Charleston West Virginia Economic Development

Discussions on Economic and Community Development in West Virginia and the Charleston MSA as well as issues of the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

National Faculty Diversity Workshop Coming to Charleston

More than 100 higher education policymakers, research administrators and faculty members from colleges and universities across the country are expected to arrive in Charleston later this month for a workshop intended to help them recruit and retain more diverse science and engineering faculties.

The workshop, "Building Diversity in Higher Education: Strategies for Broadening Participation in the Sciences and Engineering," will be held Oct. 21-22 at the Embassy Suites Hotel. Sponsored by the West Virginia Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (WVEPSCoR), the program will feature nationally recognized diversity scholars who will lead sessions about how to recruit and retain more women, racial/ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.

According to Paul L. Hill, Ph.D., director of WVEPSCoR and vice chancellor for science and research of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, today's science and engineering faculties do not reflect the changing face of America.

"Studies show diverse work groups enrich academic departments and improve team problem-solving capabilities-a vital element in successful research programs," he said. "If the U.S. is to improve its scientific and technological competitiveness in the long term, we must be proactive now in tapping into the vast pools of talent across all segments of our society.

"Our goal for this workshop is to help institutions begin to formulate progressive faculty diversity policies and practices they can implement on their own campuses."

Hill added that workshop sessions also will help identify the common barriers that keep young people from choosing careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
"We will be looking at some of the cultural reasons we have trouble getting diverse student populations to enter science and engineering fields, and will hopefully be able to target some best practices for turning this trend around," he said.

Featured speakers at the workshop will include Rosina Becerra, Ph.D., vice provost for faculty diversity and development at the University of California, Los Angeles; Patricia Galloway, P.E., Ph.D., vice chairman of the National Science Board; Calvin Mackie, Ph.D., award-winning mentor and author; Molly Carnes, M.D., co-founder and director of the Women in Science and Engineering Leadership Institute in the University of Wisconsin's College of Engineering; Ed Galindo, Ph.D., head of the Natural Resources Tribal Cooperative at the University of Idaho's Aquaculture Research Institute; Michael Lee, executive director of the Kentucky-West Virginia Alliance for Minority Participation; Sue V. Rosser, Ph.D., dean of the Ivan Allen College at the Georgia Institute of Technology and author of "The Science Glass Ceiling;" Laureen Summers, program associate for the Project on Science, Technology and Disability at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); Wallace Southerland, Ph.D., associate director of the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program at the University of Maryland; and Jesse Thompson Jr., Ed.D., assistant dean and coordinator of diversity programs in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Partial support for the workshop is being provided by the National Science Foundation. Co-sponsors include the Kentucky-West Virginia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, the Marshall University ADVANCE program and West Virginia University.

For more information, visit or call (304) 558-4128.


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