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Stony Brook To Receive Funding from SUNY Initiative to Increase Faculty Diversity

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Stony Brook University

STONY BROOK, NY, November 27, 2019–Stony Brook University will receive $957,000 in funding from the State University of New York (SUNY) over a three-year period to support six faculty members as part of SUNY’s new faculty diversity initiative PRODiG (Promoting Recruitment, Opportunity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Growth), announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo earlier this year.

The PRODiG initiative is designed to increase faculty diversity at SUNY colleges and universities to be more in line with its student diversity. As of Fall 2018, 27.2% of SUNY students are historically underrepresented minorities, up from 26.5% in 2017, and 15.4% in 2007. PRODIG is designed to renew the faculty, support student success, and promote excellence through diversity of perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences. Through this initiative, SUNY has committed to a decade-long effort to facilitate the hiring of 1,000 faculty who are historically underrepresented minorities and/or women in STEM disciplines.

SUNY’s invaluable investment helps us to carry out our mission to promote inclusive excellence throughout our University,” said Michael A. Bernstein, Interim President of Stony Brook University. “We are thrilled to support exceptional Stony Brook faculty who will enrich our campus community with their scholarship, creativity, mentorship, and service.”

The goal of this system-wide initiative — a comprehensive approach not yet attempted at this scale in higher education — is to support SUNY campuses in their efforts to recruit and retain up to 1,000 early-to-mid-career professors from underrepresented groups by 2030. It also will focus on building an educational pipeline that identifies talented students in high school and develops academic career opportunities, with the view that among today’s high school students are the PRODiG faculty of tomorrow.

“PRODiG is New York’s commitment toward investing necessary resources in increasing the structural diversity within our faculty. This initiative has not only provided a pathway for us to recruit and hire diverse faculty,” said Dr. Jarvis Watson, Interim Chief Diversity Officer. “It serves as a catalyst for academic leaders from Stony Brook sites from Manhattan to Montauk, to work collaboratively and intentionally to create an inclusive and equitable learning environment.”

The initial round of PRODIG funding to be received by Stony Brook will support the salaries of six faculty. They are Natasha Vitek, Assistant Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolution; Amy Marschilok, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry; Ijeoma Opara, Assistant Professor, School of Social Welfare; Sara Hamideh, Assistant Professor, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences; Yifan Sun, Institute for AI-Driven Discovery and Innovation; Carrie McDonough, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering.

PRODiG-supported faculty have been invited to attend the PRODiG Cohort Institute on December 3, which is the first event of the 2019 SUNY Diversity Conference in Albany. The 2019 Cohort of PRODiG-supported faculty will convene for a full day of workshops and a welcome reception with SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson, many SUNY presidents, and members of the Board of Trustees.

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About Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University, widely regarded as a SUNY flagship, is going beyond the expectations of what today’s public universities can accomplish. Since its founding in 1957, this young university has grown to become one of only four University Center campuses in the State University of New York (SUNY) system with over 26,000 students, more than 2,700 faculty members and 18 NCAA Division I athletic programs. Our faculty have earned numerous prestigious awards, including the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Indianapolis Prize for animal conservation, Abel Prize and the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. The University offers students an elite education with an outstanding return on investment: U.S. News & World Report ranks Stony Brook among the top 40 public universities in the nation. Its membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU) places Stony Brook among the top 65 research institutions in North America. As part of the management team of Brookhaven National Laboratory, the University joins a prestigious group of universities that have a role in running federal R&D labs. Stony Brook University fuels Long island’s economic growth. Its impact on the Long island economy amounts to $7.38 billion in increased output. Our state, country and world demand ambitious ideas, imaginative solutions and exceptional leadership to forge a better future for all. The students, alumni, researchers and faculty of Stony Brook University are prepared to meet this challenge.

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