Purdue University has initiated a new program that will enlist current faculty and staff members to come up with strategies to further increase the diversity of the faculty and the student body. The Purdue Diversity Transformation Award is a project led by Deba Dutta, the university’s provost.
Under the initiative, Purdue will allocate $1 million to fund five to eight faculty proposals aimed at increasing diversity. Grants will be issued for up to $150,000 for two years. A faculty review panel will look at all proposals and decide which should get funded. Proposals for programs aimed at recruitment, enrollment, retention and graduation of underrepresented minority students, programs aimed a recruitment and retention of a diverse faculty, and initiatives for making the Purdue campus a more welcoming environment for all members of the community will receive priority consideration.
Mark J.T. Smith, the Brick Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and dean of the Graduate School at Purdue, stated that “the nation is dramatically changing demographically and students need to be educated and prepared to excel in a multicultural work environment. Diversity and inclusiveness better ensures the highest-quality education for all students, providing them exposure to a full spectrum of creative ideas, perspectives, and experiences.”
Professor Smith is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology.