Penn Releases Diversity Action Plans

Anna Pan, The Daily Pennsylvanian, August 1, 2012

Penn has announced its Faculty Diversity Action Plans, through which it will spend $100 million on hiring and retaining more diverse faculty members over the next five years.

Each of the 12 undergraduate and graduate schools worked with the central administration to develop their plans separately during the past academic year.

“The school culture is as important as the specific steps and approaches we take in recruiting new faculty,” Richard Gelles, dean of the School of Social Policy& Practice, wrote in an email.

The June 2011 release of the University’s Diversity Action Plan received a mixed response from student groups at Penn. A list of suggestions for the plan was approved by the Undergraduate Assembly in January, and minority groups—including the United Minorities Council, the Latino Coalition, the Asian Pacific Student Coalition and Penn Consortium of Undergraduate Women—contributed their thoughts to the proposal.

The release of the plans follows a significant push for diversity within Penn’s schools in recent years. For example, the College of Arts and Sciences plan states the number of minority standing faculty members increased from 11 to 17 percent from the 2001-2002 school year to the 2011-2012 school year. {snip}

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However, some student groups are not fully satisfied with the action plans.

Rising College senior Jake Tolan, vice chair of political affairs of the LGBT umbrella group Lambda Alliance, believes all of the plans are “underwhelming in general.”

“A lot of schools lack any mention of sexual orientation diversity,” he said. “There’s a really strong implicit ‘We’re just talking about women’ in the plans, and they’re not talking about transgender.”

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