Dear ADEA Community:
It is with great pleasure that I introduce the ADEA Faculty Diversity Toolkit (ADEA FDT). It is the result of the convening of the ADEA Faculty Diversity Toolkit Development Workgroup, a cross section of our members from U.S. and Canadian dental schools and allied dental programs (e.g. ADEA Advisory Committees, Councils, Sections, Diversity Officers and Women Liaison Officers). The ADEA FDT represents a seminal work in dental education and focuses on the challenges and best practices related to recruiting and supporting diverse faculty.
We all know the benefits of diversity and inclusion—research points to the positive impact that diverse faculty have on educational quality, the campus climate and educational outcomes. Evidence clearly shows that campuses with a critical mass of women, historically underrepresented racial/ethnic and marginalized groups in faculty and leadership positions are more likely to provide an environment in which students, staff, faculty, residents, fellows and administrators are more likely to:
- Challenge assumptions by breaking down gender stereotypes and racial biases;
- Enrich the climate by promoting greater willingness to address both national, global and community health care inequities;
- Increase socialization across racial and ethnic groups, faiths and socio-economic groups;
- Broaden their perspectives about racial, ethnic and cultural differences;
- Support inclusive research in non-traditional scholarship areas;
- Expand students’ understanding of the effects of language and culture on treatment and care of patients from different groups; and
- Engage diverse role models and mentors that support the entire campus community.i
We consider the ADEA FDT a critical resource designed to improve the recruitment and retention efforts of diverse faculty in dental education. Our hope is that the model programs highlighted throughout the Toolkit will stimulate further investigation and piloting of programs by dental schools and allied dental programs in order to assess the transferability of these best practices and models to academic dentistry.
As new literature and innovative practices become available, we will supplement and evaluate the Toolkit’s content. Therefore, what follows is a living document— a “work in progress”—that we will expand and prune regularly.
Finally, the ADEA Strategic Directions 2019-22 stress the importance of developing and sustaining inclusive environments in which faculty, students, staff and administrators work together to create the future of dental education in an increasingly diverse and interconnected world. The development of the ADEA FDT is critical to our strategic direction. It not only assists dental education in recruiting and retaining a more diverse faculty, but also moves academic dentistry forward in its pursuit of inclusive excellence—the creation of intentional spaces that integrate diversity, equity and inclusion as the norm in the core aspects of our hiring, clinical and academic priorities as well as leadership, research, learning, decision-making, daily operations and organizational cultures.
I look forward to continuing our rich work together, in which a variety of talents, histories, perspectives and experiences form an energetic dental education community defined by inclusive academic excellence.
Karen P. West, D.M.D., M.P.H.
Endnote: i Antonio AL. Faculty of color reconsidered: Reassessing contributions to scholarship. J Higher Educ. 2002;73(5):582-602; Milem, JF, Chang, MJ, Antonio, AL. Making diversity work on campus: A research based perspective. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities; 2005; Umbach PD. The contribution of faculty of color to undergraduate education. Res High Educ. May 1, 2006;47(3):317-345; and Milem JF. Increasing diversity benefits: how campus climate and teaching methods affect student outcomes. In: Orfield G. Diversity Challenged: Evidence on the Impact of Affirmative Action. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Publishing Group; 2001:233-249; Nelson Laird, TF. College students’ experiences with diversity and their effects on academic self-confidence, social agency, and disposition toward critical thinking. Res High Educ. 2005; 46:365-387; AAMC. Diversity and inclusion in Academic Medicine: A Strategic Planning Guide, 2nd Ed. Washington, DC: Association of American Medical Colleges, 2016.