Stanford University has developed a $4.5 million program to provide two-year fellowships, faculty mentors and seminars on the academic profession to 36 doctoral candidates over the next four years as part of an effort to prepare graduate students from diverse backgrounds for a career in academia.
The goal of the new program, DARE (Diversifying Academia, Recruiting Excellence) Fellowship program, is to help doctoral students cultivate communication and leadership skills, build confidence, establish mentoring networks and launch successful academic careers.
“Stanford is not just striving for faculty diversity,” said Dr. Patricia J. Gumport, vice provost for graduate education. “We are investing in it.”
The program is open to women in natural sciences and engineering, underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities, first-generation college students and others whose backgrounds and experiences bring a unique perspective to the campus.
Each fellow will receive up to $2,000 for a small diversity-enhancing project, such as mentoring an undergraduate student or bringing speakers to campus. They’ll also receive funding for a recruiting trip to a college or university for the purpose of encouraging an undergraduate student to pursue graduate studies. The program will also fund four fellows to serve one-year acting assistant professor appointments after they’ve completed their doctoral programs.
The program’s structure is based on the 2007 Stanford study titled, “Priming the Pipeline: Understanding the Obstacles and Incentives for Considering an Academic Career.” In the study, female and minority faculty reported that having the right mentors and understanding the “unspoken rules of academia” were important to career success. The DARE program matches fellows with a tenured faculty member who will serve as their mentor, in addition to their dissertation advisor.
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