On November 3, 2017, President Mark Becker and Provost Risa Palm convened the Commission on the Next Generation of Faculty, to be led by Associate Provost for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation Mary Beth Walker. In his initial letter to the Commission, President Becker wrote that “it is time” to tackle a challenge “that vexes universities across our nation, the lack of faculty diversity.” Furthermore, President Becker’s letter charged the Commission members as follows (full text of the letter is in Appendix 2):
[W]e will take a data-informed approach to identifying the challenges and opportunities for addressing the lack of faculty diversity at Georgia State, as well as nationwide. Many universities have established programs intended to promote faculty diversity, and yet very few have truly moved the needle. Good intent is laudable and yet inadequate. We therefore seek to once again be innovative in establishing programs that will become nationally recognized and adopted by showing that it is indeed possible to move the needle.
The Commission for the Next Generation of Faculty will develop programs and strategies to strengthen, distinguish, and diversify Georgia State University’s faculty. The Commission is charged with addressing Goal 4, Initiative 3 of the GSU Strategic Plan which states that the university will be a ‘nationally recognized model for leadership in inclusion.’ The Commission will advise…the Provost on the issues of diversity and inclusion as they relate to the preparation, recruitment and career advancement of faculty members.
The Commission members (list available here) were selected because their positions and experience enable them to make relevant contributions to the Commission’s charge. They include faculty from various colleges, members of the University Senate’s Faculty Affairs and Cultural Diversity committees, several members of the Provost’s leadership team, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, an Associate Dean at Perimeter College, the Associate Vice President for Human Resources, the University Attorney, and a member of the Georgia State University Foundation Board. When Commission Chair Mary Beth Walker took a position outside the university, Dean Sara Rosen assumed the role of committee chair.
The Commission held its first meeting on November 17, 2017, and met regularly through June 2019.