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Cluster hire program addresses racism and social inequality

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Five new WSU faculty positions have been created to help promote equity and diversity across the Washington State University System.

The new positions are an integral part of the University’s Racism and Social Inequality in the Americas cluster hire program which was initiated by Provost and Executive Vice President Elizabeth Chilton to demonstrate WSU’s commitment to inclusive excellence. The program is designed to address the urgent need for faculty specializing in interdisciplinary research topics associated with equity and diversity.

The Office of the Provost welcomed proposals from across the University system this fall. Out of the 27 proposals submitted, five will be funded across two colleges, on the Pullman and Tri-Cities campuses.

“We have been impressed and inspired by the response to the call for proposals and very much look forward to partnering with these new faculty members in advancing our land grant mission,” Chilton said. “The past year, in particular, exposed the need for greater research and scholarship aimed at dismantling systemic racism, and we’re thrilled to recruit faculty who will broaden and deepen our commitment to racial equality in a wide array of disciplines and help us transform the institution.”

The following proposals were accepted:

  • African Diasporas in the Americas (Department of History)
  • Indigenous Knowledge, Data Sovereignty, and Decolonization (Digital Technology and Culture Program and WSU Tri-Cities)
  • Music of Black Americans/Music and Social Justice (School of Music)
  • Racialized Justice in America (Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology)
  • Social and Environmental Justice (School of Design and Construction)

These new faculty members will help address significant needs within each unit and help to break ground in new areas of research and scholarship. Recruiting for the positions will begin before the end of the month.

Professor Lisa Guerrero, associate vice provost for inclusive excellence, will manage the cluster hire program as one of her first initiatives in her new position.

“I look forward to working with leadership to recruit and retain faculty that will help us address a critical need in our community,” Guerrero said. “As the state’s land grant university, we must be committed to building knowledge and advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. This program is an important step in expanding our capacity to develop scholarship in racism and social equality, and promote collaboration with faculty across campuses, colleges, and units.”

The Racism and Social Inequality in the Americas cluster hire program will continue in 2022 and 2023. More detailed information will be forthcoming.

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