SBS Guidelines for Achieving Diversity in Faculty Recruitment, Hiring & Retention

The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences aims to foster a college culture and climate that is clearly committed to diversity, equity, and inclusive excellence. Faculty recruitment, hiring, and retention are especially critical in our vision to foster a college environment that positively affirms the contributions of multiple perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences.

Although SBS is one of the more diverse colleges at UMass Amherst with regards to tenure track faculty, we are committed to improving as much as possible every year. We are well aware of the inequities and complexity of the “academic pipeline” and the impact this has on departmental culture, curricula, student body, and scholarly production. In light of our mission to be more consistent in our efforts to hire new faculty from a broadly diverse and highly qualified pool, below are a set of hiring guidelines aimed to help achieve our vision for inclusive excellence.

SBS Search Guidelines

1. Job Description/Language of the Advertisement

As of right now, job ads should include the following paragraph as noted in the Provost Tenure Stream guidelines (fall 2014):

The University seeks to increase the diversity of its professoriate, workforce and undergraduate and graduate student populations because broad diversity is critical to achieving the University's mission of excellence in education, research, educational access and service in an increasingly diverse globalized society. Therefore, in holistically assessing many qualifications of each applicant of any race or gender we would factor favorably an individual’s record of conduct that includes students and colleagues with broadly diverse perspectives, experiences and backgrounds in educational, research or other work activities. Among other qualifications, we would also factor favorably experience overcoming or helping others overcome barriers to an academic career or degree.

Additionally, every effort should be made to ensure that faculty job ads go beyond the minimal “affirmative action” EO&D statement, and are framed in manner that encourages a strong and diverse pool of candidates to apply. Diversity Officers at UCLA, Minnesota, and Virginia agree that more inclusive statements actually increase the overall quality and diversity of the pool, and attract individuals from a variety of backgrounds that cut across race, ethnicity, gender, sexualities, and class.

For instance, advertisements can include the following to expand the inclusive language of advertisements:

  1. “The Department is committed to increasing the diversity of the faculty, student body, and curriculum.”
  2. “The Department is interested in candidates who have demonstrated ability to work with diverse populations.” 
  3. “The Department values diversity as a factor in academic excellence.”
  4.  “Positive consideration will be given to candidates with research agendas that enhance understanding of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality.”
  5.  “The Department values candidates who have experience working in settings with students from diverse backgrounds, and possess a strong commitment to improving access to higher education for historically underrepresented students."

Here are additional statements that may be helpful:

  1. "The Department values candidates who have demonstrated ability to contribute to the inclusive excellence and diversity mission of the department, college, and university.”
  2. “The Department is interested in candidates who have demonstrated a commitment to promoting diversity, inclusion, and an openness to multicultural educational environments.”
  3. “Positive consideration is given to candidates with a teaching, research and/or service record that encourages diversity of backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives of students.”
  4. “A record of inclusive excellence and serving diverse populations in teaching, research and/or service is preferred.”
  5. “A record demonstrating the pursuit of diversity and inclusive excellence is preferred.”
  6. “A record of building diverse and effective collaborations in research, teaching and/service is positively considered.”

2. Recruitment & Advertising Plan

Developing a proactive plan (rather than having a “plan-as-you-go” approach) will yield better results and help accomplish a stronger and deeper connection between academic excellence, quality candidates, and diversity. Towards this effort, the search committee should develop a recruitment and advertising plan (not merely a list of where the ad will be posted) that demonstrates a proactive search and recruitment strategies. Recruiting from peer-institutions or high producers of African-American, Native American and Latina/o PhDs is especially important. If the area of study is underrepresented from individuals under EO&D categories, then the plan should demonstrate how the candidate pool will be broadened to represent the widest possible inclusion. The final ad for the faculty position must also be readily accessible on the department’s website. These links will be gathered on one page for the college, which will then be linked to the Provost’s Office website. 

In addition to referring to the Provost TT search guidelines memo, updated September 2014, search committees should also consider contacting potential candidates and/or senior scholars who are mentoring students of color/women through the Ford Foundation Fellowship Social Sciences Database. Search committee chairs can also submit the final faculty position to the National Registry for Diverse and Strategic Faculty via the DDA.

3. EO&D Training Before Reviewing Candidate Files

All search committee members and department chairs should participate in the college-wide (1 hour) search process meeting (it will be held Wednesday Sept. 16, 2015, 12:15- 1:15 - lunch included. The meeting will take place in September, and the search protocols for both SBS and the Provost Office will be reviewed, discussed and clarified. The college-wide meeting will also be an opportunity to have a clear understanding of our institutional mission and goals. All members must:

  1. Develop awareness as a college about the academic year’s faculty searches
  2. Briefly review research on faculty diversity (broadly defined).

Search committees will also have the opportunity to meet separately with EO&D after the college-wide meeting in order to focus on your department’s specific needs and questions. At this point, committees will receive their search charge. The DDA will also provide additional support for first-time search committee chairs, or search committee chairs requesting such support.

4. Search Files & Campus Visits for Finalist Candidates

The review process of the search file and list of finalist candidates will proceed as noted in Vice Provost Martin’s “Guidelines for Faculty Searches,” however, the Director of Diversity Advancement will also review the documents along with the SBS Dean.

Achieving diversity and excellence are not mutually exclusive (i.e., “we want a diverse candidate pool but we also want highly qualified candidates”), therefore the additional review by the DDA will help ensure that a search committee’s process for diverse representation is accounted for in the search file and short list. The aim is also to help minimize delays, especially since materials will be closely reviewed and monitored by Vice Provost Martin and EO&D.

5. Assessment & Evaluation of the Search Process

In order to continue improving our efforts toward inclusive excellence, equity and diversity in the process of new faculty recruitment and hiring, the Director of Diversity Advancement will meet individually with search committee chairs before and after the search process in order to review what worked, what didn’t, and suggestions for improving the search guidelines.

The DDA will monitor the success of each department’s recruitment and hiring with regards to whether they matched or exceeded the department’s diverse representation of faculty.