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Conference spotlights recruiting, retaining black faculty members

By Sandy Broughton

Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 13 - November 20, 1997

The Department of Family and Child Development in the College of Human Resources and Education and the Office of the Provost are sponsoring a campus-wide conference on recruiting and retaining black faculty members on Monday, Dec. 8, in the Wallace Hall atrium.
Seven guest panelists from a variety of academic institutions will join Virginia Tech faculty members in the day-long program of discussions. Among the topics to be discussed are: "Successes and Failures in Recruiting and Retaining Black Faculty Members at Large Institutions," "Recruiting Black Faculty Members to Virginia Tech," and "Fostering a Conducive Campus Climate for Retention."
The conference is part of an effort in the College of Human Resources and Education to hire a cluster of black faculty members with specific expertise in family and child development. "Our goal is to create a more open climate for recruiting and retaining black colleagues," said Family and Child Development Cluster Hire Committee co-chair Katherine Allen. "We'd like to share with the university community a frank discussion of the topic that includes the views of our own faculty members as well as the perspectives of our guests."
In addition to the cluster-hire effort, the College of Human Resources and Education has an on-going Valuing Diversity series in which black scholars are brought to Virginia Tech to present seminars and teach classes. The CHRE has also participated in faculty exchanges with Virginia State and Norfolk State. And CHRE faculty members Glen Holmes and Tom Sherman, along with Joyce Williams Green, director of Black Studies, are instrumental in the university's new VITAE initiative to advance technology at thirteen historically black colleges and universities.
Guest panelists for the December 8 conference on recruiting and retaining black faculty members include Norma Burgess, department chair and professor of child and family studies at Syracuse University; Martha Gilbert, early childhood consultant and specialist at Powhatan Public Schools in Richmond; Leanor Boulin Johnson, director of African American Studies and professor of family studies at Arizona State University; Edith Lewis, professor of social work at the University of Michigan; Velma McBryde Murry, professor of child and family development at the University of Georgia; Ronald L. Taylor, professor of sociology and director of the Institute for African-American Studies at the University of Connecticut; and William Turner, professor of family studies at the University of Kentucky.
Joining them will be FCD Cluster Hire Committee members Victoria Fu and Katherine Allen (co-chairs), Rosemary Blieszner, Karen Roberto, Andy Stremmel, and Mike Sporakowski. Other Virginia Tech faculty members taking part in the conference are Glen Holmes in instructional technology, Russell Jones in Psychology, and Gretchen Givens in teaching and learning.
For more information about the conference on recruiting and retaining black faculty members, contact Allen at 1-6526 or kallen@vt.edu, or Fu at vfu@vt.edu. There is no charge for attending the conference, but participants will need to register for seating and lunch with Martha Moretz at mmoretz@vt.edu or 1-4794.