Support for Faculty Candidates

Demonstrating Interest in and Ability to Advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Thank you for expressing interest in a faculty position at UC Berkeley! As one of the preeminent public institutions in the world we value the advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion as an integral part of faculty research, teaching, and service. The purpose of this information is to prepare you to write an effective statement on contributions to diversity, and to support you in preparing for a campus visit/job interview if invited.

What do we mean by diversity, equity, and inclusion?

Diversity: The variety of personal experiences, values, and worldviews that arise from differences of culture and circumstance. Such differences include race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, language, abilities/disabilities, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, and geographic region, and more (from UC Regents Policy 4400). Many institutions of higher education focus on groups that have traditionally been underrepresented in top tier research institutions, including women and certain minority groups (including African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans).

Equity: As opposed to equality, where everyone receives the same support regardless of circumstance, equity focuses on fair treatment, and access to supports and opportunities necessary for advancement and success. Equity acknowledges structural issues and barriers such as racism, sexism, and homophobia that have prevented the full participation of individuals from marginalized groups.

Inclusion: The proactive effort through personal actions, programs, and policies to ensure that all individuals feel welcome, respected, supported, and valued (see the UC Berkeley Strategic Plan for Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity for more information).

Advancing equity and inclusion is fundamental to our UC Berkeley Principles of Community, which states that “every member of the UC Berkeley community has a role in sustaining a safe, caring and humane environment in which these values can thrive,” and the University of California policy on diversity, which states that, “The University particularly acknowledges the acute need to remove barriers to the recruitment, retention, and advancement of talented students, faculty, and staff from historically excluded populations who are currently underrepresented.”

How do we assess your ability to advance equity and inclusion?

We evaluate faculty candidates in three main areas:

  1. Awareness of and ability to articulate understanding regarding diversity broadly conceived, and historical, social, and economic factors that influence the underrepresentation of particular groups in academia. Life experience may be an important aspect of this understanding.
  2. A track record, calibrated to career stage, of engagement and activity related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Demonstration requires specific details about these activities, including goals, strategies, and outcomes, as well as information about the role played. Strong evidence typically consists of multiple examples of action from undergraduate through current career stage.
  3. Specific, concrete goals, plans, and priorities, calibrated to career stage, for engagement on diversity, equity, and inclusion as a potential faculty member at UC Berkeley. Ideally these plans involve an awareness of current programs and initiatives already taking place on campus.

Many candidates are asked to submit a “Statement on Contributions to Diversity,” either as part of their initial application, or if they are under serious consideration for a position. The purpose of this statement is to showcase your understanding and activities in the three areas described above. A typical strong statement is two to three pages in length, and includes specific, detailed examples and descriptions that demonstrate both understanding and actions. Weaker statements tend to be brief, vague, contain little information about the specific role in an activity, or mostly highlight efforts that are already fundamental to a position.

Example areas of evidence for demonstrating contributions to advancing equity and inclusion

Knowledge and understanding:

  • Knowledge of, experience with, and interest in dimensions of diversity that result from different identities, such as ethnic, socioeconomic, racial, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and cultural differences.

  • Familiarity with demographic data related to diversity in higher education.

  • Comfort discussing diversity-related issues.

  • Understanding of the challenges faced by underrepresented individuals, and the need to identify and eliminate barriers to their full and equitable participation and advancement.

Teaching:

  • Strategies to create inclusive and welcoming teaching environments for all underrepresented students.

  • Using new pedagogies and classroom strategies to advance equity and inclusion.

Research:

  • Inclusive research environments.

  • Mentoring and supporting the advancement and professional development of underrepresented students or postdocs.

  • Research focused on underserved communities.

Service/professional activities:

  • Outreach activities designed to remove barriers and to increase the participation of individuals from underrepresented groups.

  • Participation in workshops and activities that help build multicultural competencies and create inclusive climates.

  • Supporting student organizations that serve underrepresented groups.

  • Participation with professional or scientific associations or meetings that aim to increase diversity or address the needs of underrepresented students, staff, or faculty.

  • Serving on university or college committees related to equity and inclusion.

How to incorporate information about advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion into a campus visit

Some search committees ask candidates to make a formal presentation on diversity, equity, and inclusion as part of their campus visit, either as part of a job talk, teaching presentation, or as a standalone topic. Such a presentation should be prepared with the same level of consideration as a research presentation.

Candidates are often interviewed by a department Equity Advisor where they may be asked to discuss their experiences related to equity and inclusion, and specific ideas for contributing at Berkeley in these areas. In other cases candidates discuss these topics with the search committee, and with current graduate students or postdocs.

All candidates should be prepared to demonstrate their ability to make a positive contribution to the climate at UC Berkeley and to specifically advance equity and inclusion if hired as a faculty member.

Good luck with your candidacy!