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University of Michigan School of Information


UMSI to receive Rhetaugh G. Dumas Progress in Diversifying Award

2021 Rhetaugh G. Dumas Progress in Diversifying Award

Wednesday, 12/09/2020

The University of Michigan School of Information has been selected as the recipient of the Rhetaugh G. Dumas Progress in Diversifying Award for 2021.

The award, presented annually by the U-M Academic Women’s Caucus in partnership with the Center for the Education of Women, is named after late Vice Provost Rhetaugh Dumas. It recognizes “outstanding institutional initiative in demonstrating notable progress by academic units in achieving ethnic, racial and gender diversity among those pursuing and achieving tenure as professors, clinical professors, research professors and research scientists.”

"It is a great honor for the School of Information to be recognized with this award, named in honor and memory of Rhetaugh Graves Dumas, the first Black woman appointed as a dean at the University of Michigan,” says School of Information Dean Thomas A. Finholt.

Over the last five years, UMSI has made significant strides to increase faculty diversity, while working to foster a climate that helps faculty to thrive and advance their careers. To achieve these goals, UMSI has developed focused efforts in recruiting diverse candidate pools for all faculty positions, and participated in the President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program over multiple years. UMSI has also included important diversity, equity and inclusion goals into the school’s retention and promotion processes, and continued faculty development and mentoring practices designed to encourage professional and personal growth. 

The results of these efforts are reflected in the makeup of the 21 untenured, tenure-track UMSI faculty, 52 percent of whom are women, while 19 percent are underrepresented minorities. Of ten faculty promoted to tenured Associate Professor in the past five years, three are underrepresented minorities and five are women.

UMSI leadership sees faculty diversity as essential to its success as an interdisciplinary school with a mission to “create and share knowledge so that people will use information—with technology—to build a better world.”

“While the award celebrates accomplishments to date, the work of building a diverse faculty and an inclusive community is not over,” says Finholt. “The Dumas award is rather an acknowledgement of a promising start and a challenge for us to continue our engagement as a community on diversity, equity and inclusion."

The award will be presented at a ceremony on Feb. 10, 2021.

- Jessica Webster, UMSI PR Specialist