Searching for Diverse Candidates

  1. It is important that all search committees make a special effort to seek out candidates from underrepresented backgrounds. Graduate schools with a high proportion of minorities (see list at the end of this section) should be contacted and followed up via personal calls whenever possible. The Office of Academic Affairs can provide search chairs with a list of Department Chair names from the list at the end of the section. Faculty should develop and use personal contacts and networks to identify prospective candidates. 

  2. All members of the search committee should read Myra Gordon, “Diversification of the Faculty: Frank Talk from the Faculty about What Works,” in What Makes Racial Diversity Work in Higher Education: Academic Leaders Present Success Policies and Strategies, and “How to Hire For Diversity” (Chronicle of Higher Education, Sept. 16, 2016).  Both are available in the Office of Academic Affairs. 

  3. Led by the chair, the search committee should discuss and remain alert to implicit biases and discomfort with difference that often affects the search process for women and minority candidates. Begin with open dialogue so that all members will scrutinize their own biases/prejudices/lack of knowledge/lack of understanding/inexperience with addressing these challenges.

  4. Go beyond sending the ad to HBCUs and other institutions serving underrepresented groups.  Myra Gordon suggests that search committees "really search."  The search committee "must (1) review the Chronicle of Higher Education and relevant Websites to find scholars with prestigious fellowships; (2) see who is presenting at conferences and approach them; (3) identify the top degree producers for minorities in their particular discipline and then go directly after their graduates; (4) attend the regional conferences for the Compact for Faculty Diversity; and (5) contact special professional caucuses or interest groups for referrals" (p. 191).

  5. One of the best proactive strategies involves going to national conferences with the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. 

  6. Offer suggestions for special ads to the Office of Academic Affairs, which has data in reference to which sites applicants visited to view the position announcements. 

  7. Where necessary, reach out to other departments and divisions, and even alumni or faculty at other institutions.