Faculty of Color Working Group LogoGenerously supported by the Mellon Foundation and in collaboration with New England Humanities Consortium (NEHC) and University of Connecticut Humanities Institute (UCHI), the Faculty of Color Working Group (FOCWG) provides extra-institutional space for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) faculty to navigate the particular challenges that they face in their academic positions. Academic institutions create and incubate myriad inequalities, institutional microaggressions, and bad-faith policies regarding the recruitment, retention, promotion, and provision of healthy, respectful environments for faculty of color. Such imbalances degrade BIPOC faculty’s well-being and professional advancement as well as institutional health. FOCWG has begun to address these inequities. Led and created by BIPOC faculty active in the NEHC, FOCWG holds an annual conference to address professional advancement and development strategies; network; and concretely engage the personal toll exacted from BIPOC faculty through concrete discussion of self-care practices. FOCWG also offers fellowship opportunities to increase individual productivity and protect a principled tenure process among BIPOC, and it is currently developing a mentoring network comprised of senior BIPOC scholars and administrators targeting BIPOC faculty at all career stages. These programs begin what the FOCWG director and executive committee believe can be sustainable, integral, and evolving supports that work to ensure not only healthier daily lives and professional outcomes among BIPOC, but will also fundamentally orient and strengthen the institutions at which they work. FOCWG is directed by Dr. Melina Pappademos, Director of the Africana Studies Institute and associate professor of History, at the University of Connecticut. The FOCWG executive committee members are Touba Ghadessi (Wheaton College), Darryl Harper (Amherst College), Regine Jean-Charles (Northeastern University), Kareem Khubchandani (Tufts University), Irene Mata (Wellesley College), Noliwe Rooks (Brown University), Katerina González Seligmann (University of Connecticut), Melva Treviño-Peña (University of Rhode Island), and Gabriela Torres (Wheaton College).

The Faculty of Color Working Group is generously supported by the

Mellon Foundation


We aim to overcome institutional barriers and develop a multi-institutional network of engaged, enthusiastic humanities scholars at all career stages.

We provide crucial space for scholars to support one another in their professional careers, their institutional struggles, and their individual and collective growth.


We recognize that taking care of ourselves and one another is essential to the ongoing effort to repair our academic institutions from the wounds of racism and colonialism.


Still, today, many faculty of color state that they feel isolated and that they see themselves as the exception rather than the norm, and with that view comes a burden of proof that weighs heavily on one's professional and social life. By funding this request, Mellon backs institutional change in a regional and national way, while actively pushing academic structures toward altering inequitable frameworks—essentially enacting the beginnings of a decolonization of the humanities in academia.

Touba Ghadessi, a founding FOCWG leader and Interim Provost and Professor of the History of Art at Wheaton College