William Paterson University Selects Five Pre-Doctoral Fellows for Inaugural Program to Advance Faculty Diversity in Higher Education

William Paterson University has selected five doctoral candidates for an inaugural two-year teaching fellowship program designed to advance faculty diversity in higher education by supporting doctoral or terminal degree candidates from underrepresented backgrounds. The program supports the University’s commitment for diversifying its teaching faculty.

Following a national search process, doctoral candidates have been selected for five available fellowships to begin in August 2021. The fellows, their doctoral institutions, and departments of placement are: Jasmine Henry, Rutgers University, Music; Shannon Holder, University of Connecticut, Educational Leadership and Professional Studies; Javier Jasso, University of Texas at Austin, Communication Disorders and Sciences; Steven Jones, Rutgers University, Psychology; and Soohyun (Ashley) Lee, Baruch College and Graduate Center, CUNY, Management, Marketing, and Professional Sales.

“As a public university serving a highly diverse student population, we are investing through this inclusive program in ways that both meet the needs of our diverse students and position strong doctoral candidates from underrepresented backgrounds for successful careers in post-secondary education,” says Joshua Powers, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “The fellowship is designed to nurture the instructional talent and effective scholarship launch of these early-career faculty members. The programs selected to host our inaugural class of fellows have committed to inclusive mentorship and all are excited by the opportunity to enhance the quality of our faculty and the diversity of their departments."

Academic departments on campus that are hosting fellows commit to mentoring and to providing them with similar levels of research support as they would for tenure-track faculty. The fellows will teach in the department and participate in a cohort experience intended to position them for success in a tenure-track faculty appointment at William Paterson University or another institution of higher education.

“We are proud to be federally recognized as both a Hispanic-serving institution and minority-serving institution with a firm commitment to creating and sustaining a campus culture of inclusion,” says David Jones, chief diversity officer and director of talent management, who served as a co-coordinator for this program’s development. “This fellowship program demonstrates our University’s shared goal to build a more diverse teaching faculty by supporting the growth of doctoral students from diverse backgrounds.” 

“We are very excited to welcome this first cohort of highly qualified pre-doctoral fellows to the program following a comprehensive search,” says Kara Rabbitt, associate provost, who also serves as a co-coordinator for this program’s development. “National research highlights the value of institutions investing in career success initiatives, such as this program, both for our students and for our disciplines. Each of the fellows will have support for their career growth as they simultaneously advance their instructional skills and scholarly plans.”