William Paterson University Seeks Applicants for its Unique Pre-Doctoral Fellowship Program that Strives to Diversify Faculty in Higher Education

A preceding national webinar features keynote address by Sarita Brown, president of Excelencia in Education

Keynote speaker Sarita E. Brown

William Paterson University is now accepting applications for its unique pre-doctoral fellowship program aimed at supporting career development of faculty from underrepresented backgrounds. An online information session about the program will take place via Zoom on Wednesday, January 18 at 2:30 p.m. EST following a free webinar with keynote address by Sarita E. Brown, co-founder & president of Excelencia in Education, the nation’s premier authority on accelerating Latino student success in higher education by linking research, policy, and practice.

The webinar, “Serving Latino Student Success: Higher Education's Opportunity,” speaks to the importance of being informed on the needs and strengths of first-generation Latino college students and how to support those students’ success. It will run from 1 to 2:30 p.m. EST.

A recognized leader and advocate for equity in higher education, Brown began her career at the University of Texas at Austin, where she built a national model for increasing the number of students of color in graduate education and in the academy. She then served in leadership roles with higher education associations, American University, and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Institute. She was appointed executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans during the Clinton Administration.

William Paterson University launched its predoctoral fellowship program in 2021 to advance diversity in higher education by supporting advanced-standing doctoral or terminal degree candidates from diverse backgrounds as they launch academic careers and complete their dissertations or degree requirements. William Paterson is recognized as one of the most ethnically diverse regional universities in the northern United States by U.S. News & World Report, who also ranks the University as a standout performer in social mobility.

Doctoral candidates from across the nation are eligible to apply for a fellowship of up to two years, which would begin at William Paterson in August 2023, in the fields of chemistry, special education, and teacher education.

“It has been a joy to witness the professional and personal development of our inaugural cohort of fellows: highly qualified and motivated scholars who are committed to our mission as a teaching institution that serves diverse students,” says William Paterson University Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Joshua Powers. “These emerging faculty members play a critical role in higher education: advancing faculty diversity; bringing their unique and much-needed perspectives to the 21st century academy; and serving as role models in whom our students can see themselves.”

Academic departments on campus that host fellows commit to mentoring them and providing them similar levels of research support as they would for tenure-track faculty. The fellows teach in the department and participate in a cohort experience intended to position them for success in a tenure-track faculty appointment at William Paterson University or another institution of higher education.

“The great thing about William Paterson University's predoctoral teaching fellowship is that it provides the sort of career preparation that most graduate programs don’t offer their doctoral candidates. Fellows learn how a department functions, how to develop their teaching skills, and how to navigate university processes as an employee, all with targeted supports and a cohort of peers to assist them,” says Associate Provost of Academic Initiatives Kara Rabbitt, who serves as coordinator of the fellowship program. “This program sets fellows up for successful academic careers by supporting them as they learn how to balance teaching, research, and service, and how to do it well.”

The information session will be moderated by Rabbitt and Interim Associate Dean of the College of Education David Fuentes, and among the participants will be two of the University’s inaugural predoctoral fellows (2021-2023): Ashley Lee, marketing, and Steven Jones, psychology.

The webinar that the precedes the information session, Powers says, promises to be both thought-provoking and thought-changing. He urges current and prospective higher education administrators and faculty from across the nation to take part.

“To have a national leader of Sarita Brown's stature, experience, and expertise joining us as the keynote speaker is truly wonderful,” he continues. “This webinar presents a unique opportunity to hear from a national policy leader enriched and rooted in more than two decades of higher education administration and research, as well as an opportunity for higher education institutions and individuals alike to commit to playing a leadership role in expanding social mobility.”

Register for the information session and free webinar here.

 (Note: The information session will be recorded and available on our website after January 18 for those who are unable to attend in real-time.)