UMich to add $63.7m to $15.8m federal DEI grant, hire 30 profs to create 'cultural transformation'

National Institutes of Health awarded the University of Michigan $15.8 million to pursue DEI. U-M plans to add a $63.7 million investment of their own to the grant.

The initiative will include 30 new tenure-track assistant profs.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced the winners of its third round of Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) awards last month. 

The FIRST awards aim to “enhance diversity and inclusion among biomedical faculty,” according to NIH.

Among the awardees was the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor (U-M), which plans to increase subsidize its grant of $15.8 million with a $63.7 million investment of its own. The combined $79.5 million will be used to launch the Michigan Program for Advancing Cultural Transformation (M-PACT). 

NIH is the primary federal agency for medical, health, and behavioral research.    

[RELATED: University drops DEI statements, rubric from hiring process]

U-M’s grant will “increase the sustainability of their existing diversity, equity, and inclusion priorities and hire faculty in 11 biomedical, clinical and translation, and social and behavioral research units across campus.”

The University Record reported that, “M-PACT will recruit 30 new tenure-track assistant professors across 11 schools, colleges and units into three interdisciplinary research clusters.”

Robert Sellers, the Charles D. Moody Collegiate Professor of Psychology at U-M, will be leading the M-PACT project. 

 “M-PACT will serve as a model for institutions committed to inclusive excellence,” Sellers told The University Record. “This innovative program will demonstrate that a cohort … which intentionally targets challenges that disproportionately affect underrepresented minority scholars, cannot only improve … but also transform broader institutional culture.”

[RELATED: University of Arkansas to dismantle DEI division]

Nicholas Giordano, a professor at Suffolk Community College and a Campus Reform Higher Education Fellow, recently argued writes that colleges should divert DEI funding to make a real impact. 

“The massive spending on DEISJ industrial complex does nothing to close the widening academic achievement gap, reverse the historic drop in basic proficiency levels, and instill essential critical thinking skills,” according to Giordano.

Campus Reform reached out to all relevant parties for comment. This article will be updated accordingly. 

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