It Starts with the Search

Fostering Inclusive Excellence in Faculty Searches: Strategies for Cultivating an Equitable Search Process

Building a diverse and inclusive academic community is essential for fostering innovation, creativity, and excellence. One key aspect of achieving this goal is ensuring that we conduct faculty searches as CSU in a manner that promotes equity and inclusivity. Below, we outline key strategies to create inclusive recruitment practices that can promote excellence at CSU.

  1. Understanding Implicit Bias: Implicit bias can impact decision-making in faculty searches. Empowering search committees to recognize and address biases involves taking active steps such as: completing Faculty Search Training, consulting resources like the faculty recruitment toolkit, fostering discussions on bias in charge and search committee meetings, and urging committee members to undergo the Uncovering Bias Training hosted by the Office of Inclusive Excellence. This approach heightens awareness of the influence of stereotypes on evaluations and fosters fair, objective assessments. 
  2. Constructing Diverse Search Committees: Creating diverse search committees is a crucial step in ensuring a broad perspective in the evaluation process. Committees with members from various backgrounds bring different experiences and insights, contributing to a more inclusive search process. 
  3. Articulating Transparent Criteria and Expectations: Clearly defining the criteria for the position and communicating expectations to both applicants and committee members is essential. This transparency helps eliminate ambiguity and ensures that all candidates are evaluated based on the same set of standards.
  4. Actively Engaging in Outreach and Recruitment: Institutions should actively engage in outreach to attract a diverse pool of candidates. Collaborating with organizations that focus on underrepresented groups, attending conferences, and utilizing diverse networks can help expand the reach of recruitment efforts. For example, search committees could establish connections with minority serving institutions. This handout from the University of Michigan highlights the effort that a truly active search requires, and information from CSU highlights different resources to support the faculty search and recruitment process, including a recruitment plan that searches can use to guide their efforts.  
  5. Crafting Inclusive Job Descriptions: Crafting job descriptions that use inclusive language and highlight the institution’s commitment to diversity can attract a wider range of applicants. Avoiding gendered language and emphasizing the value of diverse perspectives can make the position more appealing to underrepresented groups. 
  6. Engaging in Holistic Candidate Evaluation: Encourage a holistic evaluation of candidates that goes beyond academic achievements. Consider a candidate’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as their contributions to community engagement, mentorship, and service. 
  7. Creating an Inclusive Interview Experience: Prioritizing an inclusive interview experience is essential in a comprehensive faculty search. Utilizing structured interviews and diversity training ensures fairness, while creating a culturally competent environment accommodates diverse needs. Diverse panel interviews and inclusive social events contribute to equity and a welcoming atmosphere. Thoughtful and timely communication enhances candidates’ preparation and confidence, underscoring the values of the academic community. Effective communication throughout the search process is key to leaving a positive impression of the department, college, and institution. 
  8. Eliminating Unconscious Barriers: Identify and eliminate any unconscious barriers in the application and evaluation process. This may include reevaluating the necessity of certain requirements that may disproportionately disadvantage specific groups.

Creating equitable and inclusive faculty searches is an ongoing commitment that requires collaboration, awareness, and proactive efforts. By implementing these strategies, departments can contribute to building a diverse academic community that reflects the diversity of perspectives in our global society. Embracing diversity not only enriches the learning environment but also positions institutions at the forefront of innovation and progress.

Author Information: This blog post was written by Crystal Smith (she/her). Crystal is the Coordinator for Faculty Recruitment in Human Resources and Talent Acquisition at CSU. She is also a member of the Faculty Success team.