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Letter from the Provost

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At Stanford, we strive to create a campus community that embodies and welcomes a wide range of viewpoints, backgrounds, and experiences. We believe that a diverse and inclusive environment is essential to ensuring the excellence of the research, education, and creative activities that constitute the core mission of the University. The experience of our students is enriched immeasurably when the faculty they learn from represents a broad spectrum of interests, identities, and perspectives.

Increasing the diversity of our faculty is among our most urgent and important goals. Over the years, the University has set broad policies, created programs, funded initiatives, and sponsored events focused on diversity and inclusion. These efforts have been essential, but we are moving too slowly. If we want to be an outstanding institution that attracts the best students and the best faculty now and in the future, we need to do more—and we will. As a result of the long-range planning process, we hope to develop new and bold initiatives to tackle this challenge.

The issue of faculty diversity—broadly defined—can only be effectively addressed if all parts of the University work together and deploy multiple approaches. We must look closely at our faculty recruitment and hiring practices and make changes where they are needed. We must work to minimize unconscious bias in the hiring process. We must continue to develop viable pathways for underrepresented minorities and women to pursue academic careers. And we must focus on creating a work environment that helps support and retain our minority faculty.

President Tessier-Lavigne has said: “Our strength as a University derives from our diversity—including in backgrounds, religions, nationalities, races, genders, sexual orientations, identities, ages, physical abilities, political views, and ways of thinking.” I believe we can only grow stronger through our efforts to expand the diversity of our entire community.


Persis Drell