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Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014

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Charge: Trustee Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity

by President Shirley M. Tilghman

Princeton is devoted to educating leaders who can excel in a pluralistic society and an increasingly globalized world. To fulfill that mission, the University must draw upon talented individuals from all backgrounds and ethnic groups, and foster a learning environment in which students, faculty and staff bring to their studies and their work a great many perspectives and experiences from around the country and around the world to share with their fellow students and colleagues.

In the last several decades Princeton has made significant progress in creating a vibrant and diverse community, and our ability to build upon this success will be critical to the University’s future. We can take pride in the fact that our undergraduate student body is now more diverse than ever before in terms of socioeconomic status, ethnicity and citizenship. On the other hand, our success in diversifying the graduate student body, faculty and senior administration has proceeded more slowly.

To help us develop an effective strategy for creating a broadly diverse community throughout the University, I have asked a working group of trustees, faculty, graduate students and staff, co-chaired by Trustee Brent Henry '69 and Professor and Chair of Psychology Deborah Prentice, to spend the next year exploring two broad sets of questions:

1. In what ways does a richly diverse community enhance learning, scholarship, civic leadership and service? To what degree do diverse perspectives and experiences currently affect the quality of education and experience at Princeton, and how can this be improved?

2. How can Princeton do a better job of attracting and retaining talented individuals from populations that have historically been under-represented in academia, and at Princeton, including women and people of color? While there are numerous initiatives under way to increase and enhance diversity in all the populations within the University, given the particular challenges we have encountered in attracting and retaining a diverse faculty, graduate student body and senior administrators, I am asking this committee to focus on understanding Princeton’s successes, opportunities and challenges in these categories.

The members of the committee will meet for approximately one year, and issue a report of their findings and recommendations. In developing recommendations, I am asking the committee to identify innovative strategies and best practices that will have meaningful and sustained positive impact on the Princeton University community.

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