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Recruitment and Diversity

Recruitment diversity toolkit (Case Western)


[pdf] Collated from http://wiseli.engr.wisc.edu/initiatives/hiring/SearchBook.pdf

How to build a diverse pool of candidates

1. Develop a broad definition of the position and the desired scholarship, experience, and disciplinary background. Narrowly defined searches may tend to exclude women or minorities because of pipeline issues. Narrowly defined searches may limit your ability to consider candidates with a different profile who, nonetheless, qualify for your position. Be clear about what is really "required" and what is "preferred." If appropriate, use "preferred" instead of "required," "should" instead of "must," etc. when describing qualifications and developing criteria.

2. Make calls and send e-mails or letters to a wide range of contacts asking for potential candidates. Ask specifically if they have diverse candidates to recommend (ask EVERY committee member to do this).

3. Make an effort to identify contacts who have diverse backgrounds or experiences. Such contacts may help you reach highly qualified minority/women candidates.

4. Make lists of professional meetings, professional societies, members of these societies, etc. and use them to recruit candidates.

5. Call potential candidates directly to encourage them to apply.

6. Remember to actively involve your search committee members and delegate specific tasks to them. For example, ask each member of your search committee to call ten colleagues and ask them to recommend potential candidates.

7. Above all, remember that at this point your goal is to EXPAND your pool of potential candidates. Sifting and winnowing will occur later in the process.

8. Post your advertisement in places where women will see it.

Contact the professional societies in your field and/or any women/minority committees of these societies.

For example: AWIS—American Women in Science has magazine and online job listings. See www.awis.org/jobbank.cfm for pricing.

Also maintains a searchable registry of women scientists: AWIS membership directory.


1. Encourage faculty and staff who will be attending conferences or giving talks to combine their visits with recruitment efforts for present and future positions. They can provide institutions and potential candidates with general information about the MRC. They should be encouraged to solicit curricula vitae from promising candidates.

2. Establish a working relationship with departments and units at institutions with substantial numbers of women and minorities. This will allow a host of mutually beneficial activities to be undertaken, such as a sharing of research facilities and exchanges of faculty and staff.

Delivering a paper, or simply making an informal visit will allow the staff to discuss job openings with others at these institutions.

3. Request names of potential candidates from women and minorities at institutions with strong graduate programs in their discipline. These names can be put into a data bank along with the names of candidates from previous searches who either did not accept an offer or who now may qualify for a position. The data bank should be continuously updated with new names provided by women, minorities, students, and alumni.

4. Request women and minority caucuses within relevant professional and academic associations for the names of potential candidates, and maintain ongoing communication with these caucuses on other issues.

5. Keep national higher education associations informed of present and possible future positions. A number of such associations contain special interest groups (e.g., the

American Educational Research Association has Hispanic and Black caucuses).

6. Maintain ongoing contact with professional organizations, associations, and agencies that have a job referral service.

7. Consider hiring recent women and minority graduates from your own department. This activity begins with recruiting and retaining outstanding women and minority doctoral students.

8. Maintain close contact with women and minority graduates and encourage them to recommend this university to their students for both graduate training and for faculty positions.

9. Contact women and minorities who have received significant grants or professional recognition, and ask for the names of promising women and minority scholars.

10. Use a personal approach in recruiting candidates. Often, outstanding potential candidates do not apply for advertised positions, but might be responsive to individual contacts.

If an individual declines a nomination or does not respond to your letter of inquiry, you may wish to telephone the person to determine if his or her reasons for declining can be addressed and resolved.

11. Invite women and minority scholars from other institutions to participate in department-sponsored symposia and visiting professorships. A one-year visiting professorship to replace a faculty member who is on leave will not only assist a department in meeting its responsibilities but will also strengthen the link between the unit and a similar department at another institution.

12. Inform alumni publications at universities where women and minorities are well represented of available positions.

Some examples of data on what works (from National Academy of Sciences 2007 Report).

Just saying 'women encouraged to apply' doesn't work

In one example, the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) examined department-level data on hiring and recruitment. Departments that were successful in recruiting women did not assume that women feel sufficiently confident or included to send in an application. Merely taking such steps as designating an affirmative action officer to serve on the search committee or stating in the job announcement that women and minority group members are encouraged to apply correlated with hiring below the level of the applicant pool. However, departments that hired at or above the level of women in the applicant pool used specific strategies that included getting input from graduate students, selecting diverse search committees, and establishing relationships with women at professional meetings and inviting them to apply.

Broaden the job description because…

Narrow position specifications also affect the applicant pool and the numbers of women hired. There is mounting evidence that women are choosing to work at the boundaries of disciplines. Among the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) faculty at UCB, 26% of the women and 15% of the men have joint appointments. Women tend to hold joint appointments in business, biology, law, city and regional planning, economics, and environmental science. In one of the newer departments, bioengineering, half of the faculty are women. When the biological sciences were restructured to include broad, multidisciplinary approaches, the proportion of women faculty increased to 50%.