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by Jean H. Shin, ASA Minority Affairs Program
At its winter meeting February 4-7, 2010, in Santa Barbara, CA, the members of Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS) approved an unprecedented gift of $100,000 to the ASA Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) Leadership Campaign. According to Margaret L. Andersen, immediate Past-Vice President of the American Sociological Association (ASA) and chair of the Campaign, "The generosity of SWS will help ensure we can continue to provide minority scholars with the mentoring, networking, and other forms of support that we know are essential for furthering the intellectual diversity of sociological scholarship and teaching. I am personally most grateful for, and inspired by, the commitment of both SWS and the many individuals who are part of the MFP Leadership Campaign."
Andersen worked with SWS President Denise A. Segura, SWS immediate Past-President Shirley A. Hill, and SWS Executive Officer Jessica Holden Sherwood for several months to bring the idea of this contribution to the SWS membership for action. The $100,000 gift is in addition to SWS’s continuing annual support of MFP, which provides full stipend funding for an MFP fellow each year. Regarding the gift, Segura said, "On behalf of SWS, I am honored that we can provide $100,000 toward the MFP Leadership Campaign. This gift is a testament to the importance SWS attaches to concretely supporting programs that work to enhance the diversity and excellence of the professoriate."
SWS’s gift moves MFP forward in its mission to bring the professional and financial resources of the larger sociological community to bear on mentoring and supporting talented minority doctoral candidates so they may complete their studies and establish productive and meaningful careers in sociology. To date, the MFP Leadership Campaign has raised $427,000 in pledges toward its initial goal of $500,000. MFP continues to receive regular organizational contributions from Alpha Kappa Delta, the Midwest Sociological Society, the Association of Black Sociologists, and the Southwestern Sociological Association.
According to Executive Officer Sally T. Hillsman, SWS’s pledge comes at a crucial time for MFP, which is undergoing a transition as its T-32 training grant support from the National Institute of Mental Health ends in 2010. ASA "has a long-standing and unwavering commitment to the training of sociologists in broad and inclusive ways that promote diversity in the discipline of sociology." She added that "ASA’s training efforts during more than three decades have added scholars to the ranks of sociologists who come from many ethnic and racial backgrounds, most of which remain underrepresented in the academy as a whole and in scientific disciplines."
For more information about participating in the MFP Leadership Campaign contact Margaret L. Andersen, Sally T. Hillsman, or Jean H. Shin through the ASA Minority Affairs Program at firstname.lastname@example.org.