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Tenure Track Faculty Searches Report AY 20-21

DEI Development Program for Faculty Searches: AY 20-21

Report prepared by Peony Fhagen, Senior Associate Dean for Equity, Inclusion, & Faculty Development

(Download as a PDF)

  1. Introduction

    The DEI Development Program for Faculty Searches was launched in the fall of 2020 to improve search practices in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This program is designed to encourage and support faculty in using effective practices to diversify the applicant pool, to ensure a fair and inclusive applicant material review process, to promote an equitable interview process, and to increase the likelihood that an excellent candidate who diversifies the faculty is hired. In addition to reviewing and discussing effective search practices that promote DEI, the concept of bias, both implicit and explicit, and how it can negatively impact the search process is discussed. Finally, the connection between DEI and antiracism is emphasized so that faculty have a clear understanding that the work they are doing to improve search practices is in line with our antiracism commitment.

    In section II of this report, I will describe the program in more detail, the departments/programs that participated in the program, and the feedback provided on a post-program survey and during the final session of the program. Using this feedback, I will make suggestions for modifications to the program for AY 21-22.

    In section III of the report, I will provide a summary analysis of data from PeopleAdmin of the tenure-track faculty searches conducted in AY 20-21.

  2. DEI Development Program for Faculty Searches

a. Description

The program is designed to engage all search committee members. The program consists of four steps and each step includes a reading resource and an hour-long PowerPoint presentation that committee members are asked to engage with before each steps session with me. I use a “just-in-time” and “flipped classroom” approach so that each session is an opportunity for search committee members to ask questions about the recommended practices from the readings and recorded presentations. Each step corresponds to each of the four major phases of the faculty search process including 1) developing the position description; 2) reviewing applicant materials; 3) interviewing candidates; and 4) welcoming and retaining new hires. The first three steps occur in the fall semester between September and January. The fourth step occurs in the spring semester, in April or May. The chair of the search committee is responsible for setting up the session meetings with me.

The program is fully accessible through a webpage so that faculty can access readings, recorded presentations, and other resources throughout the year.

b. Participants

There were 9 departments/programs that participated in the program in AY 20- 21 and they include Education, Economics & Business, English, Environmental Science, Human Biology and Kinesiology, Math & Computer Science, Physics, Political Science, and Psychology. One department, Political Science, conducted two tenure-track faculty searches. Thus, there were a total of 10 tenure-track faculty searches. Another department, Math & Computer Science, conducted a search for a faculty member at the level of full professor. The demographic data for that search is not counted in the analysis provided in section 3. In addition, two departments did not complete all steps in the program. Finally, only searches that lead to a hire are included in the analysis provided in section 3.

c. Feedback

Faculty who served on search committees were asked to complete the survey on their own time during the final step 4 session. A Qualtrics link was provided during the step 4 session, on the program’s webpage, and in an email sent to all search committee chairs who were asked to remind their committees to complete the survey. The program survey consisted of 8 open-ended questions:

1. What were the main benefits of the program for you?

2. What do you think about the meeting sessions to discuss the application of DEI strategies to searches?

3. How has the program impacted your engagement with your search committee throughout the search process?

4. How has the program helped you better understand the concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion?

5. What search strategies do you think were the most effective in decreasing bias and increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the search process?

6. From your perspective, how does the program contribute to the antiracism implementation plan?

7. Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience with the DEI Development Program for Faculty Searches?

8. Do you think it is beneficial for faculty to participate in the program each academic year?

Twenty-one faculty provided anonymous feedback. Ninety percent of the faculty surveyed found the program useful; answering each open-ended question with responses that demonstrated the effectiveness of the program in positively supporting committees in the search process. These faculty indicated that there were several benefits to the program including learning how to structure a search, getting to converse with department and program members about the process before beginning the review of the applicant materials, identifying a better process for establishing the shortlist of candidates, getting everyone on the same page about the process, becoming more comfortable discussing racism and biases, using the “just in time” approach, increasing coordination and organization of the search, and increasing focus on core attributes of each position/candidate that matters.

In terms of the meeting sessions for each step, these faculty also indicated that they appreciated the opportunity to discuss the process and strategies with someone outside of the search committee. Some faculty identified ways they saw the program impacting interactions between committee members including interactions around DEI being more guided and open, and committee members feeling more comfortable holding each other accountable for using strategies that decrease bias and increase diversity, equity, and inclusion. One faculty member stated that “it is beneficial for the entire committee to come together, with Dean Fhagen, to discuss these issues. It allows everyone on the committee to voice their opinions and concerns, if any, and to be included in the entire process”.

Faculty highlighted a variety of the strategies as being most helpful including the following:

  • Setting criteria for reviewing applicant materials before creating rubrics

  • Developing and using rubrics

  • Creating and using ground rules for search committees

  • Understanding the impact of the job description

  • Talking with each other about past searches and their problematic strategies in relation to bias

  • Learning about bias and racism before reading applicant materials

Regarding the information presented about the concepts of bias, antiracism, and DEI, faculty found it helpful to discuss them as they relate to faculty searches, and one faculty mentioned that it “made the concepts more concrete”. Another faculty member mentioned becoming more comfortable discussing racism and biases and went on to say that a benefit of the program is that “as white people the more we accept that we all carry some racism around and are able to identify it and call it out, the more we’ll be able to make progress”. One faculty member pointed out that they “have a far better understanding of what do about [bias and DEI] and a far better comfort with speaking out loud about them”.

d. Modifications to the Program

I will be making two modifications to the program based on feedback faculty shared via the survey and during sessions. Some faculty commented that the recorded PowerPoint presentations were too lengthy and repetitive of the information provided in the guidebook. Other faculty thought that four sessions were too many and that maybe some of the sessions could be delivered asynchronously. Based on this feedback, I plan on making the following modifications to the program:

  1. Offer step 1 asynchronously. A step 1 session meeting will be optional to accommodate departments and programs that want to develop and submit their position descriptions before the fall semester begins. This will also decrease the number of session meetings to three which will make the program more manageable. This modification will be in place for AY 21-22

  2. Divide the PowerPoint presentations into several short, recorded presentations to make them more accessible and less time-consuming and to decrease the overlap between the information presented in the guidebook and the presentations. This modification will be in place for AY 22-23.

III. AY 20-21 Faculty searches: Demographic information

In this section of the report, applicant demographic information is provided for the general applicant pools, phone/skype/zoom short interviews, and campus interviews. While campus interviews are usually conducted in-person, they had to be done over zoom due to being remote in the last academic year.

While the analysis provided here is useful; we recognize the importance of developing a report that provides a comparison of demographics over time from year to year. Going forward, this annual report will include percent comparisons with the previous year(s) to track progress, or the lack thereof.

To put the percentages represented in Table 1 in perspective, we should consider the results of NSF’s survey of earned doctorates. In 2019, the total number of doctorate recipients in the United States was 55,703. Of this total .02% were American Indian (female = .01; male = .01%), 27% were Asian/Asian American (female = 10.7%; male = 16.5%), 5.5% were Black/African American (female = 3.2%; male = 2.2%), 7% were Latino/a/x (female = 3.6%; male = 3.6%), 2% were more than one race (female = 1.2; male = 1%), and 50% were White/European American (female = 23.7%; male = 26.7%). In terms of gender binary categories, 54% of doctorate recipients in 2019 identified as male and 46% identified as female. This survey has been conducted since 2010 and the data show a steady increase in absolute number of doctorate recipients overall and among individuals who identify with marginalized racial social identities and as female. However, the percentage increases are nominal (less than 1%).

Table 1 demonstrates that CC’s faculty searches would benefit from increasing the representation of applicants with marginalized racial and gender identities in the overall pool and at each phase of the search process to be more in line with the national percentage of doctorate recipients. This will help to increase the likelihood of hiring an excellent candidate who will diversify the faculty. To support the use of strategies all year round to attract and recruit applicants from diverse backgrounds, workshops will be offered for faculty in the upcoming academic year.

In terms of representation through the three phases of the search process, Table 1 demonstrates that White female applicants are represented at a higher percentage in the phone/skype/zoom interview phase (26%) and campus interview phase (38%) relative to the percent of White women represented in the overall applicant pool (20%). One interpretation of this data relates to the reality that White women in the academy have benefitted from multiculturalism and inclusion policies becoming what has been referred to as “the White face of multiculturalism” (Daniel, 2019). Perhaps there is an unspoken practice in searches at CC that entails actively decreasing bias against White female applicants to increase the likelihood of hiring a White female candidate with the aim of shrinking the gender gap that existed historically at CC. The success of shrinking the gap between White men and White women among the faculty at CC is admirable and an important accomplishment. However, while all women have been, and continue to be, marginalized in the academy, particularly in certain field areas, we must explore an unspoken and uncomfortable reality that has developed as more White women earn leadership roles in the academy; how White female practices of racism has impacted hiring and faculty retention at CC.

Going in a different direction across the phases of searches is the representation of Asian/Asian American males. There is a decrease in representation for Asian/Asian American male applicants from the applicant pool (15%) to the phone/skype/zoom interview phase (6%). However, representation increased to applicant pool percentages from the phone/skype/zoom interview phase to the campus interview phase (12%).

Over or underrepresentation, relative to the percent of representation in the general applicant pool, and between short phone/zoom and campus interviews, may indicate bias that has not been adequately regulated during the search process. As we continue to work on developing inclusive, equitable, and fair search practices, we hope representation will be more consistent by race and gender, the intersection of these two social categories, through the phases of the search process. Finally, we need to be mindful of representation variability across field areas. This report purposefully includes percentages based on all the tenure-track searches conducted in AY 20-21 that resulted in a hire regardless of field. While this information is important to gauge progress on our goal of increasing and maintaining faculty compositional diversity, we also need to consider the disaggregated data by field area. To that end, each chair/program director whose department/program made a tenure-track hire will receive a report that provides people admin data analysis for their search, national percentages of doctorate recipients by their field of study, gender, and race/ethnicity, and suggestions for recruiting strategies all year round.

Finally, of the 9 tenure-track hires in AY 20-21, 56% were women and 44% were men. Six (66.7%) of the hires identify with a marginalized racial/ethnic group including 1 Asian/Asian American woman, 2 Asian/Asian American men, 1 Latina, and 1 man and 1 woman who identify with two or more races. Three hires identify as White (2 White women and 1 White man).

Reference

Daniel, B. J. (2019). Teaching while Black: racial dynamics, evaluations, and the role of White females in the Canadian academy in carrying the racism torch. Race Ethnicity and Education, 22(1), 21-37.

Table 1: Percentages of Applicants by race, gender, and search phase for CC’s Tenure Track Faculty Searches for 2020-21

Demographic Categories Used in PeopleAdmin

Total Applicant Pool

(N = 1229)

Phone/Skype/Zoom Interviews

(N = 84)

Campus Interviews

(N = 26)

American Indian/Alaskan Native

 0

 0

 0

Asian/Asian American

Female
Male

 

9
15

 

10
6

 

8
12

Black/African American

Female
Male

 

1
2

 

4
4

4 0

Gender

Female
Male
Nonbinary
Transgender
Queer

 

35
59
1
.08
0

 

52
44
1
0
0

 

57
31
0
0
0

Hispanic

Latina (Female)
Latino (Male)
Latinx (Nonbinary)

 

3
6
.01

 

4
7
0

 

4
4
0

 

Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander

0 0 0

Two or more races

Female
Male
Nonbinary

 

.07
1
.02

 

2
1
0

 

4
4
0

White/European American

Female
Male
Nonbinary

 

20
32
.05

 

26
25
1

 

38
23
0

(Numbers are percentages and based on PeopleAdmin data provided by the Office of Human Resources)

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