Chancellor Malatras Announces 72 Full-Time Faculty Hires as Part of Second PRODiG Class to Increase Diversity on SUNY Campuses

March 23, 2021

Adds to Total PRODiG Hires of 149 Faculty at 31 SUNY Campuses, Under-Represented Minority New Hires Up 36% Year-Over-Year

Expanding PRODiG Initiative Part of SUNY's Recently Approved 25-Point Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan

Photos Available Online Here

New Paltz, NY – State University of New York Jim Malatras announced today the second PRODiG class of 72 full-time faculty hires as a part of the recruitment and retention program to increase diversity on SUNY campuses. Now in its second year, PRODiG (Promoting Recruitment, Opportunity, Diversity, Inclusion and Growth) has led to the hiring of 149 faculty amongst 31 SUNY campuses, increasing faculty diversity, and with under-represented minority new hires up 36 percent year over year.

At SUNY, Black and Hispanic faculty represent 4 percent and 3.4 percent of members, respectively. Through PRODiG, SUNY is changing that by engaging campuses in identifying challenges and opportunities for increasing faculty diversity and by creating a more robust pipeline for graduate students interested in academic careers. SUNY provides financial support to campuses to support new faculty hires, and PRODiG faculty members receive support from SUNY and their campuses through webinars, mentoring, and grants to support their success and continued advancement.

As part of SUNY's comprehensive 25-point Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan, announced in February, SUNY is developing a program to expand PRODiG to better serve community colleges. Currently, only nine community colleges are a part of the program.

Chancellor Malatras made the announcement from SUNY New Paltz with President Don Christian. The campus' PRODiG plan to increase faculty diversity has resulted in 41 percent of all new faculty hires being among under-represented minorities, a historic high for the campus.

"While SUNY's students more broadly represent the diversity of New York State and a cross-section of our nation and the world, we acknowledge the need and importance to have a more diverse faculty," said Chancellor Malatras. "By creating a pipeline and backing it with dedicated support, our PRODiG program has already increased the number of new faculty hires from under-represented minorities by nearly 40 percent, and we will continue to expand this program to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion remain not just the mission of SUNY, but that it is also followed up with real, sustainable change to close racial equity gaps, and eliminate cultural and racial discrimination across SUNY. I thank former Chancellor Kristina Johnson for getting the program off the ground and SUNY Chief Diversity Officer Teresa Miller for the ongoing effort to expand and grow the program. There's more work to be done to make SUNY a more equitable and diverse system, but today was another important step towards that important goal."

SUNY Board Vice Chairman Cesar Perales said, "Today, we proudly congratulate our newest PRODiG faculty members as we celebrate the growth of this important initiative. SUNY is recruiting excellent faculty members that can serve as an inspiration to all students, but in particular our students of color. It is important that they feel they have mentors they can seek out and who will create a welcome environment in the classroom."

SUNY Board Trustee and co-chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Marcos A. Crespo said, "We have heard the concerns from individuals throughout SUNY system calling for equitable representation of faculty from under-represented backgrounds in our departments across disciplines. This new class of PRODiG hires will bring creativity, drive, and ingenuity to their programs, inspiring students to follow their academic passions and providing a safe space for them to learn and grow. I believe in vision, action, and accountability, which PRODiG provides, and it will be important for this initiative to expand further."

SUNY Board Trustee and co-chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Camille Joseph Varlack said, "We are at a time in our history where institutions are being called to task, and SUNY has shown that it is capable of leading the charge on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Today's announcement regarding the newest class of PRODiG faculty hires is a testament to this effort, and we celebrate our 72 new members. There is more work to be done, and through SUNY's 25-Point Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan, there is a commitment and defined strategy to move SUNY forward."

SUNY New Paltz President Don Christian said, "One of the longest standing and most unfulfilled challenges facing higher education is to diversify the workforce of the academy and to create learning and working environments that are equitable and inclusive so that every member of our community can achieve their full promise. PRODiG has created a framework and offered funding for intentional and sustained change and helped us take bigger and bolder steps in our journey to be a more inclusive campus."

SUNY New Paltz Professor Martine Kei Green-Rogers said, "My experience at SUNY New Paltz has been a transformative one—I have felt seen and heard by those in the theatre department, and I know I am not just here because of how I look and the diversity I represent, but because of the knowledge and skills I possess. I am thrilled about the prospects of more purposeful and targeted hires of faculty from marginalized and under-represented groups to sense this same feeling. And, I am especially excited for the present and future students who will be able to experience the depth and breadth that is available to them when their faculty is truly diverse in lived experience and thought."

Jadzia "JJ" Devis, SUNY New Paltz theatre arts major graduating in May 2021, said, "Growing up in a white part of town as a Black individual is hard—it wasn't until SUNY New Paltz where I saw multiple Black professors, especially in the field I want to pursue. Having a diverse faculty on all campuses and in all fields is important, as it helps current students complete their degree and become notable alumni. Seeing and getting to know professors of color who teach in my major and are accomplished is extremely inspiring and lets me know there is a greater chance for me to succeed regardless of my skin color."

PRODiG is led by SUNY Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer Teresa Miller. PRODiG faculty were selected after an exhaustive search for outstanding candidates and based on their scholarship, research, innovative teaching techniques, as well as their body of work, fields of study, interests, leadership potential, and colleagues' recommendations.

SUNY Chief Diversity Officer Miller said, "These individuals represent the best and brightest the university system and that this nation has to offer. Our campuses considered applications from outstanding scholars and researchers from every region of this country and across myriad disciplines and inclusive of all demographics. We are excited about the innovation, creativity, and leadership these new SUNY faculty will bring into our classrooms and research labs throughout the system."

SUNY New Paltz's new PRODiG faculty members include: Adolfo Bejar Lara, languages, literature, and cultures; Latanya Brandon, teaching and learning; Matthieu Chapman, theatre arts; Aurora De Armendi, art; Asilia Franklin-Phipps, teaching and learning; Christina Koehne, math; Ethan Madarieta, English; and Ramon Vasquez, teaching and learning. Seven are faculty of color.

SUNY has quickly begun implementing the recommendations from the 25-Point Action Plan. Last month, the Board of Trustees immediately adopted one of the Action Plan's recommendations, creating a Board Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee to review SUNY racial equity policy. Chairman Merryl H. Tisch appointed Trustees Marcos A. Crespo and Camille Joseph Varlack as co-chairs of the committee. In addition, SUNY will conduct a survey starting September 1 that will provide a comprehensive review of discrimination and racial inequities on all campuses.

For information about PRODiG, please click here. For the full SUNY Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Phase One Action Plan, please click here.

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, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.3 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2021, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three 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 suny.edu.


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