Best Practice Initiatives
The Commission identified several national best practices and recommends that the university adopt these strategies consistently across the institution.
Adopt and implement best practices for hiring faculty from diverse groups.
- Train search advocates and search committees. Institute training for search advocates and search committees in fair, lawful, and inclusive practices, so that search processes are appropriate and minimize intended or unintended bias. Include training on application review and interviewing practices, among other areas.
- Require search advocates in all faculty searches. Place a trained search advocate on each search committee, with the role of guiding the committee in drafting inclusive job ads, preparing appropriate interview questions, and helping candidates find the information they need.
- Fund existing faculty to attend professional conferences to recruit URM candidates. Provide funding for faculty to attend conferences that highlight individuals from underrepresented groups and to recruit candidates to apply for relevant positions.
- Require diverse candidate pools. Institute screening practices for job ads and position descriptions that interrupt or reduce bias. This includes advertising in venues that will attract diverse pools, and pre-screening candidate pools for diversity. Establish institution-wide requirements for candidate pool diversity.
Create programming to promote the development and retention of faculty of all backgrounds.
- Create a university-wide mentoring strategy that will provide community and support for all faculty to engage fully with the university, with focus on faculty from underrepresented groups. Standardize mentoring practices across university units, using strategies geared specifically toward URM faculty. Recommended approaches include but are not limited to recruitment or assignment of multiple mentors (each playing different roles for the faculty mentee), initiating mentoring during the on-boarding process, emphasizing open communication and providing consistent advice—especially on university policies regarding annual evaluations and promotions. Mentors should go through a training process to ensure that techniques are broadly shared.
- Provide a leadership forum for chairs, deans, and center directors that includes training on best practices in diversity and inclusion. Critical decisions about faculty retention are made by chairs and deans, with center directors playing powerful roles as well. We recommend they receive training in leadership, best practices in hiring, and ethical conduct. The recommendation is to provide two workshops per semester, with expert presentations, case studies, role-play, and/or other active teaching and learning approaches. This will maximize the ability of campus leaders to provide empathetic support, candid feedback, as well as fair and more transparent assessment of their faculty at appropriate times during faculty tenures on our campuses.
Create a university-wide steering committee, reporting to the Provost or President, with authority and resources to carry out these recommendations and sustain the institution’s focus on diversity and inclusion.
- Establish a steering committee. Establish a standing committee to be charged with advising on implementation of the Commission’s recommendations, sustaining the university’s focus on diversity and inclusion, with an explicit accountability structure and annual reporting to the Administrative Council.
- Require broad membership on the committee. Draw faculty in every College, from the Offices of Faculty Affairs, Institutional Effectiveness, and International Initiatives, and from the Senate Cultural Diversity Committee and Faculty Affairs Committee. Ensure invested membership on the committee by individuals from all backgrounds.
- Hire a dedicated staff coordinator. Hire a full-time, dedicated staff coordinator to manage the steering committee’s projects and liaise with the campus community.