Prof. Ron Halterman (Chair of Chemistry, University of Oklahoma) has revamped the diversity climate within his department by effecting change via the introduction of inclusive policies, procedures and actions.
His accomplishments towards improving diversity climate include:
- Added graduate student representation to faculty search committees. This change increased level of discussion regarding student mentoring and widened the perspective of how we define excellence.
- Took advantage of university investments in prior hiring and retaining faculty who increased our departmental diversity.
- Over many years, sought out and participated in diversity activities and discussions, particularly through programming offered by the Women’s and Gender Studies Center for Social Justice. This brought improved familiarity with language and ideas and formed an inclusive infrastructure on which to build.
- Led several faculty hires to replace and expand faculty. During interview process, I worked hard to develop trust with candidates and advocate strongly for them to get needed support from administration.
- Over half of recent tenure-track hires are women. Starting the 2018-19 academic year, our department has 7 women and 5 men as tenure track assistant professors. Overall faculty is almost 40% women with an improving faculty diversity.
- Meet individually with entering faculty to discuss their needs and provide advice on their path to tenure.
- Work to understand needs of work-life balance—particularly in ending meetings promptly to enable complicated off-campus scheduling to be accommodated.
- Serve as a frequent college and university panel member to discuss with department chairs our successful strategies in hiring and retaining faculty, particularly with regard to gender and underrepresented minority groups. Serve as university level panelist to discuss planning for tenure process with tenure track faculty.
- Completed faculty ally training for LGBTQ awareness and encourage faculty to take training.
- Used my Phi Beta Kappa leadership positions to invite speakers who could speak to issues of diversity.
- Oversaw the revamping of our graduate program to introduce modular variable credit graduate courses and a first year curriculum designed to bring students from various backgrounds up to speed for success in our doctoral program.
- Required graduate students to generate and maintain an individual development plan (IDP) for inclusion in annual progress to degree advisory discussions. This focus on individual needs and responsibilities contributes to a departmental climate where diversity is noted and incorporated.
- Strongly support building advantages for faculty and graduate students by supporting their conference travel, nominating them for awards, highlighting their research and teaching accomplishments.