At Steinhardt’s Faculty First Look, Diversity Scholars Prepare for the Academy

This week, NYU Steinhardt welcomed thirty-two Faculty First Look scholars to Washington Square for two days of workshops on preparing for the job market. Faculty First Look is a year-long program designed to mentor talented scholars of color and others underrepresented in the academy who are completing doctoral work.

“First generation faculty of color and those from underserved backgrounds have taken on the great challenge of entering the academy with enormous skill sets in their fields, but often without information on how to navigate the actual culture of the academy,” said  Stella Flores, associate dean for faculty development and diversity.

Stella Flores with Steinhardt Faculty First Look scholars (left to right):   Donte Bernard, Eric Felix, and Jalil Mustaffa Bishop.

To build that skill-set, Flores brought together Steinhardt’s deans, faculty members, and NYU’s Provost and Vice Provost for conversations on topics ranging from interview etiquette to the importance of fundraising from government, corporate, and private foundations.

In a session titled, “Job Talk Presentation,” scholars presented their work to an audience of  Steinhardt faculty members and their peers and received feedback on their efforts.

“We have all stood in front of a search committee, and today we learned how search committees operate,” said Americo Amorim, an Ed.D. candidate at Johns Hopkins University who specializes in research and development of digital media for learning.  “I’ve learned how higher education institutions work.”

Xiang Zhou, a doctoral candidate in counseling psychology at the University of Minnesota, gave a job talk presentation to Faculty First Look scholars and Steinhardt faculty members.

Faculty First Look was created by Charlton McIlwain, professor of media, culture, and communication, who served as Steinhardt’s first associate dean for faculty development and diversity. The Faculty First Look initiative not only prepares doctoral students for future professional success, but develops a pipeline of diverse applicants for the academic job market by expanding the pool of competitive candidates from underrepresented groups.

Flores noted that the program is also important because it introduces students to other successful faculty of color and men and women in leadership positions across NYU.

“We are preparing our scholars for the rigorous environmental contexts they will one day enter; and when they enter, we want them to be be able to flourish and fly,” Flores said.