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NYU Steinhardt Creates Research Hub to Support Diverse Faculty, Examine Inequities


As part of a University-wide initiative to support diverse faculty and broaden NYU’s global impact, NYU Steinhardt has created a research hub of interdisciplinary scholars – both new and existing ­– dedicated to understanding how structural inequities impact educational and service organizations that serve children and youth.

The Justice and Belonging in Development and Education Hub, or The Hub, seeks to coalesce scholarship about understanding a range of detrimental impacts to the learning, development, identity, behavior, mental health, access to resources, and life opportunities for Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people, migrant youth, and others who are historically marginalized.

“Equity is a big issue across many facets – human, social, functional, economic, and more,” says Edward Seidman, professor and chair of Applied Psychology and chair of The Hub’s steering committee. “We can look across Steinhardt’s departments and see examples of how inequity is hampering people in different ways. By bringing these diverse perspectives together, you get new insights into how they all work together.”

The Faculty Cluster Hiring Initiative was envisioned by Charlton McIlwain, vice provost for faculty engagement and development and professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, as a way to not only bring in and support more diverse faculty, but also systematically create connections across the University.

“We embarked on this initiative because we are committed to significantly increasing the proportion of our faculty from groups historically underrepresented in the academy,” says McIlwain. “But more importantly, the Cluster Initiative is a way for us to bring together and build exciting teams that will produce innovative research and insights into critical issues and problems facing our world today – from environmental sustainability, representation in the arts, artificial intelligence, or health engineering, to the question of how to create a just and equitable world through the education, services, and opportunities we provide for children and youth to thrive.”

We embarked on this initiative because we are committed to significantly increasing the proportion of our faculty from groups historically underrepresented in the academy.

Charlton McIlwain, Vice Provost for Faculty Engagement and Development; Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication

Welcoming New Faculty and Fresh Perspectives

As part of the Faculty Cluster Hiring Initiative, Steinhardt has recruited three early-career faculty whose work positions them to significantly shape The Hub:

Professional headshot of Mike Hoa Nguyen

Mike Hoa Nguyen joins the Department of Administration, Leadership, and Technology. His research and teaching critically examine the benefits and consequences of racialized public policy instruments in expanding and/or constraining educational systems, with a specific focus on how these dynamics shape access, learning, opportunity, and success within and beyond schools for students of color. 

Professional headshot of Lauren Christine Mims

Lauren Mims joins the Department of Applied Psychology. She comes to Steinhardt from Ball State University, and she previously served as the assistant director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans during the Obama administration. Her research seeks to “freedom dream” with Black children and use that brilliance to guide the development of research, policies, and practices.

Professional headshot of Shamari Reid

Shamari Reid joins the Department of Teaching and Learning with work grounded in queer theory, critical race theory, Black feminist thought, and queer of color critique. His research explores questions of how trans and queer youth of color and their communities sustain themselves amidst oppression, as well as how we can collaborate with these communities to better transform schools into sites of equitable opportunities for youth.

“The Hub is a multidisciplinary initiative seeking to foster change through research,” says Seidman. “We plan to host biweekly seminars to bring all our faculty together, and our hope is to connect senior faculty with newer faculty in mentorship roles.”

The cross-department, cross-disciplinary nature of The Hub and the Cluster Initiative, as well as linking scholars at different stages of their research and scholarly careers, creates a structure that will help sustain this work into the future.

“Hiring people in a cluster means they come into this new environment already feeling a kinship with one another,” says Jasmine Y. Ma, associate professor of teaching and learning, who is working to create connections between Steinhardt’s Hub and other enterprises related to the Faculty Cluster Hiring Initiative at schools and colleges throughout NYU. “Faculty from underrepresented communities have needs and values that aren’t always readily understood by others in academia, so engaging in a supportive community can be a major contribution to their career success. Through this initiative, we want to create an infrastructure that supports who they’re becoming in their individual faculty life cycle.”

Faculty and administrators representing different units have met to consider how to build on the momentum from the Cluster Initiative hires to develop robust community within and across existing faculty who do relevant work and improve support infrastructure for all junior faculty in these fields.

Over the summer, Steinhardt’s Justice and Belonging in Development and Equity Hub held a series of lunches and dinners for colleagues to get to know each other and brainstorm possible collaborations and activities; an official welcome reception will be held in the fall.