New Assistant VP to Promote Faculty Diversity

May 27, 2009

Dr. Frances J. Freeman recently joined UT Dallas as assistant vice president for faculty diversity in the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement.

She will report to Dr. Magaly Spector, the University’s vice president for diversity and community engagement.

A speech-language pathologist, Freeman had a long career as a research scientist and teacher at such institutions as Adelphi University, Northwestern University, Stephen F. Austin State University, UT Southwestern Medical Center, and UT Dallas’ Callier Center for Communication Disorders.

After retiring from university teaching, she served as a pastor for six years in the United Methodist Church and also worked as a consultant in speech and hearing sciences.

“Dr. Freeman brings to our team extensive knowledge about faculty challenges from her experience as a faculty member at several institutions of higher education,” Spector said. “Her enthusiasm and excitement about the many opportunities to impact diversity is contagious, and I look forward to helping her work with deans and department heads to increase the pipeline of talented and diverse faculty at the University.”

In her new position, Freeman will be responsible for:

  • Supporting the increase of minority and women faculty by creating special programs and establishing networks outside the University.
  • Participating in and contributing to the development and implementation of a formal campus-wide mentoring program to enhance the tenure and promotion of underrepresented minorities and women faculty at UT Dallas.
  • Improving the faculty climate by helping to develop a campus culture that aims to level the academic playing field, value multicultural diversity and build community.
  • Creating programs to prepare potential candidates for junior faculty positions and working with minority-serving institutions and community organizations.

Though she’s only been with the University just over a month, Freeman has already been hard at work in her new position.

In April, she organized a workshop about faculty diversity that drew university administrators from around the region to present case studies, share ideas and network with one another. As a result of the workshop, participants and organizers hope to create an ongoing regional coalition about diversity.

“I’ve spent 13 years associated with UT Dallas, and am proud that in some areas we rank among the very best, not just in the nation, but in the world,” Freeman said. “I love the fact that this University embraces the quest for excellence and recognizes that diversity is an essential component of excellence. Solving the problems of today and tomorrow requires diversity of perspective, of talents and of experience. Assisting the faculty in achieving excellence through increased diversity is a goal worthy of commitment.”

Freeman’s research at UT Dallas and UT Southwestern Medical Center focused on stuttering and spasmodic dysphonia. She helped conduct electromyographic and brain imaging studies of those disorders that were funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and that led to new diagnoses and treatments. She currently researches the genetics of stuttering and cluttering through DNA studies conducted as part of an intramural NIH project.

During the 1960s, Freeman worked to integrate the public schools in Louisiana and was involved in the Women’s Movement in New York City. She received her Ph.D. in speech and hearing sciences from the City University of New York.


Media Contact: Jenni Huffenberger, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4431, jennib@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

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