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  • 30 Apr 2023 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Dear fellow Society members:

    Can you believe it has been a month since we met in Tempe? Thank you again for prioritizing the work of thinking through the Society’s future. And many thanks to those who contributed to the picture bank. Memories to cherish! (If you are NOT okay with pictures being used in SSFF materials, including the website, please email Koritha directly at kamitche@gmail.com).

    Please know that the board has continued to work with all of your feedback in mind.

    In fact, to keep the momentum from having interacted with you last month, the board has a facilitated retreat scheduled for May 15th. Based on the thorough notes taken throughout the in-person meeting, the professional facilitator has been developing the retreat agenda.

    Among our many concerns is deciding how often and in what manner the Society will meet in the future. For the past several years, the SSFF has hosted a FALL online meeting with breakout sessions and a keynote address. Those online events have allowed more members to participate than could make it to Tempe. We hope to continue sponsoring those every Fall.

    There seems to be interest in regular in-person meetings as well, and we have already had members express interest in hosting. We expect to make some decisions about whether a SPRING in-person meeting could become annual as well as what process we might use for deciding on hosts and host institutions. One aim of this board retreat, then, is to be in a position to announce locations for 2024 and 2025 meetings soon, along with how to propose your location/institution to host 2026.

    Please know that there will be many opportunities to get involved. For instance, the Society’s goals are often accomplished through committees, and those were never designed to be composed of board members only. Please keep the SSFF on your radar and encourage other senior Ford fellows that haven’t connected to the community to do so. We’re working to be around for the long haul! Help us do so! Do you know senior Fordies who aren’t SSFF members? Encourage them to join us by visiting https://seniorfordfellows.org/join-us.

    In the Ford Spirit,
    SSFF Board

  • 16 Sep 2022 5:04 PM | Patricia Akhimie

    The Society of Senior Ford Fellows (SSFF) has recently been made aware of the unfortunate decision by the Ford Foundation to end its long-standing support for the Ford Diversity Fellows Program administered through the National Academy of Sciences. While SSFF’s membership includes current and former Ford Fellows, and we seek to amplify and leverage the voice of Ford fellows for justice and equity, we are an independent, unaffiliated non-profit organization. We are saddened by the decision to end the Ford Diversity Fellows program, but remain committed to the fulfillment of SSFF’s mission. Inquiries regarding the Ford Diversity Fellows Program should be directed to the Ford Foundation at nasfordfellows@fordfoundation.org


  • 10 Jul 2020 3:46 PM | Anonymous

    In July 2020, the Society of Senior Ford Fellows authored a letter opposing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s recent policy decision to revoke existing F-1 visas and deny applications for new F-1 visas to students who engage only in off-campus coursework during the coming year.  A copy of the letter is posted below:


    July 10, 2020


    The Honorable Chad F. Wolf

    Acting Secretary of Homeland Security

    Office of the Executive Secretary

    MS0525

    Department of Homeland Security

    2707 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE Washington, DC 20528-0525


    Dear Acting Secretary Wolf:

    The Society of Senior Ford Fellows (SSFF) would like to register its profound opposition to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s recent policy decision to revoke existing F-1 visas and deny applications for new F-1 visas to students who engage only in off-campus coursework during the coming year. The SSFF is a professional association formed by the more than 5000 prominent scholars in colleges, universities, and in the public and private sectors throughout the United States and globally who have received fellowships from the Ford Foundation.

    This new policy is not consistent with widespread efforts by universities, colleges and other educational institutions to protect the health of students and staff in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many of these efforts involve reducing on-campus activities as much as possible—particularly for vulnerable students, staff and educators—so that required physical distancing and other infection reduction practices can be implemented.

    This new policy would be extremely damaging to the US educational systems and catastrophic for many international students and their families. This policy will put thousands of students in the horrible position of having to choose between meeting the requirement to participate in on-campus activities, and protecting their health, as well as that of their families and communities.

    Even more problematic is that many educational institutions are planning for 100% distance learning in the coming year to protect public health. This includes the second largest four-year university system in the country, the California State University, with almost a half million students. Thousands of students in this system alone would lose eligibility to continue their education because of this new policy. It would also devastate the very foundation of these institutions, by depriving them of the intellectual, cultural, ideological and economic diversity that has propelled US educational institutions to excellence and made them aspirational worldwide.

    This new policy for F-1 visa holders and applicants is unnecessary, disturbing and harmful. It would have extremely damaging effects on the student bodies of US educational institutions at all levels. It would compromise public health. Furthermore, it would severely damage the US economy and its international reputation.

    We strongly urge you to reverse this policy immediately, before it further harms our critically important international student population, and the educational institutions that are the core of our nation’s society and economy.

    Sincerely,

    Society of Senior Ford Fellows


  • 26 Feb 2020 3:32 PM | Anonymous

    In February 2020, the Society of Senior Ford Fellows sent a letter to Harvard University expressing concern and disappointment over the decision to deny tenure to Dr. Lorgia García Peña.  A copy of the letter is posted below:

    February 26, 2020


    Office of the President

    Harvard University

    Massachusetts Hall

    Cambridge, MA 02138 USA


    Dear President Bacow and Board of Governors:

    The Society of Senior Ford Fellows (SSFF) would like to make known our concern and disappointment over the decision to deny tenure to Dr. Lorgia García Peña. Dr. García Peña is a well-regarded member of our ranks, having been awarded Ford Dissertation and Postdoctoral Fellowships in 2006 and 2015, respectively, for her interdisciplinary work that examines the complexity and importance of Afro-Dominicanidad via musical, literary, political, and historical narratives. We also are deeply concerned about what Harvard’s action

    may imply about the university’s commitment to Ethnic Studies as a discipline and for scholars and students of color, to embracing new disciplines, fostering underrepresented professors and students, or enabling the development of innovative pedagogy. We are concerned that this matter may hamper Harvard’s ability to be fully engaged in efforts to change the academy for the better by making it truly reflective of current scholarship, demographics, or 21st century approaches to teaching. Given this unfortunate situation, we must join with various colleagues in the nation and abroad to ask that Harvard initiate a transparent and ethical release of information outlining the reasons for Dr. García Peña’s tenure denial.

    Dr. García Peña’s scholarship has national and international acclaim. She has been awarded numerous accolades by important scholarly organizations for her publications and was named Harvard’s Professor of the Year in 2015. The following year she received the Roslyn Abramson Award for excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and Graduate Mentoring, and the Harvard Graduating Class of 2017 recognized her as Professor of Year. In addition to her distinction in research and teaching, Dr. García Peña has served on numerous search committees for tenure-track faculty positions and engaged in the hiring process for lecturers in various departments, as well as having been a principal member of the search committee for the 2019-2020 Warren Center Faculty Fellowships. This tenure decision is baffling, given her transformational work in American Studies, Ethnic Studies, and Latinx Studies, along with her prolific and high-quality record of publication and her status as a beloved teacher.

    The SSFF considers Dr. García Peña a vital, important, and venerated member of our community. If the denial of tenure has not been entirely fair, as it appears, then this individual case would be tantamount to an affront against each one of us and puts us on guard. If an exceptional scholar like her can be denied tenure, then it seems that other scholars of color could meet the same fate at Harvard. We call on Harvard to rectify this situation and, in the process, restore our faith in your institution so that when we utter its motto, veritas, we know that indeed the word is made manifest there and in the academy as a whole.

    Sincerely,

    On Behalf of the Society of Senior Ford Fellows Board

    Susan C. Antón, President

    Sca2@nyu.edu


The Society of Senior Ford Fellows is a nonprofit public benefit and charitable organization 501(c)3. EIN 85-1102780.