October 30, 2023

Warriors in the Community, Episode 29: University cluster hiring initiative

Warriors in the Community is a radio segment that features short, insightful interviews with key figures from Wayne State University about the many ways in which the university and its programs make a positive impact on the metro area and on the lives of Detroiters. 

Episode 29 features WSU Provost Mark Kornbluh, Ph.D., who joins us to discuss an ambitious new cluster hiring program he’s spearheading with help from the Mellon Foundation, which recently gifted the university $6 million for new hires and to help create a Detroit Center for Black Studies. Kornbluh hopes to hire as many as 50 new faculty members in an initiative that will both further diversify Wayne State faculty and broaden its research lens.

Announcer: This is Warriors in the Community, brought to you by Wayne State University. And now, to learn about how Wayne State is positively impacting our communities, here's Darrell Dawsey.

Darrell Dawsey: Today I'm with a special guest, Provost Mark Kornbluh, Ph.D. And he has kicked off and is overseeing a very ambitious new cluster hire program at the university that promises to further boost diversity and widen the academic lens at the state's premier urban research university.

Now, we already know that the Mellon Foundation awarded a 6 million grant to Wayne State to boost this hiring effort and to create the Detroit Center for Black Studies. Can you give us a little more detail about how this program works?

Mark Kornbluh: Wayne State is really deeply committed to Detroit.

Mark Kornbluh

We're Detroit's research institution and Detroit's the largest majority black city in America, and we have amongst the largest population of African Americans.

So it's really important for us to see that our curriculum, our research, our engagement reflects the city of Detroit.

Darrell Dawsey: Now, I understand that there's going to be an expansion in terms of recruitment. Can you tell us a little bit about, in terms of the numbers, what are we looking at?

Mark Kornbluh: Yes. Our goal is to hire at least 50 tenure track faculty members across the entire university whose research, teaching, community engagement, interest to students, focuses on the African American community.

Darrell Dawsey: Why is such a hiring initiative like this so critical to the university and how do you think it will shape Wayne State as we move forward?

Mark Kornbluh: We really are committed to a research mission that reflects the population of the city. And so we're going to build critical mass and faculty who look at issues that relate to the African American community.

Darrell Dawsey: Now, I know you've been out front on this thing. So can you give us more detail on the role you've played in seeing this effort through and let us know how that effort is going so far.

Mark Kornbluh: My career has really focused on increasing democracy and equity in higher education and I chose to come to Wayne State.

I was recruited here by President Wilson and we agreed that this would be a priority for the university for the five years that followed that. So we were greeted warmly by the faculty who really want to support this and we're excited by it.

Darrell Dawsey: Mark Kornbluh, thank you so much for joining us.

Mark Kornbluh: Thank you so much.

Announcer: This has been Warriors in the Community. For more Wayne State news, please visit us online at today. wayne. edu slash wwj and join us here next Monday at the same time for more Warriors in the Community.

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