Ithaca College Diversity Scholars Program

History and Background of the Program

The Ithaca College Dissertation Diversity Fellowship Program was initially created in 2010 in the School of Humanities and Sciences to increase the racial diversity of Ithaca College faculty and, in so doing, bring fresh perspectives to the college’s curriculum and the learning experiences offered to students. Having served as a successful model for recruiting and retaining diverse faculty, the program, now in its sixth year, has welcomed 16 fellows to campus. As a result, the college has retained six of those fellows in tenure-track positions, including Dr. Ashley Hall, who will begin her tenure-eligible position in communication studies in the fall semester of this year. In addition, one former fellow, Dr. Donathan Brown, was awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor on an accelerated timeline in recognition of his extraordinary accomplishments.

During the one-year term of the diversity fellowship program, fellows teach one course per semester, participate in one forum per semester related to their research and dissertation projects, and work to complete their dissertations. As a particularly important aspect of the fellowship, all of the diversity fellows create their own course, adding to the richness of the learning experience offered in the departments hosting fellows. More generally the program offers support that is often critical for graduate students from racially diverse backgrounds to move forward in the completion of their degrees and the enhancement of their careers.

Expanding the Program for 2017-18 and Beyond

For the 2017-18 academic year, we have chosen two diversity scholars through a very competitive national search process in accordance with standard college procedures for all faculty searches: Shehnaz Haqqani (women's and gender studies) and Raul Palma (writing). Additionally, the Park School of Communications is finalizing its roster of short-term diversity scholars in residence to arrive on campus later this fall and throughout the spring. Dr. Maria Nandadevi Cortes-Rodriguez continues in her second year of a two-year term as our inaugural post-doctoral diversity fellow in biology.

During 2017-18, we will conduct a search for four new pre-doctoral diversity scholars to serve in the 2018-19 academic year, with two each in the School of Humanities and Sciences and the School of Music. Additionally, a STEM post-doctoral fellow will be hired during 2017-18 for a two year term (2018-2020). For information about the School of Humanities and Sciences Scholars, as well as the STEM post-doctoral fellow, please contact Dr. Donathan Brown ( For information about the School of Music Scholars, please contact Dr. Danette Johnson ( We aspire to expand the program to sponsor fellows in other schools in the future.

Diversity Scholars Program

Please stay tuned for more updates once our semester resumes in August. Information about the 2018-19 Diversity Scholars Program will be available by October 1, 2017. In the meantime, Please visit the newly designed diversity and inclusion webpage to learn more about other current initiatives.

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