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Effective Strategies for Recruiting A Diverse Faculty and Academic Staff (Recruiting for Faculty and Academic Staff)

To successfully recruit and hire the perfect job candidate, the process is often ongoing.  It is important to look for every possible opportunity to establish and maintain contact with potential candidates throughout the process.  Best practices are addressed below.  Additional assistance and guidance with the search process can be found within your HR Recruitment and Onboarding or Shared Service Center recruitment coordinator or your senior recruiter within the Department of Human Resources.

Additional Resources for Prospective Faculty/Staff

Please review Prospective Faculty and StaffDiversity, and Other Helpful Information for more insight!


Outreach and Network

  • Establish a standing departmental committee charged with thinking about the department’s strategic plans and directions.
  • Establish communication and build relationships.
    • Aim to provide a constant, steady flow of potential future colleagues.
    • Develop a process for committee members or departmental faculty to make personal contacts with potential candidates at professional meetings and conferences.
    • Talk with female and minority groups during national/regional conferences. Possible meeting times include business meetings, social hours, and informal gatherings of memberships.
    • Encourage women and members of underrepresented groups to identify potential candidates.
    • Write to historically Black, predominantly Latino, and tribal colleges and universities to secure lists of doctoral students graduating in a particular field.
    • Write to potential candidates one year prior to their completion of a PhD or EdD program to inform them of upcoming job openings. Letters should clearly state needs and interests of the program and be followed up by telephone calls.
    • Send small teams of faculty, students and administrators for visits to campuses where potential ethnic minority students/applicants reside.
    • Contact faculty at peer institutions and ask to learn more about minority or female doctoral students at peer institutions that they are impressed with. Follow-up by calling the student’s advisor to see if they agree about the student’s potential.
    • Contact the graduate student, introduce yourself and ask if he/she is willing to maintain contact.
    • Invite them to campus for an informal visit before they are on the job market. Arrange for them to meet with faculty or professionals whose area of expertise is in their area of specialization.

Department faculty should send e-mails back and forth letting him/her know that they appreciated the visit.

  • Communicate the availability of employment benefits that provide support and flexibility for all faculty members such as career support for dual career couples and domestic partners.
  • Communicate the availability of mentorship programs that help junior faculty to prepare for faculty appointments and tenure. Back to Top

 The Search Committee

  • Include individuals with different perspectives, expertise and demonstrated commitment to diversity.
  • Members should agree to participate in the recruitment effort, including personal outreach to candidates.
  • Consider discussing the following questions:
    • What myths and barriers exist in hiring a diverse faculty?
    • What other units have been successful making diverse hires and what strategies can we emulate?
    • How can we use available resources on campus to support the hiring of a diverse faculty?
  • Review past searches. If women or members of underrepresented groups have been hired in recent searches, consider asking the search committees, the department chair, and the faculty hired how they were successfully recruited. Also consider how the careers of the women and underrepresented candidates who were not hired in previous searches have progressed. Back to Top

Position Announcement

  • Consider carefully the language and appearance of ads and announcements.
  • Use proactive language to convey that the University of Kansas values diversity.
  • Information about the makeup of the ethnic student population.
  • Campus and community demographics.
    • Institutional goals that identify commitment to diversity (e.g., The University of Kansas fosters an environment that is welcoming to all faculty, staff and students.)
  • Encourage women and members of underrepresented groups to apply.
  • Use statements that convey an interest in the contributions that ethnic minority candidates can make and the impact their work can have on the overall training and goals of the academic program.
  • You have something important to sell. Focus on both your department’s and university’s strengths.
    • State that the Kansas City metropolitan area and its amenities are within a short traveling distance.
  • Ensure that job qualifications are clear, specific and flexible. Back to Top

Interviews                 

Treat each of the candidates you interview personally.  They should go away feeling good about their experience.

  • Call the candidate, talk with him/her about their upcoming visit and ask if they have questions.
  • Become a voice to them now and a face to them later. They need to sense your sincerity.
  • In your discussions with the candidate, learn about his/her cultural and language background and the correct pronunciation of his/her name.

University of Kansas Provost's Statement on Diversity:

  • Prepare faculty and students to be culturally sensitive.
  • Airport pick-up
    • Pick-up by a shuttle service is cold and impersonal.
    • Pick-up should be done by someone who can answer questions about what Lawrence and the Kansas City area have to offer in terms of amenities. Many candidates will be coming from larger urban areas and are often nervous about the possibility of transitioning to a smaller community.
    • The person picking up the candidate from the airport should be prepared to make the candidate feel comfortable and relaxed. Candidates are often nervous and fatigued when their plane arrives.
  • Hotel accommodations
    • Should provide a quiet, comfortable and clean environment.
    • The hotel staff should be helpful.
    • Wireless internet access is often appreciated.
  • Meals
    • Candidates prefer casual restaurants that are representative of Lawrence and its people over more expensive/ sophisticated places.
    • Check on dietary needs and restrictions if possible before making arrangements.
  • Job Talk/Research Presentation Expectations
    • Communicate expectations about the job talk in advance with the candidate.
      • Common sources of ambiguity for candidates include:
        • Overall length
        • Balance between actual presentation and questions/discussions
    • Inform candidates of the technology resources available for the presentation
    • Provide candidates 30-45 minutes to prepare for the presentation.
    • Schedule the job talk early in the visit, if possible.
  • Good turnout is necessary. It provides reassurance that the faculty care about both the candidate’s research and the selection of their colleagues.
    • Provide challenging but constructive questions and feedback. The department is being evaluated by the candidate and being reputation-conscious is critical.
  • Meetings with the Department Chair.
    • Provide an overview about support for travel, research and teaching on campus.
    • Provide an overview of research and teaching support on campus.
    • Provide an overview of the types of workshops on campus for grants, teaching, research (e.g. CTE and the Hall Center.)
    • Provide an overview of employee benefits that provide support for all, including possible career support for dual career couples and domestic partners.
    • Communicate the availability of mentorship programs that help junior faculty to prepare for faculty appointments and tenure.
  • Meetings with the Faculty.
    • Provide an honest assessment of the professional advantages and disadvantages of coming to KU.
    • Avoid asking trite questions like “why do you want to come here?” or “what brings you to Kansas”. 
      • A better alternative is to ask specific questions about the candidate’s intended contribution to the department. This allows them to confidentially articulate their current and future plans and helps clarify the department’s expectations about the candidate and the search as a whole.
      • Follow-up e-mails are appreciated.
  • Meetings with Graduate Students.
    • Graduate student turnout at the job talk is almost as important as faculty turnout. Potential faculty members want to know they are going into an environment where graduate students will be productive under minimal supervision.
    • Arrange for candidates to meet with the graduate students as a group. Challenging questions about research and teaching are evidence that graduate students are well-prepared and will be good assistants/ seminar participants/ co-authors. However, graduate students should avoid irrelevant questions and to be safe, they should be informed of questions candidates are protected from by law.
    • The department should clearly communicate expectations and traditions surrounding faculty-graduate student interactions. This is especially critical with regard to workload, potential co-authorship, and the sources of graduate student financial support.
  • Potential faculty members want to know they are going into an environment where graduate students will be productive under minimal supervision.
  • Other Interview Considerations.
    • Include a tour of Lawrence, perhaps after breakfast with the candidate. Tailor the tour to the candidate’s interest. For instance, if there are children involved, show some of the schools, the Arts Center, the Indoor Aquatics Center.
    • Get to know each interviewee. They should all go away from their campus interviews feeling good about the experience so that even if they are not offered the position, they can become friends and supporters of KU.
    • Include at least a few minutes of unaccompanied time to walk around campus and/or Lawrence. The campus and community will each “sell itself” if the candidate is given the opportunity to explore.
  • After each interview, send a thank you note to the candidate.
  • After each interview, call the candidate to talk about their visit and ask if they have questions.
  • Call again to let the candidate know where the search stands. If the person is your second choice, let them know and ask if they are willing to wait. Back to Top

Offers

  • After the person is hired, continue communication. Make them feel welcomed.
  • Personally call or email all finalists not selected as soon as the candidate selected has accepted the position offer. Follow-up with a formal letter routed through the Dean’s Office to be attached to the official online offer letter. Back to Top

Transition Issues

  • Offer to connect the person hired to real estate agents.
  • Extend suggestions for everything from vets to dentists to daycare.
  • Help establish email and library on-line access early and before their arrival.
  • Offer to make arrangements to get their computers up and running before their arrival.
  • Check with them about library reserves for their classes when you check with them about book orders.
  • Ensure that they have assistance learning the norms of the office, copies, phone, etc.
  • Department chairs and faculty should provide guidance about
    • priorities of new faculty events;
    • forms of internal financial support for travel, research and teaching on campus;
    • research and teaching support on campus;
    • the types of workshops on campus for grants, teaching, research (e.g. CTE and the Hall Center);
    • Early in the semester, discuss the annual review process. Connect them to examples of what an annual review package looks like.
    • Departmental norms on course rotation and new course creation. Also, some discussion of how much input faculty members have on location, times, days of teaching and the norms of teaching summer school – is it required, how it is compensated, etc. Back to Top

Follow-Up

Learn from your experiences. Assemble a list of do’s and don’ts and share them. Back to Top


 

 


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