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Bridge to Faculty program continues success of increasing underrepresented faculty at UIC

B2F Group Shot

The Bridge to Faculty program, which focuses on transitioning underrepresented postdoctoral scholars of color into faculty roles, celebrated the newest cohort, marking a total of 49 scholars with 31 of them already UIC professors — and more hires are on the way.

Commonly referred to as B2F, the program was launched in 2020 by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Engagement with the support of the Office of the Chancellor. According to the program’s creator, its underlying success focuses on mentorship and the creation of community for the scholars.

“This is a program that started as a hiring program, but it’s not only a hiring program. And that was a lesson for all of us,” said Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Engagement Amalia Pallares. “It’s really a program for change because departments start thinking from the point of application to the point of recruitment, outreach, hiring and welcoming — on how they can do things differently. We can really show that in collaboration with us they’re going to mentor and transition the scholars effectively and create a community for them. That leads to a change in how to do things.”

Amalia Pallares and Marie Lynn Miranda

Pallares credited the administration for supporting the effort from the beginning.

“This is a new program, with new requirements, that meant a lot of things. We had, for example, to change some of our promotion and tenure guides to make sure that our scholars were recognized for their qualifications and the people in faculty affairs and the provost office stepped up for that,” Pallares said. “We also had a commitment of resources from the chancellor’s office that are really important for the program to continue and to recognize that we should be inclusive and excellent. It makes UIC better, together.”

UIC Chancellor Marie Lynn Miranda, who attended and spoke at the B2F reception, said the program characterizes the university’s values and mission.

“For me, it’s entirely emblematic of who we are as an institution. We have to seek commitment, providing the broadest possible access to the highest levels of educational research and critical excellence. That’s our mission,” said Chancellor Miranda. “And that educational and research excellence extends to our undergraduate and graduate programs helping to mentor, shape and nurture scholars — who recently completed their PhDs and getting them into faculty roles — is very much part of that mission.”

The B2F program now consists of 48 campus partners. The scholars have produced a total of 156 journal articles, three books, and three book chapters with more expected in the future. A new cohort is expected to be formed soon.

The fall 2023 B2F scholars include:

  • Barbara Adaikpoh, pharmaceutical sciences
  • David Banzer, educational psychology
  • Andrés Urcuqui-Bustamante, urban planning and policy
  • Azadeh Safaeian, disability and human development
  • Carla Tejada, industrial engineering
  • Rodrigo Rebouças, chemical engineering
  • Celso Armando Mendoza, history
  • Phi Nguyen, mathematics, statistics, and computer science
  • Shamatree Shakya, biobehavioral nursing science
  • Enrique Macari, Hispanic and Italian studies
  • Zeynel Gül, anthropology
  • Qingli Lei, special education
  • Abhery Das, health policy and administration
  • Hamza Khan, managerial studies