how to conduct an effective search for stellar faculty
UIC hired 19 female and 30 male faculty in STEM departments in the period 2006-2009. This is a change from the previous decade. This result can be attributed in part to the raised awareness on campus through the WISEST initiatives and more directly to a combination of SUCCEED search committee training and the Search Toolkit together with incentives. Incentives come from NSF ADVANCE grant augmenting the start-up funds and the salary and research support provided by the Provost’s program: UFRP (Underrepresented Faculty Recruitment Program).
On Sept. 2005 the first SUCCEED (Supporting UIC’s Commitment to a Community of Excellence, Equity & Diversity) search committee training session was given by the SUCCEED Team to members of the Search Committee in the Chemistry Department. The team offered its presentations of social science research documenting how gender schemas lead to undervalue attributes and accomplishments of women and overvalue those of men to Dean and the faculty of the College of Engineering, the 24 heads of departments in the College of Medicine, and to the Dean and representatives of all search committees in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences during AY2005-06. The Deans encouraged their departments to invite the SUCCEED team for a presentation as the first step in every faculty search. One of the main points in the search training is that gender schemas have more power when women are less than 30 % of the group that is being evaluated. To counteract the gender bias, a critical mass of women have to be recruited into the applicant pool, applicants have to be compared across the board using the same metrics, and search committees have to be conscious that gender bias may affect the length and quality of letters of recommendations for women applicants. Also, unless specifically asked to suggest women candidates, most faculty advisors tend to mention their male graduates. In Nov 2006 Chemical Engineering carried out a search following the principles for minimizing gender bias that forms the basis of the SUCCEED training. The search committee members were receptive to the idea of recruiting women into the applicant pool in order to have a critical mass. All members of the search committee as well as other faculty participated in the pro-active recruiting. The strategies adopted for the Chemical Engineering faculty search later became the basis for the WISEST Search Toolkit.
In Sep 2007 the Search Toolkit was distributed to the first Faculty Search Committee Town Hall meeting. The effectiveness of the SUCCEED team comes from the research-active STEM faculty invoking search committees to make offers only to outstanding faculty candidates, no compromise on excellence, but make sure to start with a critical mass of women in the applicant pool and to use uniform across-the-board comparisons using the same metrics for all candidates. When a sufficient number of highly qualified women have been included in the pool of candidates, they naturally rise to the top in the comparisons, leading to a large fraction of women among those invited to the campus interview. Offering the position to one of the outstanding women then becomes inevitable.
Currently the Deans require that every search in the science and engineering departments begin with a SUCCEED presentation and dissemination of the Search Toolkit to members of the search committee.
- The WISEST Search Toolkit
- Pro-active recruiting: 2 case-studies
- gender schemas and how they lead to undervaluing women and overvaluing men
The SUCCEED presentations are adapted to the various departments, using statistical data appropriate to the discipline:
- SUCCEED presentation Mathematics
- SUCCEED presentation Medicine
- SUCCEED presentation Chemistry
The detailed results of pro-active recruitment into the applicant pools in Chemical Engineering and in Chemistry searches serve as examples for other departments:
- Results of Pro-active recruiting
The SUCCEED presentation has been adapted to searches for heads of departments:
- SUCCEED presentation for a HEAD search
In seeking applicants for the underrepresented minority women candidates for the WISEST Post-doctoral Fellowship for Academic Diversity program, search strategies for finding minority women were developed. These strategies are documented in the following:
- Search strategies for URM women