CAA Diversity and Inclusion: Best Practices in Faculty Hiring
Adopted by the CAA Board of Directors on February 19, 2023.
CAA has formulated these guidelines to promote inclusive hiring practices and the development of a diverse faculty. They are intended to supplement rather than supplant legal guidelines for academic hiring. Institutions and their representatives should familiarize themselves with federal guidelines regarding inclusive hiring and laws against discriminatory practices during the search process. Those involved in the hiring process should especially review resources that detail the sorts of questions that they are prohibited by law from asking applicants and develop alternative questions for obtaining essential insights about a candidate’s qualifications. Information is available from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. These guidelines should also be considered in conjunction with other CAA Standards and Guidelines, CAA Guidelines for CAA Interviews, and the Mission, Vision, and Values Statement.
I. Prior to the Search
- The search for diverse faculty candidates should start long before positions become available. It is vital to create pipelines of underrepresented candidates at multiple levels to generate pools of diverse candidates for faculty positions.
- Many institutions have some kind of diversity, equity, and inclusion administrative department, and the senior administration and/or hiring committee should consult their institution’s equivalent from the very beginning of the search process to ask for advice and make use of their expertise.
- Institutions should develop and make available materials designed to promote the hiring of diverse faculty candidates. These may include a hiring manual that addresses diversity and inclusion and a workshop or analogous training module addressing the value of and challenges to diversity and inclusion in faculty hiring, including the impact of implicit/unconscious bias. Ideally, trained and qualified campus representatives would facilitate any workshop or training module on these topics. Alternatively, the institution might outsource the facilitation of workshops and training modules if trained and qualified facilitators are not available on campus.
- The results of searches should be regularly reviewed at the institutional and departmental level to identify problematic and promising models for developing diverse candidate pools and for hiring faculty from underrepresented groups. Therefore, institutions should develop mechanisms for gathering relevant data about applicants and provide applicants with options to report on gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race, and disability such that this information can be collected and analyzed. Institutions should also develop mechanisms to collect quantitative and qualitative data from candidates who turn down offers of employment or who are hired but leave the institution.
- Institutions and hiring departments should identify diverse faculty contacts across campus who can confidentially answer candidates’ questions about the institution and living in the area. These contacts should be instructed not to communicate their conversations with candidates to anyone from the search committee, the department, or the institution at large.
- Institutions should create policies that facilitate cluster and/or multiple hires as a means of creating a support network for underrepresented faculty and avoiding the reliance on a single or a few faculty members to be representative of diversity in the department or on the campus.
- The department, school, or institution should develop a list of resources, both on campus and in the city/region, for underrepresented faculty to provide a welcoming environment and ease new faculty transition.
II. Committee Composition and Preparation
- The search committee should be composed of faculty members representing perspectives arising out of different specializations and/or disciplines, identities, abilities, and life experiences, and who demonstrate a strong commitment to issues of diversity. If necessary, search committees should consider including one or more faculty members from outside the department or discipline to provide broader representation and to increase the diversity of faculty perspectives. If, inan effort to ensure diverse search committees, particular faculty members are asked to serve on these committees very frequently, then the department as well as the broader institution should relieve their service load in another area.
- In addition to drawing from relevant materials made available by the institution (such as a hiring manual that addresses diversity and inclusion), the department should write and regularly revise a statement or guidelines on diversity and inclusion that is shared with the search committee. This statement would explain the commitment to diversity on behalf of the department, school, and institution. This document should reiterate the sorts of questions and talking points that are appropriate and desirable to raise with candidates and those that are inappropriate and/or prohibited by law, including sample lists of each.
- In addition to familiarizing themselves with the departmental statement on diversity and inclusion, all search committee members should be required to participate in a training session on the value of and challenges to diversity and inclusion in faculty hiring, including the impact of implicit/unconscious bias. If the committee is unable to access materials developed by their institution, they should review analogous materials developed for a peer institution.
- Search committees should be as transparent as possible with all candidates during the search process. The strengths and challenges of the particular department, school, campus, and community should be communicated so that candidates from diverse backgrounds will know what to expect at each step of the search and hiring processes, can make informed decisions, and will be prepared as much as possible to situate themselves in their new institution and broader communities.
III. Defining Search Criteria and Advertising the Position
- Search Criteria
- The job description should define the position as broadly as possible to avoid imposing unnecessary limits on the pool of applicants. Note that an exclusive focus on specific subfields may unintentionally exclude underrepresented candidates, due to the composition of candidate pools within those subfields or the fact that underrepresented candidates may work at the intersections of fields or disciplines.
- The job description should make explicit any search criteria that will be used to evaluate candidates, distinguishing between required and desirable qualifications. It should include criteria such as the ability to bring intellectual diversity to the department and avoid criteria (such as an uninterrupted career trajectory) that may filter out candidates with nontraditional career patterns.
- The search committee should use the job description to develop criteria for a rubric to be used by the committee and others involved in the search process to evaluate all the candidates objectively.
- When relevant, the job description should highlight when a faculty position is part of a cluster hire and/or is open to the possibility of partner/dual hires.
- The job description should include a proactive statement of the institution and/or department’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
- If the job description requires a diversity statement, it should clearly articulate the expectations for this statement including the applicant’s philosophy about diversity, inclusion, and equity in the classroom and specific examples of how the applicant has and will put the philosophy into practice.
- Advertising the Position
- Creating a large pool of qualified candidates is the single most crucial step in conducting a successful inclusive search. The announcement of the position’s availability should be made to any and all sites and institutions that have a history of working with and helping to produce diverse scholars in the desired field(s).
- The job posting should be advertised and announced so as to reach a diverse set of candidates, including in internationally circulated forums. In addition to advertising with professional organizations such as CAA, the committee should actively work to recruit a diverse set of candidates by the following means:
- Notifying colleagues and/or departments at other institutions, especially those that have been particularly successful in producing potential applicants from underrepresented groups. While diversity and inclusion should not be limited to questions of racial or ethnic identity, consider contacting relevant PhD programs at institutions in the United States among, for example, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), or other institutions dedicated to serving underrepresented groups.
- Contacting interdisciplinary departments who have been historically engaged with issues of diversity (for example, Africana Studies, Ethnic Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies); though not directly focused on the study of art and design, their Ph D programs may produce potential applicants with the necessary expertise.
- Notifying professional officers, committees, and/or associations engaged with diverse groups or topics. Consider, for example, contacting relevant committees and associations within or affiliated with CAA: Committee on Diversity Practices, Committee on Women in the Arts, International Committee, and Affiliated Societies.
- Contacting potential applicants identified via free or subscription-based directories, databases, or lists of recipients of fellowships focused on underrepresented groups.1
- Advertising the job posting via additional electronic job-posting services, websites, listservs, and journals that are targeted at diverse groups.2
IV. Candidate Selection Process and Campus Visits
- The search committee chair or the committee together should develop a rubric, with criteria based on the job description, to be used to objectively evaluate candidates at various stages of the selection process. This rubric should be shared with all those who will be responsible for evaluating candidates.
- In the interview, the search committee should ask the candidate to elaborate on their diversity statement in relation to their research, teaching, and service and how they will teach to diverse student populations.
- All candidates should be directly informed that they can ask for accommodations during any part of the interview process, including, but not limited to campus visits. Search committees should not make assumptions about which candidates may require accommodations or what kind they might need, and they should take care to use the same language with all the candidates when offering accommodations. Accommodations might include but should not be limited to closed captioning in preliminary virtual interviews, providing candidates with interview questions prior to the virtual or in-person interview, pumping/nursing breaks (consider providing rest breaks throughout the visit for all candidates), providing transportation alternatives to walking or stairs, the availability and identification of gender-neutral bathrooms, and making available a variety of seating options, including armless chairs.
- Candidates are more likely to perform better and accept positions in departments and universities where they feel comfortable and share intellectual and social interests. Given that it is impossible for one search committee or one department to reflect the full diversity of identity and intellectual perspectives on campus, search committees should work to make available opportunities, whether individual meetings or social events, for candidates to meet with a broader range of faculty, including faculty from other departments and relevant campus groups. In general, the search committee should work to ensure that all candidates feel welcome and supported on campus and do not feel isolated as a member of a traditionally underrepresented demographic.
- Search committees should provide all candidates with an informational packet developed by the hiring department or institution at large, highlighting campus and community resources of interest to a broad range of traditionally underrepresented demographics, affinity groups, and diverse intellectual, professional, and cultural interests. This allows candidates to learn about how the community might meet their needs without discussing their personal lives with the committee.
- The committee should be as transparent as possible with each candidate about the timeline of the search and the future stages of the process.
- Short-listed candidates who were invited for a campus visit but who were not ultimately selected as the finalist and were not made a job offer should not be informed that the position has been filled until the finalist has officially accepted the position.
- Once the offer has been accepted, the search committee chair should send an email or mail a letter that informs all applicants and candidates that the position has been filled.
- Negotiations with the finalist should be open and honest. During the interview stage, transparency is imperative to inclusive hiring and retaining diverse faculty. During this process stage, the department chair or relevant dean should share with the finalist the pay range for the position and a list of negotiable points in the offer and contract. The dean should name specifically these negotiable elements of the package, including salary, teaching load, research, IT, and moving costs, health care start date, conference travel, and visa sponsorship. The chair or dean should not assume the candidate has experience or has received mentoring about how to negotiate and instead explicitly invite the finalist to advocate for themselves on negotiable items.
- Policies for tenure and promotion should be clearly articulated in person by the department chair or dean at the point of hire and easy to locate on the department/college/university website for later reference. A list of critical dates regarding evaluation and promotion should be made easily accessible to newly hired faculty.
Authors and Contributors
These Best Practices were developed and written by members of the Committee on Diversity Practices (CDP) and the Student and Emerging Professionals Committee (SEPC).
CDP Contributors: Stefanie Snider, Gillian Sneed, Rachel de Cuba
SEPC Contributors: Julian Adoff, Tirumular [Drew] Narayanan, and Ehryn Torrell.
1 Examples of these fellowships in the United States include the Ford Foundation Fellowship Program, the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) Program, the University of California’s President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, The National Registry of Diverse & Strategic Faculty (The REGISTRY), the Big Ten Academic Alliance Directory, or MinorityPostdoc.org’s Diverse Scholar Doctoral Directory. The Consortium for Faculty Diversity at Liberal Arts Colleges (CFD), and Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) Programs at a variety of institutions, such as the University of Missouri’s Preparing Future Faculty Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity or the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Future Faculty Career Exploration Program, can serve as similar resources.
2 Examples of relevant sites broadly focused on hiring diverse candidates include the Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC), IMDiversity.com, and Nemnet.