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Diversity Research Center established in Dana Library, Rutgers-Newark

Increasing attention has been devoted by researchers to the positive impact of diversity on organizational performance and the factors that aid or impede diversity at work. As one indicator of the growth in such studies, a recent Google Scholar search on the terms "diversity" and "workplace" turned up hundreds of citations of scholarly books and articles, all published within the past 20 years. There are also over a dozen scholarly journals devoted solely to studies and reports on topics in diversity.

To provide direct support for faculty research on diversity, to take a leadership role in conducting such research, and to foster a broader conversation about the challenges and opportunities of diversity in academia, the John Cotton Dana Library at Rutgers-Newark has established a new Diversity Research Center in the library. The Diversity Research Center is unique in that it is based in a large academic library system and can readily draw upon its rich collections, skilled staff, and connections across campus to advance research and discourse on diversity.

The Diversity Research Center will also benefit from being situated on the Rutgers-Newark campus, which has been ranked for the past 13 years by US News and World Report as the most diverse university campus in the nation.

The Diversity Research Center's mission will include:

  • Conducting research associated with the relationship between diversity and organizational performance and promoting the dissemination of diversity research
  • Conducting institutional research and assessment related to academic preparation and student learning
  • Providing substantive support for research on diversity by faculty across the academic disciplines
  • Conducting diversity research related to library and information science and to support research for the profession, among the more than 120,000 libraries in the U.S.

The Center will create a dedicated collection of research materials related to diversity; host noted speakers, organizational leaders, and visiting scholars; and disseminate its findings and research through presentations, publications and electronic media. The Center will also establish a faculty fellowship program, to support Rutgers- Newark faculty who conduct diversity research in their disciplines.

Steve Diner, Chancellor of the Rutgers-Newark campus, praised the new research center, stating: "The extraordinary diversity of Rutgers-Newark provides unique opportunities to educate students for the global world and to study the impact of racial, ethnic and religious diversity on our society and its institutions. Because teaching and research on diversity span numerous disciplines and schools within our institution, it is especially appropriate that this center be housed in our library."

The Diversity Research Center has also begun to attract national attention. Miguel Figueroa, director of the American Library Association's Office of Diversity, stated: "The Diversity Research Center at the Dana Library will play an important role in promoting the value of diversity in education, organizational performance, and librarianship. Guided by leaders in diversity research and on a campus where diversity is an integral part of the learning experience, this Diversity Research Center is well-positioned at Rutgers-Newark's Dana Library."

The work of the Diversity Research Center will be guided by two leaders who have devoted significant scholarship on topics in diversity. Assistant Chancellor of the Rutgers-Newark campus and Dana Library Director Dr. Mark Winston will serve as director of the center and Dana Library Associate Director Haipeng Li will serve as co-director.

For more information on the Diversity Research Center, please see: http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/rul/libs/drc/drc.shtml

Posted August 13, 2010