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MU Hires Record-Breaking Number New Faculty from Underrepresented Groups

September 9th, 2010

Story Contact: Nathan Hurst, 573-882-6217, hurstn@missouri.edu

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Since its inception in 2006, the Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative’s (CDI) goal has been to improve faculty diversity at MU. This year, MU officials are pleased to announce a record-breaking year in faculty-diversity hiring at the University of Missouri.

Data collected by CDI staff indicate that the largest new cohort of underrepresented minority (URM) faculty prior to 2010 was seven. URM faculty includes individuals from Hispanic, African-American and American Indian heritage. Although Asian faculty are not considered underrepresented in higher education, they are considered to add to the diversity at the university, as are women faculty in STEM fields, where significant strides also have been made.

This year, MU faculty and staff welcome 15 new underrepresented minority faculty (including eight Hispanics and seven African Americans) along with four new Asian faculty and seven women in the STEM (sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.

Roger Worthington, assistant deputy chancellor, chief diversity officer, and head of the Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative, says that the work of deans, department chairs and search committees has begun to pay off.

“To my knowledge, the incoming cohort of underrepresented minority tenure-track faculty and clinical faculty in the medical school is the largest in MU history,” Worthington said. “I am pleased that the CDI has been able to help support departments and colleges at MU in this achievement.”

Leona Rubin, chair of MU’s Faculty Council, believes the increasing diversity will only make the university stronger.

“As a more diverse and inclusive faculty, we provide our students with a better appreciation of the world they will enter,” Rubin said. “Direct, personal experience with people of different races, religions, or cultures facilitates respect and understanding and is essential as the world becomes smaller. As faculty we look forward to the rich associations such diversity brings to campus.”

Student leaders at MU also are excited about the university’s movement to increase faculty diversity. Bryan Like, president of the NAACP collegiate chapter at MU, believes Mizzou is on the right track, but there is more to accomplish.

“This is a step in the right direction and the university should be proud of the accomplishment,” Like said. “It is now time to take this momentum and keep moving forward.”

Since its creation in 2006, the Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative has worked to help MU become a more inclusive, creative and innovative learning and research environment with the ultimate goal to facilitate the competent functioning of students, faculty, staff and administrators in a diverse and competitive global society.

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