As part of its goal of diversifying Bowdoin’s faculty, the College will shift funding and resources from the Consortium for Faculty Diversity (CFD) fellowship program towards hiring more tenured faculty through the Target of Opportunity policy. By decreasing the number of CFD fellows that Bowdoin hires annually from six to three, the College will be able to create two new tenure track positions to increase and further recruit diverse faculty.

“Having more faculty of color on the tenure track will increase the excellence that we have on our campus, and it will also increase the desirability of our campus to all kinds of people, not just other faculty of color, but a more diverse academic environment is a good thing for everybody,” said Interim Dean for Academic Affairs Jennifer Scanlon.

Scanlon hopes one or both of the Target of Opportunity positions can be filled in the next academic year. While these new faculty could be current non-tenured faculty, it is more likely they will be new professors that different departments find and nominate. Departments will also have the opportunity to fill gaps in their curriculums by proposing new candidates for Target of Opportunity positions.

“Candidates usually are here for one or two years, and during that time they have a reduced teaching load, and they have mentoring, and the idea is that they really have the opportunity to work on their own research and get a little bit ahead for the job market, and also so they have an opportunity to teach in a liberal arts institution,” added Scanlon.

Bowdoin adopted the Target of Opportunity policy in 2008. This hiring policy, which other colleges across the nation have adopted, allows Bowdoin to hire and tenure exceptional minority faculty outside of regular openings or a national search. Similarly, the CFD, developed as a way to help young people of color launch their careers, is an organization of liberal arts colleges that aims to promote faculty diversity by placing minority postdoctoral fellows in its member institutions.

“The Consortium for Faculty Diversity program has been terrific, and we’re not eliminating it, but what we’re doing is we’re saying we can do both,” said Scanlon. “We’re saying let’s put some resources towards a more direct route to increasing the diversity of the tenure track faculty at the College.”

“The Target of Opportunity hiring policy, which again colleges all around the country have, is to say that if we can find a candidate who would diversify our faculty and who meets our criteria of excellence, we can go out and we can try to recruit that person into a tenure track line at the College,” said Scanlon.

However, Scanlon explained Bowdoin has not hired many individuals through the Target of Opportunity process, and the College has not been able to offer many CFD fellows longer-term positions. 

She hopes to reinvigorate the practice with this new focus and funding for Target of Opportunity’s tenure hires.

Despite this new initiative, Scanlon reiterated her stance regarding the College’s standing commitment to seeking minority faculty through the regular search process, which she explained in an Orient article last fall about the diversity of professors.  

“I would still maintain [that] the most critical way to diversify the faculty is through the regular faculty hiring process,” Scanlon said. “This is by no means a retreat; this is a way to say there is not just one avenue. [The regular search process] remains the most important avenue, but why not look at how we allocate our resources, and why not think about are there creative ways that we could employ that would enhance the diversity of our faculty.”