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Diversity Institute: Why and How Difference Makes a Difference

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The CASBS Summer Institute on Diversity has a dual mission.  

Substantively the Institute will engage in field building around social scientific investigation of why, how and when difference makes a difference. In doing so, the institute will develop an on-going collaboration and support network of emerging scholars from backgrounds underrepresented in higher education.   
Inspiration for this Institute came from a recognition of two problems. First, there has been an explosion of first-rate scholarship on race, ethnicity, and their intersections with other social categories, processes, and institutions. However, this research is impeded by disciplinary boundaries, traditional evaluation criteria that is often siloed by discipline, and even the urgency of normative concerns. Moreover, within the social and behavioral sciences, a growing number of emerging scholars from underrepresented groups themselves study questions that center on when difference makes a difference and see the benefit of interdisciplinary approaches to this scholarship. We are eager to support and enrich these efforts. 

At the same time, universities around the country are responding to the imperative of diversifying their faculty, with many now offering promising emerging scholars from underrepresented backgrounds postdoctoral positions and fellowships intended to be eventual on-ramps to research faculty positions (either at the postdoctoral institution or elsewhere).  However these programs have emerged in piecemeal fashion, and the training, career mentoring, and intellectual community provided to these scholars—which research shows to be predictive of early-stage faculty success—is extremely variable.  We are concerned that many promising young scholars are receiving few interdisciplinary opportunities for intellectual and professional network development beyond their graduate program.

The Diversity Institute is led by Mary Murphy (Indiana University), Sylvia Perry (Northwestern), Jennifer Richeson (Yale University).

The Diversity Institute is supported by the Ford Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation.

Read more about the participants


Call for Applications 2024

The second annual CASBS summer institute on Diversity: Why & How Difference Makes a Difference will occur from June 17th - June 28th, 2024, at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences on the Stanford University campus. Twelve fellowships will be awarded to cover tuition, lodging, travel, and the majority of meals.

There are three important dates in the application process: (1) the online application is due January 8, 2024; (2) the letter of support is due January 10, 2024; and (3) fellowship awards will be announced by email no later than February 29, 2024.

The application portal can be accessed at:

For inquiries regarding the application, please contact