleges to pilot the program on their own campuses.

Duke launched the SITPA program in 2014 with the support of the Mellon Foundation. To develop the program focus and format, Haynie utilized existing research, sought input from senior faculty from a wide range of fields, and made use of lessons learned from his experiences with other mentoring initiatives. The need for universities to invest more in the success of junior faculty was a consistent finding from these inquiries.

“We’ve designed a program that provides promising scholars with the knowledge, strategies and support they need to earn tenure.”
– Kerry Haynie

Research reveals that graduate programs do not routinely include professional socialization as part of their formal training. In addition, most university faculty mentoring programs fail to address some of the distinctive concerns and needs of faculty from underrepresented minority groups.

For example, a significant proportion of humanities and social sciences faculty of color specialize in research related to race, ethnicity, difference or intersectionality. However, few senior faculty will have matching expertise in any given department or university. As these topics are positioned at the margins of most disciplines, it is more challenging for such scholars to publish in leading disciplinary journals. As a result, it is more difficult for underrepresented minority faculty to become part of professional networks with influential scholars in their fields.

To date, three cohorts of 16 fellows are engaged in the sustained, two-year sequence of SITPA programming. Each fellow has ongoing guidance and feedback from a senior faculty mentor in their discipline at an institution with similar expectations for tenure. Thirty-eight of the 48 fellows come from doctoral universities, five from master’s colleges and universities, and five from baccalaureate colleges, including two from historically black colleges and universities.

At the start of the fellowship, selected SITPA faculty members attend a three-day workshop to learn about the formal tenure process. They also learn how to develop a research agenda and teaching portfolio that meets the standards and requirements for tenure at their particular college or university. Fellows engage in conversations about constructing a teaching portfolio, navigating university service demands, making effective use of professional networks, and managing work-life demands.

Preliminary evaluation results suggest SITPA fellows are outperforming a selected comparison group with regards to research productivity, said Haynie.

‘Keep Going’

Karla FC Holloway Retires from Duke University with a Public Conversation on Race and the Academy — and a Message to Those Following in her Footsteps

Retirement celebration for Karla Holloway held in Penn Pavilion on Thursday, December 8, 2016.

After years of visionary contributions to Duke University and the academy at large, Karla FC Holloway, retired this month with public announcement of both an annual mentorship award and a fellowship named in her honor.

The Dec. 8, event, “Word Work: Race and the Academy,” featured Holloway, the James B. Duke Professor of English, professor of law and African and African American studies, in curated conversation with former student and TV personality Melissa Harris-Perry, the Maya Angelou Presidential Chair and Director of the Anna Julia Cooper Center at Wake Forest University.

Kerry Haynie, a professor of political science and co-director of the Duke Council on Race and Ethnicity moderated the conversation along with Blair LM Kelley, an assistant dean and associate professor of history at North Carolina State University.

Members of the Duke administration, faculty, students, friends and family members gathered in Penn Pavilion for the intimate conversation that touched on higher education, leadership, writing and lessons Holloway learned during her distinguished career at the university.

VIEW PHOTOS OF THE EVENT

“I’ve appreciated every opportunity I’ve had at Duke to be responsible. I’ve called it a position of authority,” said Holloway, noting that the word ‘leadership’, softens the act of leading. “To claim that language back, gives you the stature you need to be the decision-maker.”

She added: “With whatever grace there is in the universe, I’ve also been surrounded with people who will pick me up, give me books, say a good word, remind me that there’s another step,” Holloway said. “You just keep going. … I want all of you, especially in these times that we’ve left you, to keep going.”

At the end of the program, Harris-Perry who was mentored by Holloway as a graduate student at Duke, announced the creation of an endowment in Holloway’s name. The endowment will fund an annual award, the Karla Holloway Mentoring Award, for a nominated individual who has displayed excellence in mentoring young women and girls. It will be administered by the national Collaborative to Advance Equity Through Research on Women and Girls of Color, currently being led by Harris-Perry and the Anna Julia Cooper Center. Read more about the award and eligibility requirements here.

As a founding member of DCORE, she led the university’s participation in the Collaborative, an initiative emanating from the White House Council on Women and Girls.

The event also served as a fundraiser for Holloway’s alma mater, Talladega College, an historically black college in Alabama.

Kristina Johnson, a former dean of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke, followed Harris-Perry’s announcement, announcing an endowment and fellowship in Holloway’s honor, the Professor Karla Holloway Scholarship.

Walvid King, an Associate Vice-President at Talladega and Duke Provost Sally Kornbluth also provided remarks.

In addition to serving as mentor to innumerable students, Holloway has held several highly influential barrier-breaking roles at the university. She was the first African-American Dean of the Humanities and Dean of Social Sciences, the first African American female chair of Duke’s Appointment, Promotion and Tenure (APT) committee, and an elected member of the Academic Council and its Executive Committee (ECAC). She was co-founder of the John Hope Franklin Center and the Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI). As chair of the Department of African and African American Studies she guided it from a program to full department status.

She is also an affiliated faculty member with the Duke Institute on Care at the End of Life and the Trent Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities

Holloway is the author of eight books, including the most recent “Legal Fictions: Constituting Race, Composing Literature.” Her research interests include African American cultural studies, biocultural studies, gender, ethics and law. She earned a Master’s of Legal Studies from Duke Law School in 2005. She serves on several boards including Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies, and the Princeton University Council on the Study of Women and Gender.

The event was sponsored by the Duke Council on Race and Ethnicity (DCORE), the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost, the Office of the Dean, Duke Law School, the Department of African and African American Studies, the Duke English Department and the Franklin Humanities Institute.


Thank you all. You offered generous sites for sanctuary, words that were wanted, gentle urges, quiet nudges, and certain spirits. You have assured that I have had a life in letters – a collection of hours finding their rhythm in words. All of which I would have wanted. Had I only known.

-Karla