Office of Educational Equity appoints Gilyard senior faculty mentor

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Keith Gilyard, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of English and African American Studies, has been appointed to serve as the Office of Educational Equity senior faculty mentor following the retirement of Grace Hampton, professor emerita of art education.

“As senior faculty mentor, Keith will help new faculty members to acclimate to the University and help them develop effective research skills and publishing strategies,” Marcus Whitehurst , acting vice provost for Educational Equity, said. “He will also work to create an atmosphere of collegiality and community by encouraging the development of a productive balance between research, teaching and service while supporting faculty members in their progression toward promotion and tenure.”

Reporting directly to the Office of Educational Equity, Gilyard will represent minority faculty members by providing a variety of support services including tenure and promotion advising and professional development workshops. In addition to examining University staffing and hiring patterns, he will also oversee the distribution of grant funding that provides faculty members opportunities to travel to academic conferences.

Gilyard said his new role as a senior faculty mentor is crucial for the University, which has more than 6,000 faculty members across the Commonwealth.

“Penn State is a big place, and it can be a complex place, especially for faculty of color or historically underrepresented faculty,” Gilyard said. He added that while his position is located at the University Park campus, he will work with faculty at the University’s Commonwealth Campuses as well.

Gilyard joined the Penn State faculty in 1999 and has focused his research on African American expressive culture. A two-time recipient of the American Book Award, he has published three volumes of poetry as well as 14 academic books. He has served as chair for Penn State’s promotion and tenure committee where he evaluated more than 300 tenure applications, is the former chair of The Conference on College Composition and Communication and is the former president of the National Council of Teachers of English, the first faculty member from Penn State to hold the latter two roles.

“Part of having a great university is having a great faculty,” Gilyard said. “I think Penn State has a great faculty, and it can be even greater. It can be more robust and more diverse with more people contributing to a tradition of excellence.”

Gilyard will be recognized for his new appointment during the annual joint reception of the Senior Faculty Mentor and the Forum on Black Affairs to be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 16, at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, when new and returning faculty and staff of color will also be welcomed to the University.

The joint reception will follow the Fall 2014 Best Practices in Diversity Strategic Planning Workshop, at 3:30 p.m. in Presidents Hall of The Penn Stater. Derald Wing Sue, professor of psychology and education at Columbia University and a pioneer in multicultural counseling education, will speak on the topic of microaggressions in higher education.

Last Updated September 10, 2014