UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A new fellowship in the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity aims to help faculty members develop as leaders in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) while creating opportunities to make a positive impact at Penn State.
The Equity Leadership Fellows Program, launched this past summer, is designed to recognize faculty members’ ongoing efforts to foster greater DEI across the University while helping faculty further develop their knowledge and expertise as leaders in fostering a more equitable and inclusive institution. Equity Leadership Fellows work alongside senior faculty mentors, collaborate on initiatives across the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity, and have the opportunity to shadow senior-level DEI administrators and others whose portfolios include this area of emphasis.
Laura Leites, associate research professor of quantitative forest ecology, was named the program’s inaugural fellow. “I am truly honored to have been selected as the inaugural Equity Leadership fellow,” Leites said. “This is a great opportunity to expand and strengthen my qualifications by working alongside amazing mentors. I am looking forward to contributing to making Penn State a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive place where everyone feels at home.” Leites said.
Jennifer Hamer, one of the University’s two senior faculty mentors, said Leites was selected as the inaugural Equity Leadership Fellow in recognition of her DEI work in the College of Agricultural Sciences, as well as her interest in all dimensions of equity and inclusion. Leites interest in equity and inclusion issues regarding the workplace experiences of non-tenure track faculty is particularly important. “Non-tenure track faculty are among the most invisible groups of faculty, and often have the greatest needs at any university,” Hamer said, noting that many non-tenure track faculty also come from minoritized or underrepresented backgrounds.
“Equity is about creating a space and an environment where everyone has the opportunity work, and advance their careers to their fullest potential, and through this fellowship, Dr. Leites will help us continue to create a more equitable and inclusive institution.”
More information about the resources available to faculty members is available through the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity website. Faculty interested in learning more or applying to the Equity Leadership Fellows Program can contact Hamer at JenniferHamer@psu.edu.