An Inclusive Academy
Achieving Diversity and Excellence
528 pp., 6 x 9 in,
- Published: October 11, 2022
- Published: July 17, 2018
- Published: June 22, 2018
How colleges and universities can live up to their ideals of diversity, and why inclusivity and excellence go hand in hand.
Most colleges and universities embrace the ideals of diversity and inclusion, but many fall short, especially in the hiring, retention, and advancement of faculty who would more fully represent our diverse world—in particular, women and people of color. In this book, Abigail Stewart and Virginia Valian argue that diversity and excellence go hand in hand and provide guidance for achieving both.
Stewart and Valian, themselves senior academics, support their argument with comprehensive data from a range of disciplines. They show why merit is often overlooked; they offer statistics and examples of individual experiences of exclusion, such as being left out of crucial meetings; and they outline institutional practices that keep exclusion invisible, including reliance on proxies for excellence, such as prestige, that disadvantage outstanding candidates who are not members of the white male majority.
Perhaps most important, Stewart and Valian provide practical advice for overcoming obstacles to inclusion. This advice is based on their experiences at their own universities, their consultations with faculty and administrators at many other institutions, and data on institutional change. Stewart and Valian offer recommendations for changing structures and practices so that people become successful in ways that benefit everyone. They describe better ways of searching for job candidates; evaluating candidates for hiring, tenure, and promotion; helping faculty succeed; and broadening rewards and recognition.
“Achieving a faculty which is both excellent and representative of the communities that they serve is one of the most important challenges currently facing U.S. universities. This marvelous book presents a comprehensive scholarly compendium of the reasons why this has been so difficult for universities, together with practical strategies for moving forward. These include distinct actions by senior administrators, chairs, individual faculty, search committees and the faculty candidates themselves."
Robert Birgenau, Chancellor Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley
“As the academy, like every institution in our society, faces a perfect storm of our own making – the agonizingly slow pace with which we have leveraged the full, increasingly diverse talent pool in our midst – we need more than ever the can-do wisdom of those scholar-leaders who for decades have innovated to build an inclusive academy – and here it is, a comprehensive, evidence-based guidepost that both unpacks how we got where we are as a status quo, and shows us a variety of new paths to take as individuals and as institutions, faculty and administrators committed to excellence. The principles Stewart and Valian articulate about the schemas that undergird the inequities we have come to see as “natural,” are profound, even as the steps they urge us to take in hiring and supporting and promoting and rewarding a diverse professoriate are every bit practical and within reach – laying a powerful foundation for real institutional change that will last, to all our benefit. This is a must read for all who care, for both pragmatic and ethical reasons, about diversity and inclusion in these times of challenge and opportunity.”
Nancy Cantor, Chancellor, Rutgers University - Newark
“Valian & Stewart's book on building an inclusive academy is brave, given the contentious issues involved, and sorely needed, given the importance of the challenge. Their pragmatic, evidence-based examination of the many ways in which biases can creep into our hiring and evaluation systems will, and should, provide rich fodder for discussions throughout the academy, from faculty lounges to presidential cabinet meetings. Especially appreciated is their conviction that the changes needed are both structural and individual. This is not just a book addressed to administrators, it is addressed to all of us who want to play our part in achieving excellence and diversity in our fields of study and in our universities.”
Ana Mari Cauce, President, University of Washington
"This important book comes at the right time for all of us working to promote inclusive excellence in higher education. The authors offer concrete steps to recruit, retain, and promote diverse and successful faculty, focusing on women and underrepresented minorities. Stewart and Valian powerfully show how academic leaders can change institutional culture and practices to create positive change and improve performance.
Marvin Krislov, President, Pace University
This book provides real solutions and concrete actions that can be taken to make academia more welcoming.
Los Angeles Review of Books Blog