To improve campus culture and address racial inequality, the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) will invest $40 million over the next 10 years to improve the diversity of its faculty, President Darryll Pines said.
The Faculty Advancement at Maryland for Inclusive Learning and Excellence (FAMILE) program seeks to “correct inequity at the faculty level” by hiring more than 100 tenure-track faculty from diverse backgrounds. The university will also boost leadership development opportunities, retention, and recruitment for the new hires.
Pines believes the faculty is “not right-sized for the diverse student body” at the university. The initiative will ensure UMD students “interact and learn from scholars that not only look like them, but reflect the school’s values,” Pines said at the investiture ceremony this week.
‘Culture of Inclusive Excellence’
Students of color currently comprise more than 40 percent of students at the university but only 11 percent of faculty.
Over the last few years, the college has been in the news for the deaths of two Black students on campus. In 2017, a Bowie State University student visiting campus was stabbed by a white student. The following year, football player Jordan McNair died after suffering a heat stroke during team practice.
Incidents such as these led to a drop in Black and minority student enrollment between 2017 to 2019 as the university gained a reputation of being unsafe for people of color.
Although enrollment figures have since rebounded, Pines hopes to do more to restore the Black community’s faith in the institution.
During a time when the nation is reeling from the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, UMD is hoping to address racism on campus by bringing in the highest quality faculty who can promote a “culture of inclusive excellence.”
“This should help the number of diverse students coming to our campus as they see faculty that look like them and reflect where they came from,” Pines stated.