New programs seek to diversify faculty at Brown and beyond

One year after the University’s diversity and inclusion action plan committed to doubling the number of faculty from historically underrepresented groups, two initiatives are already attracting both early-career and experienced scholars to Brown.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Just over a year ago, Brown University launched into the work of activating an ambitious, far-reaching plan to create a more diverse and inclusive academic community. Among the plan’s chief priorities was a multifaceted effort to double the number of faculty members from historically underrepresented groups by 2022.

Two initiatives related to that effort — the Presidential Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship Program and the Provost’s Visiting Professors Program — are in full swing, each representing a distinct element in a broader strategy to boost faculty diversity. The first aims to widen the pipeline of young scholars from diverse backgrounds who will compete for tenure-track positions at Brown and elsewhere in the future. The other focuses more immediately on the present by attracting distinguished senior scholars from historically underrepresented groups to Brown for temporary appointments.

And both are already producing results.

“Diversity is a cornerstone of academic excellence,” Brown President Christina Paxson said. “Through a set of distinctive and purposeful programs, we are seeing success at increasing faculty diversity at all levels — from the most recent recipients of Ph.D.s to academics who are at the peak of their careers as educators and scholars.”

Liza Cariaga-Lo, the University’s vice president for academic development, diversity and inclusion, said that cultivating a more diverse faculty is essential to the creation of an academic community that embodies the social and intellectual diversity of the world and offers students and scholars the highest level of academic excellence.

“These programs are already helping us to meet the goals set out in our diversity and action plan by addressing faculty hiring at multiple points in the academic career pipeline,” she said.

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Entrepreneurship at the intersection of diversity and inequality

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Jennifer Nazareno, a post-doctoral research fellow at the Brown School of Public Health, and Danny Warshay, executive director of the Jonathan M. Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship.
Maxwell Simeon, Class of 2017

The Jonathan M. Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship convened a one-day conference on Monday, Dec. 5, on the simultaneity of agency and inequity of power and privilege in entrepreneurial endeavors.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — With the launch of the Jonathan M. Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship this semester and the early 2016 release of the Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion action, both entrepreneurship and diversity and inclusion are major strategic priorities at Brown University.

On Monday, Dec. 5, the entrepreneurship center immersed students, faculty, staff from Brown with local community members and scholars from higher education institutions across the country in both of those priorities for a one-day conference titled Entrepreneurship at the Intersection of Diversity and Inequality.

The conference provided perspectives on how entrepreneurship has served as a potential pathway toward inclusion and socioeconomic mobility, particularly in times of exclusion and marginalization.

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Brown musician, composer finds inspiration in unexpected spaces

For Assistant Professor of Music Eric Nathan, November brought the premiere of a new composition by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and a Copland House residency award announcement.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] —For three weeks in January 2017, Eric Nathan will live and work in the home that legendary composer Aaron Copland called “my hideaway, my solitude” in Cortlandt Manor, N.Y. One of nine composers to win a 2016 Copland House residency award, the assistant professor of music at Brown University said he is looking forward to the opportunity to focus on writing without distraction in the former home of “the dean of American music.”

Other composers have described Copland House as a place where one can “sense the spirit of someone who has created so much and has been so influential to American music,” Nathan said. That makes the residency particularly promising for Nathan, for whom specific places have served as a creative spur and compositional tool.

This month, the Boston Symphony Orchestra premiered Nathan’s commissioned work, “the space of a door,” a composition inspired by his emotional experience upon first visiting the Providence Athenaeum, an independent library and cultural center dating to the 1830s, last December. A recent review of the performance described “the space of a door” as music that is “clean and shot through with rhythmic vitality” that “conjures images of a physical space” and “is filled with resonant harmonies that are left to hang in space.”

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Treating cholera in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew

In a pair of tents on the grounds of a health center in a tiny town, Dr. Adam Levine is managing a cholera treatment unit where the staff still sees 10 to 15 new cases a day, more than a month after Hurricane Matthew.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] —Since Dr. Adam Levine arrived in Haiti in late October, he’s been managing a cholera treatment unit for International Medical Corps. Hurricane Matthew devastated the area on Oct. 4, creating conditions that foment the spread of the disease. The unit is still running near its 30-bed capacity.

The unit is a pair of tents on the grounds of a local health center in Les Anglais, said Levine, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Brown University and a physician at Rhode Island Hospital. The town sits almost at Haiti’s western tip on the southwest shore of its southern peninsula.

Levine, who directs the new Humanitarian Innovation Initiative at Brown’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, answered questions about his work providing life-saving rehydration and medicine to people who make a difficult trek to the center from surrounding villages.

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