Nilanjana Buju Dasgupta has received the 2021-2022 Samuel F. Conti Faculty Fellowship Award! Congratulations!
A University of Massachusetts Amherst Samuel F. Conti Faculty Fellowship provides faculty members with a unique opportunity to focus on their research or creative activities. These Fellowships are managed by the office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement and provide a one-year release from teaching and service duties in addition to a cash award. Fellows are chosen based on their record of outstanding accomplishments in research and creative activity and on their potential for continued excellence, particularly with regard to the project that will be undertaken during the Fellowship period.
"Billions of dollars are spent on diversity training and education in businesses, universities, and government. Businesses alone spend $8 billion annually on multicultural education, cultural competence, and unconscious bias training. These programs tacitly assume that institutional equity and inclusion requires changing individual hearts and minds. Despite prodigious spending, research reveals that these programs’ impact on institutional change is limited at best, and backfires at worst. Moreover, controlled experiments are rarely used to evaluate diversity programs, raising doubts about causal inference. In a nutshell, appealing to individual hearts and minds has not yielded institutional change.
"I plan to write a research informed book aimed at a general audience explaining why progress toward institutional diversity, equity, and inclusion has been limited despite a cottage industry of programs focused on individual education and awareness. By synthesizing scholarly research from psychology, sociology, organizational behavior, and management science, I will then unpack key features of local cultures that subtly magnify inequality in access and opportunity. Finally, I will offer research-driven solutions that rest less on changing individual hearts and minds, and more on leveraging the power of situations to move toward more just, equitable, and inclusive institutions. The Samuel F. Conti Fellowship will allow me the time to dedicate undivided attention to writing this book in the academic year 2021-22." —Buju