SUNY selects Buffalo State to increase faculty diversity

Feb 4, 2019

SUNY Buffalo State has been selected to play lead a new initiative to increase faculty diversity.  WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says the college was selected for a pilot program called PRODI-G by SUNY. 

“Including the first one we are announcing today at Buffalo State, which will see the multi-disciplinary Africana Studies department,” declared Kristina Johnson, chancellor, SUNY.

Inside a Buffalo State classroom where teachers worked with city school students in past years.
Credit WBFO News file photo by Eileen Buckley

Johnson declaring this program during her State of the University Address last week. SUNY is now working toward a goal of increasing faculty diversity.

Buffalo State will take the lead in PRODI-G - which stands for Promoting, Recruitment, Opportunity, Diversity, Inclusion and Growth.

"Recruiting and retaining diverse faculty is something very much on my meter all the time,” said Katherine Conway-Turner, president, SUNY Buffalo State.

Conway-Turner tweeted out the campus is "proud to play a leading role" in the new initiative. She declared "From diversity comes strength."

“That when students don’t see anybody that looks like them or has their life experience or they can feel they can really relate on a real intrinsic level – I think it really does dash their spirits toward leaning in that direction,” explained Conway-Turner.

Buffalo State will be the first campus in the SUNY system to receive funding to hire a cluster of five faculty members from unrepresented minorities to start this fall.  Those professors will be part of an Africana Studies Department.   

Outside Buffalo State campus.
Credit WBFO News file photo by Eileen Buckley

“And so, for instance, you might be a political scientist, and that’s what your area is – but you also focus on issues related to Africana studies – African peoples political processes or voting patterns or any variety of things in terms of political science or you might be a historian,” Conway-Turner stated.

The goal of this program is to recruit and retain up to 1,000 early to mid-career professors from unrepresented groups over the next ten years.