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Joy Bostic is helping expand the diversity of the college’s faculty, students and courses


As the College of Arts and Sciences inaugural associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), Joy Bostic, PhD, aims to cultivate lasting change.

Since starting her new role in July 2021, Bostic has worked with colleagues to develop the kinds of institutional changes needed to weave DEI more firmly into the college’s climate and actions. Recruitment of faculty and postdoctoral fellows of color has increased, and she’s excited that 26% of the university’s first-year students identify as underrepresented minorities. A more diverse student body, Bostic said, fosters a more diverse faculty, and vice versa. Bostic credits relatively new campus leaders—including Dean Joy K. Ward, PhD, who created Bostic’s position—with the support and resources that are “absolutely changing the ways we can build on the DEI work of the past 15 years.”

Bostic has spent her career weaving together broad academic knowledge and social-justice activism.

She has advanced degrees in law, public policy and management, divinity and systematic theology. She’s been a minister and faith-based organizer, combating racism, sexism, homophobia and sexual violence.

As an associate professor in the college, she has taught religious studies and was founding director of the minor in African and African American Studies. And at the university level, she served as interim vice president for inclusion, diversity and equal opportunity starting in 2019.

black Woman with grey highlighted springy curls

Joy Bostic. Photo by Eric Benson

Bostic recently talked with art/sci about her work as an associate dean and what comes next.

What are some actions the college is taking to make hiring and retention more equitable and diverse?

We have developed protocols and procedures for [hiring more diverse faculty and researchers] with the help of departments and chairs who contributed ideas for developing best practices. We also piloted and now are implementing a faculty search rubric to evaluate candidates’ contributions to diversity and inclusion.

Describe new courses that draw on diverse histories, cultures and lived experiences.

We are offering one of the most diverse sets of courses that we have offered, especially in African and African American studies, and women and gender studies.

Last year we offered a course on Black feminism and sexuality focusing on the works of [poet and civil-rights activist] Audre Lorde. We also offer courses on Native American history.

What’s on your to-do list?

Even as we focus on recruitment, I want to work more widely with departments on developing mentoring networks for faculty and graduate students to maintain and increase retention and support scholars as they work to identify their passions and build their scholarship.

I also want to work with faculty to grow and further develop the African and African American Studies program. We need to recruit more faculty to establish a vibrant program, but we have a good core group now, and with student enrollments up, the college is positioned to move forward with growing the field.



Page last modified: March 17, 2023