Williams Professor Pamela E. Harris Recognized as Future STEM Leader in Higher Education
Media contact: Jim Reische, chief communications officer; tele: 413-597-2025; email: [email protected]
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., August 10, 2021 – Pamela E. Harris, Associate Professor of Mathematics at Williams College and Faculty Fellow of the college’s Davis Center and Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, was today named a fellow in the third cohort of the IAspire Leadership Academy, a leadership program aimed at helping STEM faculty from underrepresented backgrounds ascend to leadership roles at colleges and universities. The academy is part of the Aspire Alliance’s Institutional Change Initiative, which the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the University of Georgia lead.
Williams Dean of Faculty Safa Zaki described Harris’s outstanding qualifications: “In addition to blazing trails in her research, Pamela has been an active and influential advocate for improving diversity and retention rates among women and minorities in mathematics. Given Pamela’s leadership potential, this fellowship is a natural fit.”
“We’re excited that so many institutions were able to support the participation of emerging STEM leaders from underrepresented groups in the third cohort of the IAspire Leadership Academy,” said Howard Gobstein, Director of the Aspire Alliance and Executive Vice President at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). “More than ever, we see the need for institutions to cultivate and support diversity in faculty and university leadership, and this year’s class of fellows will be well positioned to advance these goals.”
“It is an honor to provide this leadership development opportunity to so many current and rising leaders from across the country,” said Rochelle Sapp, IAspire Leadership Academy Director and Leadership Development Specialist in the Office of Learning and Organizational Development at the University of Georgia. “Advancing diverse and under-represented groups of leaders in STEM higher education is critical to the success of higher education and society, especially providing these leaders opportunities to focus on their personal leadership skills, goals, and style. We are also hopeful about the power of community among the fellows to create a lasting foundation of mutual support to advance their ongoing development and success.”
The academy is one pillar of diversity and inclusion work underway through the Aspire Alliance (formally known as the National Alliance for Inclusive & Diverse STEM Faculty). The National Science Foundation-backed alliance is working across post-secondary institutions to develop more inclusive institutional cultures to create a more inclusive and diverse STEM professoriate.
The leadership academy provides professional development for academic leaders from underrepresented groups so they can aspire to and succeed in more senior leadership roles, thus broadening participation in academic leadership. Fellows will learn effective executive leadership skills for increasingly complex higher education environments as well as strategies for influencing institutional transformation in their current and future leadership positions.
Founded in 1793, Williams College is the second-oldest institution of higher learning in Massachusetts. The college’s approximately 2,000 undergraduate students are taught by a faculty noted for the quality of their teaching and research, and the achievement of academic goals includes active participation of students with faculty in their research. The college is also home to roughly 100 master’s students enrolled in its renowned graduate programs in Development Economics and the History of Art (the latter offered in collaboration with the Clark Art Institute). Students’ educational experience is enriched by the residential campus environment in Williamstown, Mass., which provides a host of opportunities for interaction with one another and with faculty beyond the classroom. Admission decisions on U.S. applicants are made regardless of a student’s financial ability, and the college provides grants and other assistance to meet the demonstrated needs of all who are admitted.