In 1996, the American Historical Association adopted a statement on equity that acknowledges its commitment “to diversity in the historical profession” and called on “institutions to recruit aggressively and hire members from groups that have been historically discriminated against.” For example, according to figures available from the US Census and the AHA, the percentage of the current US population that is African American is slightly more than 13 percent; yet African Americans make up only 5 percent of the history faculty in the nation. Latinos, who constitute almost 14.4 percent of the current US population, make up less than 3 percent of the history faculty. The percentage of Asian American and Native Americans within the history profession more closely approximate their proportions in the total US population, but there still remains a need to increase their presence across the academy as well. It is imperative that the historical profession takes seriously its duty to remain open and available to its changing constituencies.
To further this goal, the AHA has established two equity awards to be given annually: one for individuals and another for academic units. The award can be conferred for new initiatives or for sustained efforts. These equity awards are meant to recognize and publicize individuals and institutions that have achieved excellence in recruiting and retaining underrepresented racial and ethnic groups into the historical professions. While the awards are honorary and have no monetary component, winners will receive a certificate of recognition that specially honors their efforts to secure and sustain diversity in the discipline.
The Committee of Minority Historians seeks to bestow the Equity Award upon individuals or institutions who have demonstrated an exceptional record in the recruitment and retention of students and new faculty from racial and ethnic groups under-represented within the historical professions. Deserving nominees will have records that include such achievements as mentoring, program building, fundraising initiatives, pursuing civic engagement, and enhancing department and campus culture to promote a supportive environment. Nomination letters should emphasize specific outcomes.
Eligible for the institutional award are such academic units as, for example, departments of history, public history programs, and interdisciplinary programs and research institutes. Such units may have taken advantage of university and community resources to diversify their students and faculty or to provide professional experience through teaching, research, post doctoral, or internship programs.
Individuals or institutions can nominate themselves or be nominated. The AHA’s Committee on Minority Historians will serve as the award committee that will review the nominations to make the awards.
Nominations should include:
- A cover letter of not more than 1,000 words, describing the new initiative or sustained effort. Each letter of nomination for the institutional award must specify the academic unit being nominated and include the name and address of an individual in the academic unit that can be contacted.
- A minimum of three letters supporting the nomination. These letters can be from students, former students, parents, colleagues, and others. There is no set proportion or formula on the “right” mix of letters. Individuals organizing nominations should solicit a cross selection as appropriate to address the essential elements noted above. Maximum length of letters is 500 words.
The 2015 Equity Award will be presented at the January 2016 AHA annual meeting in Atlanta.
Nominations with letters should be submitted to the AHA no later than May 15, 2015.
Nominations with letters should be sent electronically to Debbie Ann Doyle, Coordinator, Committees and Meetings.
2013 Equity Awards
David H. Jackson Jr., Florida A&M Univ.
David H. Jackson, professor of history and departmental chair at Florida A&M University, is the recipient of this year’s individual Equity Award in recognition of his achievements in inspiring African American undergraduates to enter graduate programs in history and earn professional degrees. An outstanding community leader and teacher, Jackson received the Rattler Pride Award for Community Leadership in 2000, the FAMU Teacher of the Year Award for 2000 and 2010, and the Advanced Teacher of the Year Award in 2006. Jackson has mentored over 20 young scholars who have earned PhD’s in history or are currently enrolled in doctoral programs, and has established a remarkable record in raising the number of African American faculty in the profession.
Douglas M. Haynes, on behalf of ADVANCE Program for Equity and Diversity, Univ. of California, Irvine
Haynes, a historian of science and director of the ADVANCE program, has facilitated the pipeline of students into graduate programs and led efforts on campus that have recently increased faculty from underrepresented groups by ten percent across the disciplines. At the core of ADVANCE is a commitment to faculty-led institutional transformation, which mobilizes and enables talented individuals from diverse backgrounds to fulfill their potential while shaping the future. The centerpiece of ADVANCE is a team of equity advisors and graduate program mentors who engage their peers in support of institutional transformation. In these roles, they monitor faculty recruitment and graduate admissions, coordinate career advising for junior colleagues and professional development for graduate students, and promote an affirmative culture of inclusive excellence for all.