Improving faculty diversity – An evolving challenge

Thirty-four years ago, Ninan Abraham arrived in Halifax, Canada. He was an international student and was relieved to meet others who looked like him on campus. But he didn’t see that diversity being reflected among professors and instructors. Today, as a professor of immunology at the University of British Columbia (UBC), he is working to make sure the next generation of students see more diversity within faculty ranks, writes Hina Imam for The Globe and Mail.

At UBC, the faculty has been working on the issue of improving its staff diversity over the last 10 years, and UBC isn’t alone in taking those initiatives. Other campuses such as McGill University and the University of Alberta have launched programmes to support under-represented students. For Abraham, it’s important to provide a supportive space for groups that have been marginalised in the past so that they have a better chance of succeeding.

He attributes the faculty of science’s progress on this issue to a series of changes his predecessors instituted, including looking at who gets to do the hiring. “Search committees can’t be just male,” he said. Another change has been the adoption of self-identification surveys to track its applicant pool and existing faculty. This way Abraham can see the different levels of diversity among the different levels of employment: who applied, who got shortlisted, who got an offer and who got hired.
Full report on The Globe and Mail site