Latest DITE Cohort Convenes in Durham

DITE cohort standing outside together for a picture

On Tuesday, the Diversity Initiative for Tenure in Economics kicked off its fall meeting in Durham, North Carolina. The DITE program, which provides mentorship and workshops to aid the transition from junior faculty status to associate professor for economists from underrepresented groups (most notably, Black, Latinx, and Native American economists), is currently in the midst of working with its 14th cohort of scholars. As William A. Darity Jr., director for both the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University and the DITE program, made clear in his opening address, DITE launched in 2008 in response to analyzing promotion patterns in economics in academia and “recognizing that economics was generally not the most hospitable climate” for these underrepresented groups.  “The tragedy,” Darity said, “is that we still need a program like this.” The latest meeting kicked off Tuesday with presentations from junior faculty seeking feedback on their current research, which spanned a range of topics. In the morning, Robert Gonzalez, assistant professor of economics at the Georgia Institute of Technology, presented an economic model for how higher punishments may or may not deter crime, and Salama S. Freed, assistant professor of health policy and management at George Washington University, explored how nursing homes and assisted living facilities can compete with one another in the marketplace for aging and elderly care. After lunch, Charles Becker, professor of economics at Duke, joined the scholars via Zoom to share thoughts on the logistical difficulties these junior faculty face, especially as individuals who are often pressured to take on additional diversity and outreach efforts. Becker delivered detailed, specific recommendations for both navigating administrative and departmental politics and “the much more important work” of building a research support network as one moves through academia. The afternoon program continued with Jean-Baptiste Tondji, assistant professor of economics at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, who shared a theoretical model for optimal pandemic response in for-profit and non-profit nursing homes. Lastly, Luis Baldomero-Quintana, assistant professor of economics at William and Mary, discussed his research into how new residential investment affects rents at the neighborhood- and city-level—and the situations in which this new investment prompts gentrification. This week’s DITE conference will conclude Thursday. Please stay tuned for further updates by following the Cook Center on social media.