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January 4, 2007

Fraga to head Diversity Research Institute, recruit minority faculty

The UW has lured a highly accomplished and popular political science professor from Stanford to head up the Diversity Research Institute and help recruit and retain minority faculty members. He also joins the UW’s Political Science Department as a full professor.


Stanford students and faculty were so upset at the prospect of losing Luis Fraga that hundreds of them signed an online petition urging Stanford to work to keep him from defecting to the UW, according to published reports.


Also coming to the UW will be Fraga’s wife, Charlene Aguilar. In a statement, Fraga said it was tough to leave Stanford, where he’s taught for 15 years, but said the UW offered him and his wife “unique opportunities to build upon our previous work.”


Sheila Edwards Lange, the UW’s interim vice president for minority affairs, said of Fraga’s hire: “The University of Washington is extremely fortunate to be able to attract an academic of Luis’ caliber to this position. His national reputation for excellence in research and teaching, as well as his personal commitment to diversity in higher education make him a perfect fit for this new position.”


In his new role as associate vice provost for faculty advancement, Fraga’s primary mission will be to help diversify the faculty, Edwards Lange said.


As of fall 2005, about 15 percent of the UW’s more than 3,100 tenure-track faculty were minorities, of which more than two thirds are Asian. The University believes that a faculty that better represents the diversity in our society will help our students succeed in an increasingly multicultural workplace, Edwards Lange said.


The Diversity Research Institute is the focal point for UW research that generates new knowledge about diversity and institutional transformation.


Fraga, 51, has studied the politics of race and ethnicity and voting-rights policy, among other research areas. He is one of six principal investigators on the Latino National Survey, the first-ever 16-state survey of Latino political attitudes, behavior and beliefs. He is also the principal investigator on the project “Interests and Representation: Ethnic Advocacy on California School Boards.”


In 2003-04 he was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, where he worked on a study entitled “Gender and Ethnicity: The Political Incorporation of Latina and Latino State Legislators,” based on the first-ever nationwide survey of Latina/o state legislators in the U.S.


Fraga has received a number of teaching and advising awards, including the Rhodes Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (1993) and the Associated Students of Stanford University Teaching Award (2003).


In addition, he has recently been elected secretary of the American Political Science Association for 2006-2007, the leading professional organization for the study of political science with more than 15,000 members in over 80 countries.


UW Associate Professor of Political Science Gary Segura said he expects Fraga will likely teach at least one course a year starting next fall, possibly on voting rights or voting rights enforcement. He said the UW was “very fortunate” to land Fraga, a Latino and one of Stanford’s most prominent faculty members.


Fraga’s pay, including the administrative positions he is expected to hold for at least five years, totals $180,000 a year, with the proviso it would be cut to $126,000 should he step back to return full time to teaching. All of his positions have an effective date of July 1.


Charlene Aguilar has been offered the job of director and special assistant to the executive vice provost for undergraduate education initiatives, also effective July 1. Her initial base salary will be $105,000 annually.