Fraser answers the call
By Charlotte Crystal
Fraser attended a conference in California last summer for
women of color in academic leadership. It was a small group
of about three dozen women — African-American, Asian-American,
Native-American — who held jobs ranging from department
chairs and deans to provosts and university presidents. For
several days, the women discussed institutional leadership
and the ways in which their roles as path-breakers
shaped their views of leadership.
began to think in a new way about administration and organizational
development as requiring critical thinking and the kinds of
approaches I had developed as a scholar,” said Fraser,
then a program officer with the Ford Foundation who was on
leave as associate professor of anthropology at U.Va.
January, Fraser was appointed to a five-year term as the University’s
vice provost for faculty advancement.
coming [to the provost’s office], I’ve been impressed
with how deeply committed people here are and how deeply interesting
they are intellectually, in how they think through solutions
to problems, both short term and long term.”
oversees the University’s efforts to recruit and retain,
promote and grant tenure to qualified women and men from underrepresented
groups. She also helps with the broad, academic tasks of the
Office of the Vice President and Provost.
promoting faculty diversity, Fraser acts as liaison among the
University’s various schools. She hopes to share innovative
approaches to hiring and coping with the needs of faculty spouses.
also plans to encourage departments to consider flexible approaches
to hiring, such as deferring an attractive candidate for a
year to enable her to complete a post-doctoral year somewhere
else; or, hiring someone with the understanding that he will
be able to leave for a post-doc within a few years.
departments and schools look at hires, they’re looking
at how a particular individual fits into their department,” Fraser
said. “My job is to look at the curricular and scholarly
issues going forward: How does this faculty member fit into
the University’s broader goals and vision of its future?
I also help keep departments apprised of national trends in
faculty recruitment and retention.”
is not only interested in increasing the number of women and
minority faculty in departments where they are underrepresented.
She is also deeply interested in professional development for
faculty, in creating a mentoring program that would benefit
faculty across the ranks and throughout their careers, and
in offering leadership training for faculty who have been asked
to fill new roles.
expects to help the University wrestle with the persistent
challenge of spousal employment, noting the issue is likely
to increase in importance as the University grows in size and
ambition. “Charlottesville is an active town, but people
see it’s still a small town when they come to visit,” she
sees three priorities: increasing the number of women and minority
faculty, particularly in the sciences; creating and institutionalizing
programs of mentoring for faculty; and retaining minority faculty.
we could make progress in those areas, I’d be proud of
that,” she said.