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Faculty Search/Hiring Processes

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University of Denver

Announcement  •
Internal  •

Q: How was faculty senate involved in making changes to the University's hiring practices?

A: In May of 2015, Faculty Senate passed a resolution regarding faculty searches and hiring.  Under the leadership of then faculty President, Art Jones, three areas were addressed within the resolution.  The first was that all within the interview process of all faculty searches, at least one question should be asked of the candidate regarding their “demonstrated accomplishments and experience as they relate to diversity and inclusive excellence.” The second area was within regard to finalist interview pools, stating that these pools “should include at least one candidate who broadens compositional diversity for the hiring discipline involved, in keeping with the best practices and procedure outlined by DU’s Office of Equal opportunity.” The final area included the senate’s advocacy for the “creation of a clear and defined process of training, support, and accountability for deans and faculty search committees to establish the above two steps as legally sound norms for faculty searches at the University of Denver.”

Q: How have our faculty hiring practices changed/been updated to ensure we are hiring more inclusively and diversely?

A: In accordance with the senate resolution, the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, under the guidance of the Director of Diversity Recruiting of Dr. Debbie began offering trainings to faculty search committees.  Debbie in her former role also created an online Canvas course to help faculty search committees consider the how to engage in fair and equitable search and interview practices. These trainings include information on implicit bias and how it can/does often function within the search process. ODEI continues these trainings to this day for a majority of faculty search committees across the university.  In the last year, we have also begun working with senior staff for high-level administrative searches. In addition, our team meets with a majority of faculty candidates while they are on campus to talk about what DU is doing in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion and to provide them with an understanding of the many resources on campus should they take a job at DU.  Lastly, we serve in a consultant role for faculty search committees as they continue through the search process. We work with Human Resources and DU’s recruiting office to provide faculty with information, data, and support throughout the search process.  We are currently working closely with Dr. Kate Willink, the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and her team in the creation of clear faculty search processes, to enable searches to move more seamlessly through the DU frameworks.  These structures are helping to plant the work of ODEI as not only important and critical but also mandatory within the faculty search process. 

Q: What work still needs to be done?

A: Not all faculty search committees reach out to schedule a training, so we are still working toward 100% of faculty search committees being trained.  Additionally, we need to do a better job of linking faculty search processes to faculty professional development and retention.  Though the 2015 senate resolution specifically addressed faculty searches, faculty retention and success should be woven into the same fabric of process, structure, support, and resource.  Our next steps should challenge us to see the role of faculty at DU through a life span model, considering not just what they may bring to DU, but how – through professional development and support – we may provide them with the tools and resources needed to successfully move through ATP and meet their own professional goals.  In particular, DU must think about what it means to create a welcoming and affirming environments for our faculty or color, our women faculty, and our LGBTQIA+ faculty; challenging ourselves to not only consider but implement practices and policies that support faculty as whole persons.   

Q: How can others get involved?

A: Involvement needs to begin at the discipline level, whereby faculty units can and should spend time considering how they may need to shift their specific practices and cultures toward becoming spaces where folks from marginalized backgrounds not only feel welcome but championed and supported.  It also begins with Deans in the careful consideration of workforce diversity across their units.