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09/25/2016

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Curious

Helen,
Can the person who wrote you clarify what they are looking for? It is quite unclear to me what they are seeking.
In some places campus Human Resource departments actively draw attention to qualified candidates from under-represented groups to the search committee (especially if they are being overlooked or passed over). Does this speak to the concern?

Shane

I suspect that the person is looking for a HR consultant with specialization in diversity, recruitment and higher ed. My advice would be to contact your local chapter of SHRM (Society for Human Resources Management). Good luck.

Karl

As a member of the profession, I applaud your department's commitment to diversity. But as a job applicant who agonizes over each application I send out, your stance is worrisome. I am probably not attractive to a department looking for a "diversity hire" and if your ad doesn't make it clear that I should not apply, I probably will if I fit your department's needed AOS. This strikes me as somewhat unfair. I do not what to work hard to be attractive to a department that will reject me on my lack of diversity alone.

anonymous person

Isn't there something deeply wrong with the mindset of this post? (It strikes me as similar to the kinds of questions and thoughts that motivate departments to make themselves really "attractive" to prospective grad students who are women and/or people of color during prospectives visit week, via their website, etc.

Isn't the answer to how you can make your department more attractive to diverse job candidates to work on making your department a genuinely good place for such candidates to work, to being the best colleagues you possibly can be, educating yourselves about the way in which your behavior affects people around you, calling out racist/sexist/classist b.s. when you see it, figuring out how to be genuinely welcoming, etc.?

I'm pretty sure whatever you write in some job ad doesn't matter nearly as much as those things. I would hope that it didn't.

Andrew

Well that didn't take long...

On a more constructive note, I second the HR proposal - these are difficult questions and someone with experience, training, and expertise could surely contribute a lot.

Also, I recall applying for a job at Sheffield where they asked for anonymised CVs, so perhaps contact them? (In general, Jenny Saul will likely have thought hard about stuff like this.) it's not flawless, and requires various systems to be in place on the employers side (since 5 seconds googling could easily break the anonymity), but every little helps.

Finally, and this is just off the top of my head and involves a bunch of potentially questionable assumptions as well as other conditions being met before it's even a starter - you could specify at least AoCs that are typically had by applicants from under-represented groups. Just an idea. (Perhaps in the long term this connects to the more positive part of anonymous person's comment above.)

Best of luck!

p.s. I'm also on the market and lack diversity (apart from wrt my class, but people aren't so interested in that, not least because it's in some ways harder to look for, gather numbers on etc.) Sometimes I despair and worry that this might adversely me. Then I check my privilege. (That's the first time I've ever used that phrase.) I've come to think that, all things considered, the only thing potentially wrong with such efforts as this post concerns, is that sometimes it might turn out that old white men who have undoubtedly benefitted unduly and said nothing for years might get to play the diversity-pro hero by exercising their ill-gotten power in unregulated ways. But that's more or less it, as far as I can see, and at least their doing it for the good. That's my penny's worth. It would be great if this comment section didn't itself become something that discourages diversity...

Andrew

Oh and apropos, this just popped up on my fb, - some of the lessons may well carry over to the reader's query https://www.facebook.com/amightygirl/photos/a.360833590619627.72897.316489315054055/1116485508387761/?type=3
And see also
http://qz.com/730290/harvey-mudd-college-took-on-gender-bias-and-now-more-than-half-its-computer-science-majors-are-women/

p.s. typos typos...

Jacen

I do not have anything by way of specific resources to offer up. However, I would caution that some consultants on diversity know how to talk the talk, but don't have much of substance on offer or have a limited conception of diversity. That doesn't mean don't seek outside advice, but be a critical consumer.

As someone underrepresented in multiple respects in the profession, I can say personally that a program which speaks to diversity more than it acts is not attractive. Show more than you tell. That you are already engaged in self-development around diversity is one point positive. What else does your program do, or your institution at large, that makes it an inclusive environment? What resources are available, what recourse? What does the history of your program look like, and how do you own it and move forward? Etc. Having thought through these questions, being prepared to discuss them openly, and accepting feedback from candidates will go a long way not only to attracting diverse candidates to your program but to actually making your program more supportive of diversity.

-----

An aside to Karl: The job market is tight and so I appreciate your concern, but I can't ultimately respect it. Here's why: You say you applaud an interest in diversity, but you immediately contradict that by citing it as worrisome. You then couch your concern not in any broader issue of fairness, but center the issue entirely upon how diversity policy (might) negatively affect you. Your concern about diversity policy is real to you, but try to take it in context. This is something you have to worry about on occasion, but discrimination is an ever present concern for marginalized people (even with programs that claim pro-diversity).

I think your concern is somewhat overstated as well. Most programs still skew rather favorably towards white, male, heterosexual, cisgender, Western oriented specialties, etc. Diversity programs have hardly shifted the balance of privilege. Moreover, not satisfying diversity does not necessarily preclude you from being considered or hired so applying to pro-diversity programs is not necessarily a waste of your resources. Diversity is one variable considered among many others, and whether you contribute to it or not is insufficient on its own to determine a hire.

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