The Equity Advisor may serve on the search committee or may be an advisor to the search committee. If the Equity Advisor is not a member of the search committee, one member must serve as the liaison to the Equity Advisor. The liaison will play the active role in the search, and consult with the Equity Advisor as needed, but the Equity Advisor will review and approve the Search Plan, applicant pool, short list and Search Report.
- Prior to approving the Search Plan, consult with the chair or dean of the department or school to ensure that each search committee is diverse and/or has members who will be proactive in seeking a diverse applicant pool;
- Meet with the search committee at least once to discuss proactive search procedures and applicable affirmative action and labor laws;
- Discuss research on selection bias with the search committee;
- Provide advice as needed to ensure the search ad is posted in multiple venues that attract a diverse pool of applicants, and that extensive personal outreach is conducted to encourage specific women and underrepresented minorities to apply;
- Provide advice as needed to the chair/dean and to the search committee to ensure that contributions to diversity are being considered and that proactive search practices are used for recruiting and selecting new faculty;
- Review the diversity of the availability pool and the applicant pool. If the diversity of the applicant pool does not reasonably reflect the diversity of the availability pool, suggest proactive measures to enhance the diversity of the applicant pool. The search can be extended if needed. Approve the applicant pool if the diversity is satisfactory.
- Review the short list of candidates selected for interviews. If this group is not diverse, review the files of other applicants (particularly those under serious consideration) to determine if candidates of equivalent quality have been overlooked. Approve the short list if appropriate. It is critical to review the short list as quickly as possible because search committees must move quickly to invite candidates for campus visits.
- Sign off on the Search Report if you feel that a fair and equitable search was conducted.
Be aware of the kinds of reasons sometimes related to a lack of women or URM adequate representation on the short list:
- The short list of all men is stated as a random anomaly, when the recent track record of hiring (last five or more hires) shows that only men have been hired.
- The female or URM candidates are evaluated as slightly outside the search area as compared to the men, after specifying a narrow search area.
- There is a lack of effort in identifying and encouraging specific women or URMs to apply.
- Only candidates from a small number of institutions (e.g., top 10, top 20) are really under consideration.
- Only a quick assessment of standout features in the application is made, rather than careful evaluation.
- The assessment of candidates relies on a “holistic” assessment rather than an objective evaluation based on a set of agreed upon criteria (e.g., he’s obviously a rising star).
- Competitive women and URM candidates are lost to other institutions because the unit moved too slowly.
- To account for a lack of diversity in the applicant pool, a claim is made that the benchmark availability statistics are wrong (they overstate the actual availability), or that the women who did apply are particularly strong (but then not selecting any for the shortlist).
- Giving a higher rank to candidates in traditional subfields, and then ranking women or URMs who straddle more than one subfield lower.
- Looking to simply replace a retiring faculty member in a traditional area rather than considering expansion into new research areas.
- Inequitable concerns over the possibility of spousal/partner issues for women candidates.