Governor Cuomo Launches PRODiG Initiative to Increase Faculty Diversity on All SUNY Campuses

March 18, 2019

From the office of Governor Cuomo

Guidelines Issued to Campuses for First of Its Kind Program to Attract and Retain Faculty from Underrepresented Groups

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the launch of PRODiG - Promoting Recruitment, Opportunity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Growth - an initiative by The State University of New York to increase faculty diversity to better reflect the diversity of students across its 64 campuses. This is the first of its kind multi-faceted strategy at this scale, and includes campus hiring and retention programs with a goal of hiring 1,000 professors from underrepresented groups by 2030. These guidelines have been issued to all campuses.

"New York's strength comes from not only celebrating our rich cultures but working aggressively to expand opportunities to increase diversity in our SUNY faculty," Governor Cuomo said. "This first of its kind initiative is at the heart of SUNY's core values and reflects New York's deep commitment to providing the highest quality and richly diverse education in the nation."

"In New York, we celebrate our rich culture and diversity that makes us the Empire State," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "We want to make sure that our faculty in the State University of New York system include representation that reflects our incredible the student population. We are committed to breaking barriers when it comes to those who are underrepresented in their professions, particularly in the STEM fields. This initiative is another step toward our goal of achieving equality for all New Yorkers, from college to careers and all aspects of everyday life."

A diverse faculty is critical to academic excellence and is key to preparing all students to live and work in an increasingly global, inclusive, and interconnected world.  SUNY has made considerable progress toward enrolling a broadly diverse student body that reflects the multifaceted diversity of New York. As of Fall 2018, 28.5 percent of SUNY students are from underrepresented minority groups, up from 27.9 percent in 2017, and 15.4 percent in 2007.

SUNY's success in diversifying its students has not yet been matched by similar gains among the faculty. Underrepresented groups currently comprise about eight percent of all SUNY faculty members. PRODiG aggressively aims to approximately double those ranks within the next decade. SUNY's size, as well as the wide range of campus locations and degree programs, creates opportunities that PRODiG will leverage in order to support student success, and promote excellence through the representation of diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences.

SUNY Chairman H. Carl McCall said, "We are pleased to be in a state with a Governor who has set a clear commitment to diversity and inclusion at all levels, and as such has made our campuses welcoming to more leaders, faculty, staff, and students. Through PRODiG we are reaffirming our values, and focusing on our faculty to encourage more people to join our ranks."

SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson said, "SUNY continues to be a leader in affordable high quality education and focusing on increasing faculty diversity - particularly underrepresented minorities and women in STEM disciplines - is the right thing to do at the right time. PRODiG is personal to me—during my eight years as an undergrad and graduate student I didn't initially consider becoming a professor in my field in large part because there were no female faculty members in STEM. This first of its kind program delivers on a commitment that SUNY will continue to listen to the needs of students and faculty and find creative ways to expand their education experience at campuses across the state."  

PRODiG, primarily funded by New York State through a Performance Improvement Fund, is designed to attract and retain a more diverse faculty, and narrow the gap in diverse representation between students and faculty. Through the initiative, SUNY will support campus efforts to recruit up to 1,000 early-to-mid-career professors from underrepresented groups by 2030. This program is system-wide and is designed to leverage campus resources and build on campus strengths.

Through PRODiG, SUNY will provide three-year salary support grants for underrepresented groups in STEM disciplines, after which the positions will be fully funded by each campus. SUNY system's Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI), led by Senior Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Chief Diversity Officer Teresa A. Miller, will lead the initiative.

In addition, SUNY will begin tracking talented students from the time they are in high school, creating a pipeline of students aspiring to careers in academia, encouraging the students through mentoring conferences and support. SUNY will also provide one-time graduate stipends of $5,000 each to support incoming doctoral students.

Through the Guidelines to Campuses, SUNY will engage campuses in identifying challenges and opportunities for increasing faculty diversity. Campuses participated in the first PRODiG proposal workshop at Binghamton University earlier this month.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, with 64 college and university campuses located within 30 miles of every home, school, and business in the state. As of Fall 2018, more than 424,000 students were enrolled in a degree program at a SUNY campus. In total, SUNY served 1.4 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs in the 2017-18 academic year. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Its students and faculty make significant contributions to research and discovery, contributing to a $1.6 billion research portfolio. There are 3 million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit www.suny.edu.


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