CLAS and COE host conference to diversify future faculty members

There is a great need to diversify faculty at Illinois’ universities to reflect the student body and society to address educational disparity.

NIU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and College of Education will host a statewide conference on Saturday, Feb. 24, for Diversifying Faculty in Illinois (DFI) Fellows.  The all-day conference, titled Preparing Future Faculty, will consist of presentations, mini-workshops and roundtable discussions in an effort to inspire graduate students of color to consider the professoriate as a career path and to show students how to prepare for a career as a college professor. Among the topics addressed will be beginning the job search through conferences and networking; developing a curriculum vitae, teaching philosophy and research agenda; and seeking mentors.

“A quality college education is one that is centered on inclusive excellence — how well it values and engages the rich diversity of its students, staff, faculty, and administrators. In order to create and maintain that excellence, we need to create an environment that represents the varied backgrounds of the world we live in,” explains Janice Hamlet, conference coordinator and Director of Diversity and Inclusion Programs for CLAS. “A diverse faculty positively affects student retention and success by exposing students to the richness of human experiences and perspectives, teaching styles and diverse learning environments.”

The Preparing Future Faculty conference will present information about the professoriate at the various types of institutions of higher learning — community college, public liberal arts college, private liberal arts college and public research university. The fellows will learn about the expectations in the area of teaching, research and service required of professors in each type of institution. The conference will end with the graduate students sharing their research and engaging with a panel of current professors.

Graduate students of color from Southern Illinois University, University of Illinois –Chicago, University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign, DePaul University, Governors State University, Illinois State University, National Louis University, Loyola University and Northern Illinois University will participate.  

Conference activities will start in the Sky Room in the Holmes Student Center beginning at 8 a.m. For more information, contact Janice D. Hamlet, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, at 815-753-7954.

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