Paper No. 12
Presentation Time: 4:00 PM


OCONNELL, Suzanne, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Wesleyan University, 265 Church Street, Middletown, CT 06459 and HOLMES, Mary Anne, Geosciences, Univ of Nebraska-Lincoln, 214 Bessey Hall, Lincoln, NE 68588-0340,

Recruiting and retaining a diverse faculty doesn’t happen by accident, but can be accomplished if it is a departmental goal. Search Committee members need to be aware of practices than can enhance a diverse applicant pool and they have to actively recruit. In fact, recruiting should begin long before the formal search, e.g. by identifying and establishing a relationship with diverse candidates in doctoral and post-doctoral programs. The advertisement should be gender neutral. Words such as competitive, leader and superior suggest male stereotypes, while words such as sympathetic, support and interpersonal suggest female. Faculty involved in the search need to become aware of their own implicit associations (unconscious assumptions) and the impact of stereotype threat on the candidates. These associations/stereotypes can be ameliorated by: a) Devoting more time to application evaluation. People, when pressed for time, are more likely to rely on indicators of excellence that are not well thought out, b) Establishing clear evaluation criteria early in the process, c) Finding creative approaches to attracting diverse applicants and d) Bringing more than one candidate from a diverse group to campus.

As soon as top candidates are identified, a separate committee, outside the department and not associated with the hiring, should contact candidates to identify spousal/partner employment needs. This group can begin to work with the candidates, so that when one of them is selected, the mechanisms to create employment opportunities for their spouse/partner are in place. Appropriate, welcoming behavior and procedures should be defined by the faculty before the campus visit. Interviewers should be aware of illegal questions and faculty who do not participate in the interview process, should not vote on the candidates.

When the offer is extended, every effort needs to be made to hire the recruit, balancing professional and family-life needs. Professional opportunities can include research and conference funds, assistance with developing a writing practice, assistance with grant-writing and funding agency connections. Family-life opportunities are both tangible, such as stop the tenure clock, access to lactation rooms, and intangible, such as departmental attitudes that support both work and non-work faculty lives.