University Initiatives

“Much of this work is unglamorous, focused not on flashy symbols but on the nuts and bolts of University management.  That is essential:  to care about eradicating systemic racism, one has to care about systems.  The Cabinet understands how to interrogate and improve the University’s systems, and I am proud of the dedication and imagination brought to the charge I gave its members.  We expect our work to continue throughout this year and beyond…”
President Christopher L. Eisgruber, September 2020
From the update to the campus community

The following will serve as our areas of initial focus as we undertake dismantling systems and processes of racial inequality.

New Credit & Degree Granting Programs

We will explore the possibility of a new credit- or degree-granting program that would extend Princeton’s teaching to a new range of students from communities disproportionately affected by systemic racism and other forms of disadvantage.

Update

  • Princeton has hired an inaugural vice provost for academic affairs, Cole Crittenden, who will lead the development of this initiative. Vice Provost Crittenden will focus his attention within two workstreams. One workstream focuses on enhancing and in some cases expanding existing programs, including the Prison Teaching Initiative, the Princeton Online Tutoring Network and the undergraduate admission transfer program. The other workstream explores the development of a new, degree-granting program for adult learners.
  • Provost Deborah Prentice is overseeing a significant extension of Princeton’s community education efforts in two workstreams. One workstream focuses on enhancing and in some cases expanding existing programs, including the Prison Teaching Initiative, the Princeton Online Tutoring Network and the undergraduate admission transfer program. The other workstream explores the development of a new, degree-granting program for adult learners.

 

Faculty Diversification and the Faculty Pipeline

We will build on our recent efforts to promote faculty diversity, including by identifying and recruiting diverse candidate pools, encouraging academic departments to move into new fields or subfields that might enhance diversity, and seeking candidates with a demonstrated interest and commitment to diversity.  Using these strategies, Princeton aspires to increase the number of underrepresented tenure- and tenure-track faculty members by 50% within five years. Similarly, we will seek continued expansion and diversification of the faculty pipeline, including graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and lecturers.

Update

  • As a part of the Office of the Dean for Research’s (DFR’s) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Action Plan, DFR has announced the Princeton Alliance for Collaborative Research and Innovation (PACRI). PACRI is one of several initiatives aimed at growing a more inclusive research, innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem at Princeton and beyond. To support the launch of PACRI, Princeton is working with UNCF (the United Negro College Fund), which has lent its extensive expertise to facilitate the selection of an initial cohort of HBCU institutions for the pilot phase. The initial partners are: Howard University, Jackson State University, Prairie View A&M University, Spelman College and University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
  • The Effron Center for the Study of America was established last November through a major gift to the Venture Forward campaign. For over 75 years, Princeton’s Program in American Studies has supported teaching and research on America from diverse interdisciplinary perspectives. The Effron Center for the Study of America will enable Princeton to make crucial investments in faculty, visitors and fellows to support emerging areas of American studies scholarship and provide an expanded roster of curricular offerings.
  • A new professorship of Indigenous studies, endowed by a $5 million gift from Wendy Schmidt and her husband, Eric Schmidt, a 1976 alumnus, will build on Princeton’s interdisciplinary strengths and expand its faculty expertise in an area of study that is critically important to the University.
  • The Office of the Dean for Research (DFR) is developing several initiatives to support and grow a more inclusive research, innovation, and entrepreneurship ecosystem at Princeton University and beyond, including creating new innovation funds aimed at broadening participation in academic research and innovation. DFR will also launch a new initiative to help diversify the entrepreneurial workforce.
  • Twelve scholars from across the disciplines have been named Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellows for academic year 2021-22. They will be the third cohort of fellows appointed at Princeton with the aim of enhancing diversity in the professoriate.

Faculty Advisory Committee on Diversity

We will reconceive the Faculty Advisory Committee on Diversity (FACD), composed of tenured faculty members representing all four academic divisions of the University, to provide leadership and oversight regarding departments' recruitment and retention procedures, financial resources, and curriculum development.

Update

  • Members of the reconstituted FACD were elected in April 2021. The committee’s activities during FY22 included review of multiple aspects of the diversity and inclusion activities of the University and a meeting with the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees. 
  • A proposal for a reconceived FACD was  approved at the November meeting of the full faculty and new committee members elected by the full faculty in April 2021.

Supplier & Contractor Diversity

We will renew our commitment to ensuring that diverse firms are afforded equitable access to the many purchasing and sourcing needs of the University. We will accomplish this by strengthening our commitment to making purchases through competition, expanding our partnerships with current and prospective diverse suppliers, and building capacity through advocacy and outreach.

Update

  • In May 2022, the Office of Facilities convened an action forum of peer institutions, architects, construction leaders and others to explore collaborative strategies for enhancing the pipeline of minority-owned firms in the construction trades. 
  • A partnership between Princeton University and the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority (EFA) will expand opportunities for colleges and universities to invest with diverse asset managers. The collaboration is one example of Princeton’s supplier diversity initiative to support more businesses owned by people of color, women, veterans and members of the LGBTQ+ community. The approximately $430 million bonds were issued through the EFA and closed on April 8, 2021. The financing represents the largest transaction in EFA history.
  • The Office of Finance and Treasury has adopted a multi-year supplier diversity action plan. The plan aims to establish a more diverse supplier base for the University that will broaden the pool of supplier expertise, capabilities and perspectives, and include more businesses that are at least 51% owned and operated by people of color, women, veterans or members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Trustee Ad Hoc Committee

The Trustee Ad Hoc Committee on Principles to Govern Naming and Changes to Campus Iconography will develop general principles to govern questions about when and under what circumstances it might be appropriate for the University to remove or contextualize the names and representations of historical individuals honored on the Princeton campus. Recognizing that ultimate authority over these questions will remain with the Board of Trustees, the Ad Hoc Committee will focus on developing principles that can guide the Board’s decision-making about these issues over the long term, and on processes that might be used to bring issues or recommendations to the Board’s attention.

Update

  • Three portraits commissioned in conjunction with the University's History and Sense of Place Initiative, have been completed and are scheduled for dedication beginning May 2022.
  • During FY22, the CPUC Committee on Naming made recommendations to the Board of Trustees regarding additional honorific naming opportunities on campus, which will be announced soon
  • In conjunction with the Trustee Ad Hoc Committee’s recommendations to continue to diversify and contextualize the visual environment of the campus, Prospect House and sections of Nassau Hall were refreshed with new, community-oriented artwork. 
  • The Committee website has launched and is soliciting feedback from the University community.
  • The Trustee Ad Hoc Committee, chaired by trustee Craig Robinson ’83, has begun its meetings. Its members include trustees, and student, faculty and staff members who serve on the Council of the Princeton University Community (CPUC) Committee on Naming. The Trustee Ad Hoc Committee is expected to meet for the duration of the FY’21 academic year. 
  • The committee released its recommendations for overarching principles for naming, renaming and changing campus iconography.

Benefits and Policies

We will undertake a review of policies and benefits, including the Staff Educational Assistance Plan and the Children’s Educational Assistance Plan, with an eye to providing equal access to these benefits for employees in lower-paid positions and others who may have been disproportionally affected by systemic racism or other identity-based inequities.

This comprehensive review will be overseen by two cabinet-level committees: The Benefits Committee, chaired by Provost Debbie Prentice, and the Executive Compliance Committee, chaired by Executive Vice President Treby Williams.  The offices of Audit and Compliance, General Counsel, Finance and Treasury, Dean of the Faculty and Human Resources will be primary participants in this work.

Update

  • A cross-institutional committee met throughout FY22 and made recommendations to the Benefits Committee regarding adjustments to employee benefits, policies and programs. Enhancements  to the Employee Child Care Assistance Program, Children’s Educational Assistance Plan, Long-Term Disability, and Adoption & Surrogacy Program were announced in April 2022.

Campus Professional and Educational Development

We will strengthen support for racial equity and diversity-related professional development and other educational programming, including appropriate instruction for individuals with managerial or hiring responsibilities; and offerings related to inter-group dialogue, inclusive pedagogy, and bias response.

Update

  • The University offered more than 141 professional development workshops and other opportunities to faculty, postdoctoral researchers and staff members during the 2021-22 academic year. These were offered through the Office of Human Resources and the Office of the Vice Provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity, with support from the Office of the Dean of the Faculty.
  • The Keller Center launched its inaugural cohort for the Program in Institutional and Historical Racism.
  • The University has organized the Ad Hoc Committee on Racial Equity and Diversity-Related Professional Development. The Ad Hoc Committee, which is co-chaired by Human Resources’ director for diversity and inclusion Kimberly Tiedeken and director of gender equity and Title IX administration Regan, Crotty, is expected to meet for the duration of the FY’21 academic year.
  • Thirty-three Princeton graduate students co-created and completed the Graduate School’s inaugural Inclusive Leadership Learning Cohort (ILLC) in fall 2020. The GradFUTURES Professional Development and Access, Diversity and Inclusion teams at the Graduate School led this new initiative, partnering with graduate students to shape the program as a platform for anti-racism efforts. The cohort centers on the understanding that local action and individual commitment are paramount for achieving significant and sustainable change.
  • The Ad Hoc Committee on Racial Equity and Diversity-Related Professional Development delivered its report in May 2021.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Annual Report

To provide increased accountability around these goals, we will collect and publish additional data, including an annual Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion report.

Update

  • The inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion annual report is available for review or download.  The second annual report will publish in fall 2022.

Diversifying External Advisory Committees

We will enhance strategies to assure diverse representation and viewpoints on external advisory committees.  

Update

  • Established in 1941, Princeton’s departmental Advisory Councils are composed of alumni, parents, spouses, faculty members at other institutions, experts and major figures in the field.  The members provide advice and professional expertise, on a volunteer basis, to 52 University academic departments, programs and centers. With the support of the Office of the Dean of the Faculty, the Office of Advancement has developed a plan and set of best practices to enhance the diversity of Advisory Councils, including support for candidate identification, recruitment, and orientation. Annual reviews of Advisory Council membership are conducted to assess progress.