ADVANCE Program Announces Equity Initiative

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Georgia Tech’s ADVANCE Program has announced a new initiative that is meant to promote more equitable practices when it comes to faculty advancement at the Institute.       

“Tech has always been committed to excellence and equity in its hiring and promotion practices,” said Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Rafael L. Bras. “But excellence and equity requires constant vigilance and adherence to best practices and clear processes. The work of the ADVANCE professors will help us in our ‘relentless pursuit of institutional effectiveness.’”

The ADVANCE Program seeks to increase the participation of women in science and engineering by increasing their representation and advancement in academia; there is an ADVANCE professor based in each of Tech’s colleges. The group suggested the creation of the Equity Program as part of its ongoing commitment to recruit and retain a diverse, world-class faculty at Tech.

The program’s focus will be on fair processes for evaluating faculty members for advancement. Potential components of the program, which could be in place as early as Spring 2013, might include the following:

  • A means to support awareness of equity such as equity advisors who would provide information and advice on practices that maximize the likelihood of recruitment, retention and the advancement of excellent and diverse faculty members.
  • Clear and easily accessible procedures regarding evaluation procedures for reappointment, tenure and promotion.
  • Focusing a discussion on equity at the annual department and school chairs orientation.
  • A managed mentoring program for assistant professors and a launch committee for each new faculty member hired that would help successfully integrate the person into the institution and ensure a successful start.

“No other academic institution has approached institutional transformation as centrally as Tech has,” said Mary Frank Fox, ADVANCE professor in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts and lead author of the 2012-2014 ADVANCE Plan that proposed the Equity Program. “The GT initiative was one of the very few, if not the only, ADVANCE initiative nationally that has addressed clarity and equity in evaluation. This is not a prescriptive formula for evaluation —  but rather a focus on fair and transparent processes. Equity is an ongoing process that requires continuous attention and that is the impetus for this plan.”

In the fall, Tech’s ADVANCE professors will work with the college deans, focus groups comprised of faculty members, Bras and Vice President for Institute Diversity Archie Ervin to finalize the components of the program.

“The ADVANCE program and the new Equity Program are a new and integral step toward the institutionalization of fair processes, advancement and diversity of faculty,” Ervin said. “This is a critical part of Georgia Tech’s national leadership and stature and competitiveness as a premier 21st century world leader in the advancement of faculty.”



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