« Return to About Us

Faculty Fellowship Program History

The academic year 2004-2005 marked the end of the Faculty Fellowship Program (FFP). For eighteen years, the FFP was instrumental in introducing minority faculty to the IU Bloomington campus in an effort to diversify the faculty by improving recruitment and retention of minority scholars. With its inception in 1986, the program made IU a pioneer in minority recruiting practices, drawing national recognition.

Though the FFP experienced changes over the years, reflected in part by its name changes—from Minority Summer Faculty Recruitment Fellowship Program to Minority Faculty Fellowship Program to, simply, Faculty Fellowship Program—its commitment to diversifying IU faculty never swayed. Numerous talented and accomplished minority scholars joined IU faculty in tenure-eligible positions after first getting to know the Bloomington campus during summer or academic-year fellowships. Moreover, the time the 114 fellows, the total scholars hosted by the FFP over the years, have spent teaching and conducting research at IU has in and of itself contributed much in way of improving the number of role models for students of historically underrepresented backgrounds. Even while numerous other highly qualified minority scholar applicants could not be offered fellowships, departments and schools were nonetheless made aware of their presence on the job market.

The FFP evolved to the point of being institutionalized, as reflected in IU President Adam W. Herbert's declaration in his State of the University 2004 speech that IU continue its commitment to diversifying minority faculty: "we must and will prepare [IU] to welcome a wider array of students and facilitate their success. Changing demographic realities, as well as our own ethical commitment to diversity, also demand that we further intensify efforts to include more women and minority candidates in our hiring and procurement efforts. Indiana University must advance its traditions of diversity in all that we do"

Eighteen Years of Diversifying the IU Professoriate

The Minority Summer Faculty Recruitment Fellowship Program welcomed its first fellows in the summer of 1987, bringing eight minority academics to the IU–Bloomington campus as visiting assistant professors. They were selected from a pool of close to 100 applicants, and their accomplishments included numerous awards and honors, including a Fullbright. Several of the fellows had already published books; most had published numerous scholarly articles.

After the first few years' success, the BFC extended the FFP for an additional three years. With this extension came an exciting modification, the addition of academic-year fellowships. Rather than invite up to 15 fellows during the second summer session, the program could now welcome up to 10 fellows during the summer and 3 during the academic year. As Carolyn Calloway-Thomas put it in her regular column in the program newsletter, "Fellows participating throughout the year will have the opportunity to develop fuller relationships with their respective departments" (Volume 3, Number 1, 1989 1). To reflect this development, the program shortened its name to the Minority Faculty Fellowship Program.

As the years passed, and as the number of applicants grew, so did their diversity. The gender ratio of applicants in the program's fourth year lessened from 70 percent male and 30 percent female to 60 percent male and 40 percent female. Though early on most of the applicants reigned from Midwestern schools, in the early nineties, applicants from West Coast and Southern universities were growing significantly. The number of departments participating in the program grew over the years too; originally, most of the fellows were hired within the humanities and the Department of Education, but soon, fellows were sponsored by the sciences, fine arts, and journalism. By 2004-2005, the program had hosted 114 fellows, an accomplishment that involved the efforts of 36 IUB departments.

These departments benefited from establishing relationships with young scholars who made important contributions, bringing with them expertise and interests often previously lacking. The fellows diversified the departments they were hired in, particularly the course offerings a department was able to offer to its students.

Eventually, the FFP further expanded to include a mentoring system, in which visiting fellows were matched up with mentors within their respective departments. These mentors helped fellows get acquainted with departmental and teaching matters, as well as with other faculty and staff. A bi-weekly brown bag lunch series was also implemented, so that fellows and FFP staff could get together and share anything from research interests to teaching experiences to goings on in the IU community and beyond.

1999 was a transitional year for the FFP; it experienced a change in its structural position within the university. The Office of Strategic Hiring and Support was created, and along with the Program for the Recruitment and Retention of Minorities and Senior Women, the FFP was appointed a prominent place within this office.

Soon after, the program would have to change its name once more, dropping the word, "minority." The FFP did not, however, lose its raison d'être with this name change. It continued to play an integral role in the recruitment and retention of minority faculty at IUB, inviting scholars such as Phyllis Burns, who said of her experience teaching, "I think the most rewarding thing I've ever done in life is teach... You can consider teaching a form of activism, too, because you're passing along the word" (Future Faculty Update 2002 2).

The Faculty Fellowship Program's Dissolution

Despite the FFP's tremendous contribution to diversifying the IU faculty over the past eighteen years, the summer of 2005 will see no fellows on the Bloomington campus. Recently, IUB school and departmental budget constraints have hindered schools' and departments' abilities to recruit fellowship applicants. Schools and departments wishing to recruit a candidate, but facing budget constraints, have been encouraged to collaborate with other schools and departments to extend an offer to a potential fellow whose expertise is interdisciplinary. Also, deans and chairpersons have been reminded of the potential of finding among these fellows, individuals they may want to recruit as full-time faculty members, and of the Strategic Hiring Program's availability to help make such recruitments happen. In the end, though, it is up to the individual schools and departments to take advantage of the FFP's benefits. A $4,000 stipend alone is insufficient remuneration.

Though the program is unable to welcome fellows to Bloomington, hopefully, the successes of the FFP will not be forgotten. The FFP introduced IU chairpersons and deans to countless highly qualified minority scholars on the job market. In numerous cases, these introductions have resulted in not only the invitation to a young scholar to try out IU as a visiting assistant professor, but to join the IU faculty in a tenure track position. As a result, the program has played an important role in facilitating the success of undergraduates, providing them with exposure to expertise previously lacking in their departments and by providing role models for an increasingly more diverse student body.

By no means does 2005 mark the end of IU's commitment to diversifying IU faculty, as reflected in IU President Adam W. Herbert's "State of the University 2004" Speech. The Office of Strategic Hiring and Support is indeed working to maintain its goals through other means.

Download Full Report (PDF) »