Wingfield named vice dean of faculty development and diversity

In her new role, Wingfield will help to advance diversity and inclusion efforts for Arts & Sciences faculty.

Adia Harvey Wingfield

Dean Feng Sheng Hu has named Adia Harvey Wingfield vice dean of faculty development and diversity. Wingfield is the Mary Tileston Hemenway Professor of Arts & Sciences and professor of sociology.

Wingfield currently serves as the associate dean for faculty development, overseeing new chair and faculty orientations and running faculty development workshops throughout the year. She will continue in this capacity and expand her portfolio to include diversity initiatives.

This new position will help recruit faculty from underrepresented backgrounds and support them in the early to mid-level stages of their careers. Much of the infrastructure for this support exists at the university level, thanks to the work of the Provost’s office and outgoing Vice Provost Adrienne Davis, who has been instrumental in the development of faculty diversity initiatives at Washington University.

“At this point, it will be a matter of instituting some of that programming at the school level,” Wingfield said, “while reinforcing initiatives to help underrepresented faculty thrive across Arts & Sciences.” Enhancing areas like mentorship, community building, professional development, and pathways to leadership will “help Arts & Sciences meet its goals of being an inclusive place for all,” Wingfield said. 

Departments and chairs across Arts & Sciences have vocalized a clear commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion at the faculty level. Harvey Wingfield said that the next step is to translate that commitment into programming that supports faculty recruitment and career mentoring.

Wingfield’s work on the intersections of race, gender, and class in the workplace has garnered national media attention. Her most recent book on this subject, Flatlining: Race, Work, and Health Care in the New Economy, won the 2019 C. Wright Mills Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems. In Flatlining, she explores how medical facilities participate in “racial outsourcing” by relying on Black doctors, nurses, technicians, and physician assistants to do the extra labor that makes their organizations accessible to communities of color.

Her research has uniquely prepared her for her new role in supporting faculty diversity in Arts & Sciences. She explained that creating a workplace where faculty of color are not burdened with the extra labor of fixing structural inequality in higher education is crucial to the success of the university’s diversity initiatives.

“This racial outsourcing becomes an issue because frequently it turns into a situation where a handful of individuals within an organization end up doing additional, uncompensated labor in an effort to solve structural problems that could be more effectively addressed through organizational initiatives,” Wingfield said. “Thus, it’s really important to me to help enact programs at the school level so that this phenomenon of equity work doesn’t have to be an additional, undue burden for faculty here.”

Feng Sheng Hu, dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, appointed Wingfield in the midst of a strategic planning process that will help define the future of the school. “Through her scholarship, Adia has shone an important light on the ways that people of color are often expected to do extra labor to make their own workplaces hospitable to their identity,” said Hu. “We are grateful to have her leadership and vision guiding our efforts to defy that trend. I look forward to working with her to develop a robust infrastructure to support our efforts towards diversity, equity, and inclusion across Arts & Sciences.”

Wingfield said that she is most looking forward to the opportunity to work with other faculty as part of this new role. “I really enjoy being in a position where I can work collaboratively with colleagues to help support new faculty, new department chairs, and mid-career faculty,” she said.