Winter 2018 Newsletter
Provost's Diversity & Inclusion Hiring Initiative Launched Fall 2017
In collaboration with President Randhawa and the Equal Opportunity Office, in Fall 2017 the Provost launched the Provost’s Diversity & Inclusion Hiring Initiative (“Provost’s Hiring Initiative”). During the 2017-2018 academic year, the Provost’s Hiring Initiative applies to eight centrally funded tenure-track positions being searched for by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (Psychology), Huxley College of the Environment (Environmental Sciences & Environmental Studies), and the College of Science and Engineering (Biology, Chemistry, Engineering & Design, Physics & Astronomy).
The Provost’s Hiring Initiative is intended to promote student success by ensuring that the new faculty hired in these eight positions are highly qualified to cultivate diverse and inclusive classroom and departmental climates. The Provost’s Hiring Initiative recognizes that it is critical to hire, retain, and advance excellent faculty who are committed to effectively educating and mentoring Western’s increasingly diverse student body. It also recognizes that hiring faculty who will positively impact the diversity climate in academic units is imperative to fulfill the university’s commitment to developing the potential of all our students and the well-being of our communities.
Among other elements, searches that are part of the Provost’s Hiring Initiative entail:
- Robust training for search committee chairs and department chairs about the dynamics of unconscious bias, ways to mitigate unconscious bias during the search, and the importance of centering and evaluating equity and inclusion competencies at every stage of the search;
- Job descriptions conveying the expectation that those hired will assist in closing existing gaps in student retention and success by fulfilling teaching and mentoring responsibilities in ways that provide equitable and inclusive learning environments for all students;
- Inclusion of one of three required job qualifications related to candidates’ records of supporting traditionally underrepresented students or commitments to cultivating inclusive learning environments, and a required statement in application materials addressing this qualification.
The Provost’s Hiring Initiative recognizes that the work of furthering diversity and inclusion at the departmental and college level is not the sole responsibility of the new faculty hired into these positions. It therefore provides that under the leadership of the relevant dean, the department and college must support the success of each of these new faculty hires by implementing ways to formally value their efforts related to diversity and inclusion in teaching, service and scholarship. For example, aspects of the job description related to diversity and inclusion could be incorporated into a department’s unit evaluation plan were department faculty to vet, draft language for, and approve such inclusion.
At the conclusion of these searches, an assessment of this “pilot” initiative can inform practices for hiring in the future.