Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 67.06
Liaison Allie Schwartz
Submission Date April 14, 2015
Executive Letter Download

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Columbia University
PA-7: Support for Future Faculty Diversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Susan Smith
Associate Provost, Academic Affairs
Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Planning
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Does the institution administer and/or participate in a program or programs to help build a diverse faculty that meet the criteria for this credit?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs that help increase the diversity of higher education faculty:

Columbia University aspires to be the go-to place for the world’s greatest scholars. We cannot achieve this aspiration without realizing our core values of inclusion and excellence. Accomplishing this requires that diversity be a fundamental academic accountability for our University, our Schools, and our Departments, and evident through equity in recruiting, advancement, retention, and experience. Building a diverse community is not the work of a moment, but requires sustained commitment, and concentrated effort and attention.

In 2010, the Provost established the Office for Academic Planning and appointed Andrew Davidson as Vice Provost for Academic Planning with responsibilities for faculty development, diversity and planning initiatives. This Office extended and replaced the Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity Initiatives which oversaw the distribution of funds, totaling $22 million from 2005-2009, to support Columbia’s efforts to enhance faculty diversity. The Office for Academic Planning works in collaboration with the University's academic and administrative units to attract, advance, and retain a diverse faculty to more closely reflect the composition of the national pool of qualified candidates. The creation of this office was spurred by the Provost’s belief that these initiatives are most likely to succeed when they are tightly woven into the core functions and decision making of the institution. In 2014, the Provost re-affirmed his commitment to this mission by recruiting Dennis Mitchell to the newly created position of Senior Associate Provost for Faculty Diversity and Inclusion. http://provost.columbia.edu/node/159

The University continues to make significant financial investments in order to advance this work. In April 2012, President Lee Bollinger and Provost John Coatsworth announced Columbia University’s commitment to investing $30 million to enhance the diversity of its faculty through the recruitment of outstanding female and underrepresented minority scholars. The program is designed to support Schools’ diversity plans, and to assist the University in meeting placement goals established in its affirmative action programs, by advancing the recruitment and career success of outstanding underrepresented minority and female scholars in disciplines where the availability qualified minorities and women exceeds their representation on our faculty.

This initiative reflects a shared financial commitment, with $15 million from the University’s central budget matched by contributions from the individual schools to meet the costs of this effort. This dedication of resources comes with an insistence on accountability and achieving measurable movement toward our goals. It includes a School-led strategic planning process in which each School receives 10 years of faculty and pipeline diversity data, defines its goals to enhance faculty and pipeline diversity and inclusion, and provides progress reports. http://news.columbia.edu/home/2722
Columbia’s strategy to enhance the diversity of its faculty has three primary elements:

Three-year diversity goals for every School
• Intended to enhance faculty diversity as a core academic accountability, each School developed 3-year diversity strategic plans, with measurable goals
• The Provost meets with each Dean to discuss progress made on diversity goals, challenges that have been encountered, plans to intervene in areas where the progress has been unsatisfactory, and progress that is expected in the forthcoming academic year

Funding support to enhance faculty and pipeline diversity via $30M commitment in April 2012
• $15M from central funds, matched by $15M from participating Schools, to fund faculty and pipeline recruitment, and faculty career success
• Funds allocated through competitive grant processes, focused on a variety of areas – faculty hiring, junior faculty research support, and pipeline development through doctoral and postdoctoral fellowship support
o Faculty Hiring: Standard and Target of Opportunity Recruitments
o Faculty Development: Junior Faculty Research Grants
o Pipeline Development: Postdoctoral Fellowships, Ph.D. Fellowships, and for undergraduates, the BRIDGE to the Ph.D. in the Natural Sciences
• Every school has participated in this effort by applying for support; over 175 faculty members have been involved as advisers, proposal reviewers, and awardees

Development of a broader framework to reinforce, nourish, and sustain diversity and inclusion.
• Policy development; data collection and feedback; and special programming

A more detailed account of the grant programs, and other diversity efforts, follows.


This program is designed to support Schools’ diversity plans, and to assist the University in meeting placement goals established in its Affirmative Action Programs, by advancing the recruitment of outstanding underrepresented minority and female scholars in disciplines where the availability of qualified minorities and women exceeds their representation on our faculty. Our goal is that the composition of our tenured and tenure-track faculty more closely reflects the national pool of qualified candidates. Funds for faculty recruitment support two kinds of hires.

Support for the Recruitment of Faculty Identified Through Standard Searches

Schools may request funding support to assist in the recruitment of candidates identified through standard searches from groups whose availability exceeds their representation on the faculty. The level of support provided by the Provost’s Office is predicated on the assumption that, since there was a Standard Search and Evaluation process, this was a planned recruitment for which Departmental/School funds had already been budgeted. There may be instances where Schools need additional funds in order to make competitive offers. In such cases, Schools may request modest supplemental funds from the Provost’s Office to assist with the recruitment.

Target-of-Opportunity Recruitments

While Departments/Schools will normally use the procedures described in its Standard Search and Evaluation Procedures to recruit faculty members, there are situations in which a hiring unit has the opportunity to recruit an outstanding minority candidate, or an outstanding woman candidate in the STEM fields, outside traditional open faculty searches. In such cases, if the recruitment of the candidate would cause the composition of the faculty to more closely reflect the national pool of qualified candidates, the hiring unit may seek a waiver from the University’s Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action search requirements, and may seek funding support for this recruitment from the Provost’s Office. RFPs are issued twice a year. A committee of senior faculty members reviews the applications and makes recommendations to the Provost.


Junior faculty research grants in which junior faculty who contribute to the diversity goals of the University compete to receive seed grants for research support. RFPs are issued twice a year. A committee of senior faculty members reviews the applications and makes recommendations to the Provost.

In addition to receiving research grants, junior faculty awardees are invited to become part of a cohort. Cohort events focus on career-support and community-building. Events have included award luncheons, a panel on career advancement, and informal interviews and meetings to get feedback on how Columbia is doing to create a climate of inclusiveness and support for junior faculty. Results of these interviews and meetings are being used to inform the development and expansion a more robust onboarding program for new tenure-track faculty.


Pipeline diversity efforts are designed to provide support for members of underrepresented groups at three points in the pre-faculty life-cycle.

Postdoctoral grants. Schools are invited to compete for funding for postdoctoral position. RFPs are issued once a year. A committee of senior faculty members reviews the applications and makes recommendations to the Provost.

PhD Support. Fellowships are designed to increase yield of exceptional PhD students who would enhance diversity.
• Fellowships are allocated across all Columbia Schools.

Transition from Undergraduate to PhD. Funds are allocated to support the transition into STEM PhD programs for post-bac students from underrepresented groups.
• Provost Office supports (in partnership with NSF, Arts & Sciences, and the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research) the Columbia-based Bridge to the PhD Program in the Natural Sciences

• Columbia is also the home to a number of transition programs that serve as a bridge for underrepresented minority and female candidates to advance from undergraduate to graduate studies, graduate studies to faculty positions, and junior faculty positions to research independence.

A detailed account of these programs follows.

Undergraduate Programs

Bridge to Ph.D. Program in the Natural Sciences – Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
This program enhances the participation of students from underrepresented groups in Ph.D. programs in the natural sciences. With funding from the National Science Foundation, the Bridge Program provides an intensive research, coursework, and mentoring experience to post-baccalaureates seeking to strengthen their graduate school applications and to prepare for the transition into Ph.D. programs.

Summer Research Program – Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
The goal of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Summer Research Program (SRP) for undergraduates from historically underrepresented groups is to prepare students for doctoral study in their area of academic and intellectual interest. The program's purpose is to expose underrepresented students to graduate-level academic research so that they may begin to view the academy as a viable and realistic career path, thereby addressing the shortage of underrepresented minorities in doctoral study and college and university faculties.

Biostatistics Enrichment Summer Training Diversity Program (BEST) – Mailman School of Public Health
With funding from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, BEST was established by the Mailman School’s Department of Biostatistics in 2008 to expand and diversify the behavioral and biomedical sciences’ workforce by introducing undergraduates from underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups, disadvantaged backgrounds, and students with disabilities to biostatistics and quantitative applications in cardiovascular, blood, sleep, and pulmonary disease research.

Summer Program for Minority Students – Columbia University Medical Center
The Summer Public Health Scholars Program is a partnership among Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, College of Dental Medicine, School of Nursing and Mailman School of Public Health. Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the goal of the program is to increase the knowledge and interest in public health and biomedical science among minority undergraduates. The program will recruit and train 50 students a year from community colleges, four-year colleges, and post-baccalaureate programs who are undecided about their career choices. The intensive 10-week program allows students to work alongside public health professional mentors while taking courses in epidemiology, public health and health disparities, and cultural competence.

Summer Program for Underrepresented Students (SPURS) - College of Physicians & Surgeons
The Summer Program for Underrepresented Students (SPURS) provides an intense undergraduate biomedical research experience for talented students from backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in the biology and chemistry fields. SPURS main goal is to help minority science undergraduate students, primarily from New York City, achieve a career in science by pursuing an advanced degree (Ph.D., M.D./ Ph.D. or M.D.). SPURS participants are accepted primarily from the City University of New York (CUNY) senior colleges, including Hunter, Brooklyn, Queens, and City Colleges. The program has been supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Fund and other private donors. Now in its ninth year, over 100 students from underrepresented groups have been trained in the biological sciences. With funding from National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the program will be expanded into the neurosciences to leverage the training opportunities with the outstanding faculty at Columbia University.

Summer Medical Education Program (SMDEP) – College of Physicians & Surgeons and College of Dental Medicine
The Summer Medical Education Program (SMDEP) is a six-week residential program for first and second year college students interested in careers in medicine and dentistry. Supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the program aims to assist students who represent economic, geographic, cultural, racial and ethnic diversity in their pursuit of gaining admission to medical or dental school. Columbia University is one of 12 academic institutions hosting the program across the nation.

State Pre-College Enrichment Program (S-PREP) – College of Physicians & Surgeons
The State Pre-College Enrichment Program (S-PREP) is a rigorous academic program for underrepresented minority and economically disadvantaged high school students, grades 9-12, interested in science, medicine or related health professions. The program aims to be a pipeline that will assist with increasing the number of underrepresented minority physicians, scientists and other health professionals. The program exposes students to basic and medical sciences, provides career awareness in science and medical professions, and college preparation.

Northeast Regional Alliance (NERA) MedPrep Scholars Program – College of Physicians & Surgeons
Funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Health Resources and Services Administration, the program builds on the collective expertise of four institutions—Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New Jersey Medical School, Mount Sinai School of Medicine Center for Multicultural and Community Affairs, and the Manhattan Staten Island Area Health Education Center – to expand health careers preparation for minority and disadvantaged students from junior high school through medical school with the goal of increasing competitiveness for medical school.

The Sophie Davis BS-DDS Pilot Program Collaboration – College of Dental Medicine
The Sophie Davis BS-DDS Program is dedicated to producing broadly-educated, highly-skilled primary care practitioners to provide quality services to underserved communities. The program is designed as a seven-year integrated curriculum leading to the Bachelor of Science (BS) and Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degrees. After successfully completing the BS degree at The City College of New York, students then transfer to the cooperating dental school for their final two years of clinical training. In the inaugural year of the program, five students will be accepted for eventual transfer to Columbia University College of Dental Medicine.

Masters Programs

Sustainable Engineering Graduate Scholars Program: Diversifying the Pipeline to the PhD - School of Engineering and Applied Science
The onset of the 21st century has prompted a reevaluation of the role of engineers in light of current societal and environmental challenges. The goal of this National Science Foundation supported program, Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM), is to prepare a cohort of engineers to meet such challenges, with an emphasis on the areas of water, energy and infrastructure. Building upon undergraduate and PhD-level engineering education reform undertaken by the faculty team leading the project, this program targets the Masters level. A research-based M.S. degree will provide S-STEM Scholars with a well-supported “segue” between an undergraduate degree in engineering or applied science and a doctoral program. The program emphasizes the recruitment and retention of graduate students from underrepresented populations. Mentoring, cohort building and leadership development are important aspects of the program.

Doctoral and Junior Faculty Programs

Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) Program – School of Engineering and Applied Science
The National Science Foundation’s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program was developed to meet the challenges of educating U.S. PhD scientists and engineers who will pursue careers in research and education, with the interdisciplinary backgrounds, deep knowledge in chosen disciplines, and technical, professional, and personal skills to become, in their own careers, leaders and creative agents for change. Offering traineeships to students pursuing their PhDs, the program is intended to catalyze a cultural change in graduate education by establishing innovative new models for graduate education and training in a fertile environment for collaborative research that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries. It is also intended to facilitate diversity in student participation and preparation, and to contribute to a world-class, broadly inclusive, and globally engaged science and engineering workforce. Columbia University is home to four IGERT programs:

Solving Urbanization Challenges by Design: A New PhD Program Between Architecture and Engineering - School of Engineering and Applied Science
The goal of this IGERT program is to integrate architectural and engineering PhD education in a new interdisciplinary program that aims to fundamentally transform design and planning approaches to contemporary urban expansion. IGERT trainees will make use of emerging science and technology research at the interface of architecture and engineering to develop new paradigms that enable urban areas to adapt to changing requirements, absorb disturbance and effectively reorganize and recover, and reduce their impact on the natural environment. Collaborations with universities in urban environments located within Europe, Africa and Asia will provide a global perspective to the program. This IGERT program will graduate a cohort of diverse doctoral students who can help shape the policies, priorities, and investments needed for contemporary urbanization. Participants include students and faculty from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, School of International and Public Affairs, Mailman School of Public Health, and Earth Institute.

Engineering Photons for a Sustainable Future – School of Engineering and Applied Science
This IGERT program facilitates the unique interdisciplinary training of PhD scientists and engineers in the field of sustainable and renewable energy solutions. The energy economy is an immediate and grand challenge that must be tackled by current and future generations of scientists and engineers. This program addresses this challenge by focusing on technology innovations in two subsystems of direct relevance: next-generation solar photovoltaics, and next-generation efficient optical data and communications networks. The cross-training scientific research is synergistically integrated with innovative educational approaches and an emphasis on underrepresented groups. Working with major industrial partners, the IGERT will conduct outreach to undergraduate and K-12 schools in Harlem and Nashville, encouraging underrepresented groups to enter science, technology, engineering, and mathematics areas of higher education.

From Data to Solutions: A New PhD Program in Transformational Data & Information Sciences Research and Innovation – School of Engineering and Applied Science
This IGERT program provides PhD students with the interdisciplinary training necessary to extract useful information from vast amounts of collected data. Consumer opinions, information on disease and its symptoms, and breaking information on social websites allow information gathering on a scale previously unknown. Columbia University and the City University of New York, in collaboration with international partners in Argentina and Brazil, have created a new program involving the interdisciplinary training of students in making sense of big data. Researchers from Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Psychology, and Statistics are partnering with Biomedical Informatics, Business and Journalism to educate this next generation of information scientists. Aided by advisors from large corporations, major research labs, and small start-up companies, the program encourages IGERT trainees to pursue patents, and to apply their research in society. A major goal of the program is to attract more diverse students to information sciences by emphasizing real world applications, a supportive environment, and diverse faculty role models.

Optical techniques for actuation, sensing, and imaging of biological systems – School of Engineering and Applied Science
In this IGERT program a new generation of scientists and engineers will be trained through a set of five research thrusts that cross three fundamental core competency areas: optics, photonics, and sensor electronics; biomolecular detection and cellular-level analysis; and applications to medicine and public health. With 19 faculty members representing academic departments across Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, School of Arts and Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Teachers College, and incorporating strong interaction with City College, Queens College, and The Cooper Union in New York City, IGERT trainees will experience a truly diverse community sharing in integrated educational and research activities and will be exposed to a wide spectrum of cutting-edge applications. This program fulfills a compelling need to train a diverse workforce of U. S. scientists and engineers trained in an area of large and growing competitive importance to the United States. Significant resources are committed to ensuring recruitment and retention of participants from underrepresented groups.

Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) – Mailman School of Public Health
The Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD), an education project funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, is aimed at increasing the number of underrepresented students who enter research careers in public health. The program supports eight doctoral students with one to two years of research mentoring, tuition benefits, and funding to attend scientific conferences.

HIV Intervention Science Training Program for Underrepresented New Investigators – School of Social Work
Columbia University’s HIV Science Training Program for Underrepresented New Investigators (HISTP), funded by National Institutes of Mental Health, is a multidisciplinary training program that seeks to develop and facilitate the growth of scientists from underrepresented groups conducting HIV-related dissemination and implementation research. The program’s goals are to address the urgent need to increase dissemination and implementation research to ensure that effective HIV prevention interventions are delivered to the communities that need them, and to train a new generation of HIV researchers to conduct such research to make a major impact in reducing new HIV infections, particularly among communities of color. Fellows participating in the program receive two years of support via an innovative dual mentorship structure, training seminars, workshops and institutes, pilot study support, and grantwriting assistance. The program utilizes a distance learning approach which allows junior faculty from across the U.S. to participate from their respective institutions.

Programs to Increase Diversity Among Individuals Engaged in Health-Related Research (PRIDE) – Mailman School of Public Health/College of Physicians and Surgeons
The goal of Programs to Increase Diversity Among Individuals Engaged in Health-Related Research (PRIDE) is to recruit and train junior scientists who can improve public health and reduce health disparities nationwide. Sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, it provides rigorous training and mentoring opportunities to junior faculty members from underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups, disadvantaged backgrounds, and individuals with disabilities and equips them with the essential skills needed to conduct comparative effectiveness research and secure grant funding to address today's most complex health problems.


The Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Planning has provided support to facilitate conferences and symposia related to race and gender, including funds for:

• The creation of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Council, 2013-2014
• A conference titled “Are the Gods Afraid of Black Sexuality” in October 2014 (a project of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies)
• A conference titled “Challenging Punishment Conference: Race, Public Health, and the War on Drugs” in October 2013 (a project of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies)


The Provost’s Advisory Council, formed in 2012, plays a key advisory role to the Provost on the University’s diversity efforts, including:
• Providing expertise and guidance on programs concerning faculty and pipeline diversity, inclusiveness and equity, and faculty development
• Recommending approaches to strengthen the presence, prominence and role of women and underrepresented minorities in leadership positions at Columbia
• Championing the University diversity mission within their academic units, across campus and among external stakeholders

Members of the Advisory Council have also participated in a series of in-depth interviews to learn more about their perceptions of Columbia’s progress in strengthening a climate of inclusiveness and support for junior and senior faculty from underrepresented groups. Results of these interviews, and junior faculty interviews, have helped to inform the work of the Council and of the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Planning.


The use of data remains a key part of our diversity efforts. In partnership with the Office of Institutional Research (OPIR), data is compiled to show the race and gender composition of all graduate students and faculty in every department of the University. This data, presented as an overview by year for the last ten years, allows for evaluations of how well departments are incorporating diversity efforts to impact their faculty and student demographics. These data, as well as analyses of any unit lacking female and/or underrepresented minority tenured/tenure-track faculty are made available to diversity leaders at each School.
Office of Work/Life programs support the building of a diverse faculty in a number of ways. The following services are available to faculty being recruited in addition to current faculty.
Support for Families:
• Affiliated Child Care Centers: arrangements with area early education and child care centers to prioritize admission of Columbia families
• Backup Care: 100 hours of subsidized backup child care and adult/elder care is available to elgigible faculty and staff
• Breastfeeding Support Program: private lactation rooms on all campuses equipped with hospital grade pumps – allowing mothers to express milk when they return to work after childbirth
• School and Child Care Search Service: free individual consultation to assist parents with finding child care and schooling for their children in and around New York City
Support for Relocation:
• Faculty Spouse/Partner Dual Career Service: assist accompanying faculty spouses and partners in searching for academic and non-academic careers
• Housing Information and Referral Service: individual consultation on renting or purchasing in and around New York City
Support for Targeted Populations
• The Office of Work/Life has organized workshops and discussion groups around topics such as: Legal Issues for LGBTQ Adoption, Persons with Disabilities on Campus, Veterans, etc

The website URL where more information about the faculty diversity program(s) is available :

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.