By Randy Fiedler
A familiar face at Baylor is taking on new responsibilities this month. Dr. Coretta M. Pittman, associate professor of English and a longtime member of the Baylor University faculty, has assumed the newly created position of associate dean for diversity and belonging in the College of Arts & Sciences, effective Aug. 1.
“I am excited and grateful to be in this role,” she said. “I see this opportunity as part of my faith in action, and I hope to go forth and do good work.”
Pittman has been a member of the Arts & Sciences Diversity and Belonging Committee (DBC) since its inception. In her new position, she will assess and implement the recommendations contained in the DBC report presented earlier this year to the Arts & Sciences Council of Chairs for its consideration.
“The world is changing rapidly, and as a result we need to be able to respond thoughtfully to many important issues associated with diversity and belonging,” said Dr. Lee C. Nordt, dean of the Baylor University College of Arts & Sciences. “We are fortunate to have Dr. Pittman to help us think through these issues and find ways to provide greater outreach to our students who represent a variety of ethnicities and cultures.”
Pittman, a native of Jackson, Tennessee, earned a Master of Arts degree in English from Austin Peay State University and a Ph.D. in English from Wayne State University. After studying and doing research in Tennessee, Michigan and New York, she joined the Baylor faculty in 2003. She has taught writing courses that focus on issues related to race and social class, as well as courses on African American literature, and her research examines the social and cultural importance of literacy and language.
As the inaugural associate dean for diversity and belonging, Pittman said she will work to promote inclusion within the College of Arts & Sciences.
“In almost all the rooms I enter, I look around to see who is not in the room. I then begin to think about their absence,” she said. “What kind of information is lost to me and all the people in the room with me because of the absence of people of color, people from different faith communities, women missing in conversations about STEM, differently abled people, people raised in non-traditional families, and now more than ever young men from our college classrooms? I believe their absence is both measurable and incalculable, and I see my new role as a way to better understand the measurables and their impacts in Arts & Sciences and to find ways to ameliorate those absences.”