Students from the Undergraduate Assembly and minority groups across campus aim to develop a set of recommendations for the Faculty Diversity Action Plan by winter break.
These will be proposed to faculty and administrators in the spring.
The Diversity Action Plan — released in June — will devote $100 million over the next five years to hiring and retaining more diverse faculty members across 12 undergraduate and graduate schools.
The minority groups working on this project include the United Minorities Council, the Latino Coalition, the black students’ coalition group UMOJA, the Asian Pacific Student Coalition, Penn Consortium of Undergraduate Women and the LGBT umbrella group Lambda Alliance.
“Sadly, compared to our peer institutions, we aren’t doing very well,” Wharton junior and Latino Coalition Chair Angel Contrera said.
Contrera cited a Minority Equity Report published in 2010, which reported that only 5 percent of Penn’s faculty is black and hispanic.
This places Penn at the bottom of Ivy League institutions in terms of Latino faculty, he added.
As part of the Diversity Action Plan, each school is required to appoint a diversity officer to develop measures to increase faculty diversity within their school by the spring.
So far, only three schools — the School of Design, the Annenberg School of Communication and the School of Nursing — have appointed their officers. Undergraduate groups hope to discuss their suggestions with officers once they are appointed.
“We want to make sure they are taking into account criteria most important to student body,” said the UA Academic Affairs Director Abe Sutton — a sophomore in the College and Wharton — at a UA general body meeting on Oct. 30.
UMC Chair and College junior Chris Cruz, who is also a UA member, echoed Sutton’s sentiment at the meeting. The UMC hopes to “encourage schools to continue to work with students” and “create accountability to measure success” in diversity action planning, he said.
Each minority group will represent its members in the recommendation process. “We want this to be a sustainable effort,” wrote College junior and UMOJA board member Aya Saed in an email.
Saed added that she would “like to ensure that there are ways in which we can measure the long-term effect of the initiative.”
The UMC, in partnership with the Philomathean Society, continued its discussion on diversity with faculty on Oct. 31, as part of its annual “Unity Week” initiative.
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