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Faculty Diversity and Excellence

Northwestern University is committed to increasing our faculty diversity and enhancing our climate of equity and inclusion so that all faculty members are empowered to do their best work. President Morton Schapiro and former Provost Daniel Linzer have stated, “True diversity is defined not only as differences in individual backgrounds, personal identities, intellectual approaches, and demographics; it is also the

Photo of Lane Fenrich and Nitasha Sharma

removal of barriers and the creation of space that allow individuals to fully engage in the life of the university. As individuals of our own unique identities—be it comprised of faith, race, sexuality, gender, abilities, socioeconomic class, etc.–we each offer an irreplaceable opportunity to examine the issues before us from a newly encountered dimension. The commitment to providing these opportunities equally to each and every member of our community is the force behind creating a diverse, ideal Northwestern University.”

The work of the Office of the Provost encompasses these values. Our initiatives are designed to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects – including, but not limited to race/ethnicity, and gender, as well as disability, sexual orientation, and gender expression and identity.

photo of the 2018 Faculty Diversity Award recipients Lane Fenrich (left) and Nitasha Sharma (right)

Faculty Diversity and Excellence Group

Jabbar R. Bennett, Associate Provost and Chief Diversity Officer; Associate Professor of Medicine, FSM and Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, Vice Provost for Academics and Associate Provost for Faculty; Frances Willard Professor of Human Development and Social Policy, SESP, co-convene a cross-school group of faculty members to help formulate initiatives and priorities to foster faculty diversity and excellence.  This group meets quarterly and is comprised of instructional/clinical and tenure-line faculty members from across the University, and with representation from the Faculty Senate, the Organization for Women Faculty, and the Feinberg Medical School Women Faculty Organization. A list of the Faculty Diversity and Excellence Group members can be found here.

The work of this group has been instrumental in helping to shape multiple priorities and initiatives which are centered around four main areas:

Community Building

We are committed to providing opportunities for faculty to connect with each other across discipline, school, and campus. Here are just a few of the opportunities we provide for different faculty communities to convene throughout the year.

Faculty Searches and Hiring 

We are committed to increasing the diversity of our faculty—success in this requires concerted, well-planned action on the part of search committees, department chairs, deans, and the institution at large. To assist schools and search committees in identifying, recruiting, hiring, and retaining the most diverse and excellent faculty, we have developed a robust set of online resources for Faculty Search Committees.

We have also mandated the designation of an Equity Representative for all full-time faculty search committees. This individual is a senior faculty member serving on the search committee who is charged with helping to ensure objectivity throughout all phases of the search. The Equity Representative helps to educate search committee members around best practices and the role of implicit and explicit biases throughout the entire search process.

We are also working with schools, departments, and faculty search committees to provide targeted training around implementing these best practices.  If you are interested in engaging our office for any in-person training or guidance, please contact us

Faculty Awards and Funding

Through an annual grants and awards program, we fund faculty-led initiatives to build a more diverse, inclusive and equitable climate on campus. These funding mechanisms are intended to increase our faculty diversity across all spectrums including, but not limited to race, gender, religion, socioeconomic status, age and political affiliation. 

Women Faculty

Increasing support for our women and women-identified faculty is a key priority of the Office of the Provost. Learn more about our women faculty initiatives and programs here.

Through our work we strive to:

This ongoing work is guided by the Provost’s Advisory Council on Women Faculty and is conducted in partnership with the Faculty Senate, the Organization for Women Faculty, the Feinberg Women Faculty Organization, and the Women’s Center.