The Faculty of Arts and Sciences Senate’s draft report about diversity and inclusion has highlighted the senate’s growing ability to obtain and analyze new information as well as its increasing communications with University administrators.
In previous reports about faculty conduct standards and the expansion of the new residential colleges, the senate, which is in its inaugural year, has often highlighted its limited access to key information. However, in this latest draft report, the senate has successfully obtained never-before-seen statistics about junior faculty hiring and retention from the Office of Institutional Research, which keeps historical data about the University. This is the first time the senate has obtained a significant set of data that was specifically analyzed at its request. The drafting of the report also reasserts the senate’s role of bringing faculty voices to matters of University governance and opening channels of communication with top administrators: Members of the senate’s executive committee met with three members of the Yale Corporation during the Corporation’s last visit to campus in early April, and the Corporation has expressed an interest in reading reports adopted by the Senate, according to classics professor and senate executive council member Emily Greenwood, who chaired the senate subcommittee that authored the diversity report.
“The draft report shows how the senate and the administration can work together to address critical issues, and also how the senate can help to push for action where action is most needed,” Senate Chair and History Director of Undergraduate Studies Beverly Gage ’94 said.
In order to analyze the state of diversity in faculty hiring and tenure trends, the committee worked extensively with the OIR and the FAS dean’s office to break down relevant statistics in new ways. Anthropology professor Doug Rogers, who served on the subcommittee and who is one of two professors in charge of analyzing the report’s data, said that though the OIR could not provide all the data the committee had hoped for, it put substantial manpower into the senate’s request. The office was eventually able to provide a set of new data in a short timeframe. Rogers added that the OIR staff collaborated with committee members in person to interpret data and explain the availability of different statistics.
The new statistics helped the committee ask better questions, look for trends and focus on efforts to improve, Rogers said.
Assistant Vice President for Strategic Analysis and Institutional Research Tim Pavlis said the office broke down data specifically for the report. Most notably, Pavlis said, the OIR provided historical trends on hiring and advancement to tenure for assistant professors — information that was previously unavailable.
“The committee told us the questions they wanted to answer, and we were able to identify data — some of which had not been analyzed in this form before — that best answered those questions,” Pavlis said.
In addition to highlighting the senate’s growing power to secure relevant data, the report also represents the renewed emphasis on faculty ownership and responsibility that has emerged from the FAS Senate’s creation in 2015.
Throughout the report, the subcommittee emphasized how FAS professors can contribute to important University conversations, and how FAS departments and individuals can take on the responsibility of promoting faculty diversity. The composition of the subcommittee itself demonstrates the senate’s approach in incorporating a diverse range of faculty voices: all three academic divisions — humanities, social sciences and sciences and engineering — are represented in the subcommittee. The report states that members of the committee speak in different voices and reflect their diverse academic backgrounds and training.
“As studies on diversity in educational institutions have shown, to recognize the exigency of a moment is not enough. Much depends on how thoughtfully and expeditiously commitments to diversity and inclusion are put into practice,” the report wrote in reference to student protests in the fall and the administration’s subsequent statements about diversity. “We make this point not as a criticism, but to acknowledge that faculty in FAS have a shared responsibility for interpreting and implementing our University’s commitment to diversity.”
Greenwood said the senate, which was created to give a collective voice to the FAS faculty, has unified professors in their efforts to address various issues of governance.
“[The creation of the FAS Senate] means that faculty in different departments and divisions can collaborate nimbly and share information and ideas,” Greenwood said. “FAS faculty have always played leading roles in working for greater diversity at Yale, but they have tended to do so in smaller groups.”
The FAS Senate will host the University’s first-ever “State of the FAS” event in Kroon Hall’s Burke Auditorium on April 28 at 4 p.m.