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Racism and Social Inequality in the Americas Cluster Hire Program

Fall 2025 Cluster Hire Program Update

After consultation with President Schulz and Leslie Brunelli (executive vice president for finance and administration), the Office of the Provost regrets to announce that the Cluster Hire Program will be on a one-year hiatus while Washington State University carefully evaluates our budget and completes the FY2025 reduction exercise. As such, the Provost’s Office will not seek applications for a Fall 2025 cohort. We are hopeful that the Provost’s Office will resume the Cluster Hire program in the Spring 2025 which will allow us to welcome the next cohort during the Fall 2026 semester.

Fall 2024 Cluster Hire Program

More information on the Fall 2024 Cluster Hire in Racism and Social Inequality in the Americas program will be released in the near future.

Fall 2023 Cluster Hire Program

Five proposals have been selected for funding for the third cohort of the Cluster Hire in Racism and Social Inequality in the Americas program. This cohort, set to start in fall 2023, has a specific focus on racialized, social, and environmental inequality and injustices in Native American and Indigenous communities.

Launched in 2020 by Provost Elizabeth Chilton, WSU’s cluster hire program seeks to build a network of scholars who are committed to conducting research that addresses historical and on-going racism, inequality, and injustice in their diverse fields of specialization—especially those committed to strengthening community-engaged scholarship. By hiring in a thematic cluster, WSU aims to foster a strong sense of community among these new colleagues, while also ensuring high rates of retention and encouraging collaboration across departmental, college, and campus lines.

“In recognition that WSU’s locations statewide are on the homelands of Native Peoples, and given the recent implementation of Executive Policy 41, it is critical that hire and support scholars who are deeply connected to and engaged in collaborative research with Native American and Indigenous communities,” said Chilton.

The following areas of specialization were selected for funding:

  • Native teacher preparation, Indigenous knowledge systems, and tribally-developed curriculum (College of Education)
  • Native American food systems and the environment (College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences and College of Arts and Sciences)
  • American Indian and Alaska Native community health and healthcare, economic development, and environmental issues (College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences)
  • Anthropological research on Indigenous communities of America (College of Arts and Sciences)
  • Native American/Indigenous law and policy (College of Arts and Sciences)

Zoe Higheagle Strong, vice provost for Native American relations and programs and tribal liaison to the president, echoed Chilton’s sentiments. “Over the past 25 years, we have seen tremendous growth from our Memorandum of Understanding with local tribes, to an executive policy codifying tribal consultation. This cluster hire highlights WSU’s ongoing commitment to tribal partnerships.”

WSU Pullman’s inaugural vice chancellor for equity and inclusive excellence, Lisa Guerrero, leads the cluster hire program.

“I am continually impressed with the proposals submitted to the cluster hire program from colleagues across the system,” Guerrero remarked. “Our first cohort has been on board for one academic year, and we are already seeing the positive impact of the program. The faculty in these cohorts are instrumental in building WSU’s research and academic portfolio in the areas of racism and social inequality.”

Application Instructions

Notice of vacancies for the positions can be found on the WSU Human Resource Services website by clicking here.


Questions can be directed to Lisa Guerrero, Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusive Excellence (WSU Pullman), at (509) 335-5581 or

Fall 2022 Cluster Hire Program

Washington State University (WSU) is continuing a new faculty cluster hire initiative in the scholarship and teaching about racism and social inequality in the Americas. For the fall 2022 cohort, the cluster hire will focus on health inequities and health justice for marginalized communities; the goal is to seek scholars who will contribute to work in this area and help lead institutional transformation. WSU seeks to build a network of scholars who are committed to conducting and applying research on racism, ethnicity, social justice, power, and structures of inequality in their diverse fields of specialization. Aside from recruiting and retaining a more diverse faculty, when paired with an explicit network-based mentoring program, such cluster hires can transform the institution through the building of new curricula, research foci, and community engagement.  As a land-grant institution, Washington State University is particularly interested in hiring scholars who are deeply connected to and integrated into the communities that they study, as a means to build on our strong tradition of engaged and applied scholarship at WSU.

By hiring in a thematic cluster, we aim to foster a strong sense of community among these new colleagues, while also ensuring high rates of retention and encouraging collaboration across departmental, college, and campus lines. While the cluster hire serves as a mechanism to attract, recruit, and retain faculty who share intellectual interests and professional commitments, each position will have a different departmental berth.

For the fall 2022 call for proposals, the community responded with 25 proposals.  The following five have been selected for funding.

  • Black Families, Kinship, and Reproductive Justice (Program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies)
  • Advancing our Understanding of Development among Indigenous Populations (Department of Human Development)
  • Inequities in Maternal-Child Health (Department of Psychology)
  • Health Justice in Marginalized Communities (Department of Medical Education and Clinical Sciences)
  • Health Equity for Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander People (College of Nursing)

“I am pleased and encouraged by the University’s response to each of the calls for proposals, and I’m excited to see the impact these faculty members have on our campuses and in our communities,” Chilton said. “We are aiming to continue the program for at least three years to build a critical mass of scholarship in the area of racism and inequality and a strong and dynamic network among the cohorts.”

These new faculty members will help address significant needs within each unit and help to break ground in new areas of research and scholarship.

Read more about the faculty members joining WSU in fall 2021 by clicking here.

Washington State University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action educator and employer. Members of ethnic minorities, women, disabled veterans, veterans of the Vietnam-era, recently-separated veterans, and other protected veterans, persons of disability, and/or persons age 40 and over are encouraged to apply. WSU employs only U.S. citizens and lawfully authorized non-U.S. citizens. All new employees must show employment eligibility.