The St. Mary’s College of Maryland Cluster Hire Initiative
In fall 2021, St. Mary’s College of Maryland begins the first phase of a two-year cluster hire. Our goal with this initiative is to actively center diversity and inclusivity in all parts of our educational practice. Our departmental searches are seeking talented faculty who are excited about bringing their expertise and experience to this transformational moment in our College history. The Cluster Hire Initiative is an institutional project with campus-wide backing that aligns with the Mission, Vision, Core Values, and Goals of St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
In 2022-2023, we look forward to welcoming the new faculty recruited to the College as our inaugural cohort of Ross Fellows, named for the late Professor Joe Ross, Jr., acclaimed printmaker and respected member of our art faculty from 1971 – 1984. With the launch of the Ross Fellows, the College plans to build and foster a network of promising new faculty whose expertise across their diverse fields of specialization will further elevate our research profile, and whose pedagogical practice will improve the educational experience of underrepresented students. By way of the thematic common threads among these new hires, we hope to cultivate a strong network of social and professional connections both among the Fellows and with the campus community.
Resources to support faculty success
The Ross Fellows will be supported by designated resources and programming, including the following:
- Up to $5,000 of supplementary funding toward research expenses and/or summer salary support, available within the first two years of hire.
- One-year individual membership to the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity, to be used any time within the first three-year contract. The NCFDD is an online independent professional development, training, and mentoring community for academics, focused on defining individual professional goals and building research productivity.
- The Ross Fellows steering committee. This committee will serve as a resource to the search committees, programs, and the cluster hire candidates during and after the search. The members will include representatives from Academic Affairs, IDEAA, the Center for Inclusive Teaching and Learning, the Office for Research and Sponsored Programs, and three faculty representatives. The steering committee is tasked with planning for the long-term success and sustainability of the initiative and its participants.
- Individual Development Plan (IDP) workshops. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs will arrange an initial meeting with each member to identify research interests and offer support for grant writing and research productivity. Academic Affairs and ORSP will host IDP workshops, leading the faculty member through a strategic 5-year arc to identify goals, gaps, and professional needs.
- Community Onboarding. The Division of Inclusive Diversity, Equity, Access, and Accountability (IDEAA) will meet regularly with the Ross Fellows to help establish connections with community groups and businesses in the area.
In addition, all faculty at St. Mary’s College of Maryland benefit from well developed resources designed to support faculty success at all stages of a faculty member’s professional path. New faculty have one course release in their first year and the option to apply for two pre-tenure course releases beginning in year four. We offer extensive new faculty professional development opportunities in small monthly seminars and in four-person mentoring cohorts. Internal faculty development grants are available twice yearly. We feature internal awards, distinguished chairs, and professorships across rank and discipline, both termed and without term.
About Professor Joe Ross, Jr.
Joseph Benson Ross, Jr. was born on February 1, 1943 in Washington, D.C. He began studying art with Cornelia R. Yuditsky at age 9 and went on to matriculate at Howard University (B.A.) and the University of Maryland (M.A.), where he received a National Society of Arts and Letters grant in 1968.
He began his teaching career at Spelman College in Atlanta, and soon drew the attention of the Whitney Museum of American Art, which included Ross in its “Contemporary Black Artists 1970” publication and featured him in its Contemporary Black Artists Group Exhibition the following year. Soon after, Ross joined the St. Mary’s College of Maryland art faculty where he developed many courses, including Printmaking and History of the Graphic Arts. In addition to the Whitney, Ross’s work has been shown at several venues of note, including the Washington Gallery of Art, Atlanta Arts Festival, Opus 2 Gallery in Washington, D.C., Pratt Graphics Center in New York, and Penn State University. During his final years at the college, his work was part of “Impressions/Expressions: Black American Graphics,” the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition from 1980-1983. He also showed work locally at Skipjack Gallery and Prince George’s Community College. Professor Ross courageously continued to teach art even after learning about his sickle cell anemia and kept his condition hidden for many years. He died on October 9, 1984.
The College’s own Boyden Gallery held a retrospective of Ross’s work on April 13, 1986 and displayed his prints, woodcuts, paper collages, lithographs, etchings, and drawings. In the catalog Division Head John C. Laughton reflected that “Joe Ross… was young and alive with excitement about his art, about his teaching, and about the future”. St. Mary’s College of Maryland is proud to honor the memory of professor and artist Joe Ross, Jr. with the eponymous Ross Fellows.