$1.3 million to stimulate the leadership of arts and humanities teachers

$1.3 million grant from the Mellon Foundation will expand the University of Utah’s highly successful Presidential Leadership Scholars pilot program to Salt Lake Community College, Utah State University and Weber State University . The program aims to increase the number of academic leaders in the arts and humanities, especially those historically excluded and underrepresented from the ranks of university chairs, deans, and presidents. In addition to training and mentorship, fellows will attend a series of high-level meetings to simultaneously learn and apply new skills and observe how seasoned leaders engage.

A generous three-year grant from the Mellon Foundation launched the Presidential Leadership Fellows pilot program in April 2019, one of the few pilot programs of its kind. Even during a global pandemic, the program has been a great success and has promoted many of the U’s inaugural fellows into leadership roles:

  • Erika George is now director of the Tanner Humanities Center.
  • Joy Pierce is set to become dean.
  • Jason Burrow-Sanchez recently accepted the position of faculty athletic representative and is also set to become dean.
  • Annie Isabel Fukushima is now Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies, Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research, and continues as Associate Professor in the Division of Ethnic Studies.
  • Harris Smith is now Dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of New Mexico.

“The Presidential Leadership Fellowship gave me the opportunity to connect with leadership at the highest level at the University of Utah, where I learned how institutions make decisions, enact policies and actions , communicate with their constituents, and envision equity and inclusion even in the face of multiple challenges and changes – institutional and societal. This has been central to shaping my own leadership efforts and practices, for which I am grateful Fukushima said.

“We are excited to take this project further and expand it to three campuses across the state, as we have already seen its benefits here at the U,” said Taylor Randall, president of the U. “I believe that our collective commitment to this program will shine a national spotlight on the importance of the arts and humanities in academia – not only as soul and spirit, but also as a source of leaders and gifted administrators.

The expansion to new campuses reflects other investments made by the Mellon Foundation, such as the partnership of three Maryland institutions led by Dean Kimberly Moffitt of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. This program, Breaking the MOLD, is a multi-year program designed to support the leadership of Black, Hispanic, Native American, or Alaska Native teachers and women in the arts and humanities while being open to others engaged in the diversification of academic leadership. If successful, the program could provide a roadmap for organizations across the country to expand leadership ranks among scholars from underrepresented disciplines and identities, Indigenous populations, and racial and ethnic groups. .

“As flagships, we have a responsibility to collaborate with our USHE institutions so that together we uplift and shape emerging leaders in the arts and humanities, positioning them for success in leadership positions. We are grateful to the Mellon Foundation and our colleagues in the Maryland Consortium’s Breaking the MOLD program for their inspiration in moving this collaboration forward,” said Mary Ann Villarreal, Vice President for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. at the U and principal researcher of the grant.

The Utah Presidential Leadership Fellows program has several phases. The first is an extensive selection process to identify faculty with a proven track record of promoting fairness, equity, diversity, and inclusivity on campus. The candidate pool will include all associate and full-level faculty with a professional background in the arts and humanities. The immersive experience phase is at the heart of the program; Scholars participate in the highest levels of on-campus leadership, professional and development activities, and mentoring sessions from the president, cabinet members, and other higher education leaders.

With the expansion of the grant, U has partnered with three strong leaders to test whether the model will be as effective in other settings as it was at U:

Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) has strong programs and connections in the performing arts and humanities, with classes, programs, and significant community outreach in cultural studies, LGBTQIA+, philosophy, science humanities, journalism, the performing arts and social justice. The SLCC has also launched programs to recruit and develop a diverse cohort of the next generation of professors, scholars, and institutional leaders.

“As the most racially and ethnically diverse institution of higher learning in the State of Utah, attracting strong talent into our faculty and administrative ranks who can serve as role models for our students is a primary goal. “said Deneece Huftalin, president of SLCC, in her letter of support.

Utah State University (USU) has prioritized diversity and inclusion, from its Latinx Cultural Center to developing and hosting the annual Inclusive Excellence Symposium to l investment in USU Inclusion Center. On July 1, USU welcomed Jane Irungu as the inaugural Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Additionally, USU has an active partnership with Fort Valley State University—a historically black college or university in Georgia—which provides opportunities for exchanges of students, faculty, administrators, and board members. administration between the two institutions.

“This program will provide early-career faculty at our university with professional development opportunities, specifically focused on understanding a higher education institution,” USU President Noelle Cockett said in her letter of support. .

Weber State University (WSU) has a thriving arts and humanities program that will complement this collaboration well. To reflect the growing demographic diversity in its region, Weber State established in its five-year strategic plan the goal of becoming an institution serving emerging Hispanics and prioritized equity, diversity, and inclusion. inclusion as the first of its five strategic objectives.

“Weber State looks forward to collaborating with the University of Utah and other partner institutions to increase representation in academic leadership of historically underrepresented disciplines and identities,” said WSU President Brad Mortensen in his letter of support.

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