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just one view among many

I teach at an R1 with a PhD program. I don't think we should include diversity statements as requirements in job applications, but I have read them when my department has required them in the past. I look for a combination of what I think will be concrete positive contributions (so--I care much more about what you've done concretely and what you're planning to do concretely than about anything else) and red flags (which come up a lot in these kinds of documents). I strongly recommend against using them as a kind of personal narrative/disclosure document as opposed to a very professional document about your actual DEI work; however I have seen a few of these that are really well done (in particular, one I can think of connected the candidate's very specific and somewhat unusual experience to all three of their teaching, research, and service, and made a case that they would be a strong resource to students in similar situations or even in related ones).

However, candidates may want to disclose demographic information about themselves, at their own discretion, if they want committees to have access to that information, since it's often not available in any other way. I think that's a personal decision and it never bothers me when a candidate does or does not do it.


I'm at an R2 that has an undergraduate program. I also don't think we should require diversity statements as part of job applications. On the last hiring committee I was on these were not required in the initial packet. Once we had a short list of candidates, I was happy to consider diversity as a factor among others, but this was something that would come out of the interview and follow up with candidates really.

Bill Vanderburgh

Upper admin at my university (teaching-focused large regional state institution, R2) requires diversity statements of all faculty job applicants. Like with statements of teaching philosophy, as a search committee member I find diversity statements are rarely of much probative value. Candidates are trying to say the right things in these statements, there's a tendency for everyone to say the same things, and what they say may have little correlation to their practices once they are on campus.

The exception to this is the kind of diversity statement that discusses how personal experience has informed one's own educational journey and how one uses that to help students. It sounds like the OP will be able to produce exactly that sort of statement. I'd say, when writing the diversity statement, perhaps be general rather than specific with your own struggles, and then quite specific about how awareness of and experience dealing with those challenges informs your pedagogy. This is not a place to describe the candidate's own resilience but to explain how the candidate will help students build that kind of resilience, how they remove barriers, lift people up, etc.

Stories about things you have done (in teaching, service, etc.), are often more impressive than descriptions of plans for what you would do if you had the chance. (This is another respect in which more experienced candidates sometimes have an advantage over freshly-minted PhDs.)

If it turns out that your experiences are like those of the students at the university to which you are applying, that can help your case. Typically, though, diversity factors are considered after other things: Fit for AOS/AOC, teaching experience, publications, etc. The diversity statement is not, of itself, going to get you an interview. But it might be a factor in preferring one candidate over others who are roughly equal on other considerations.

Lack of experience with, and lack of time spent thinking about, DEI issues sometimes shines through in these documents in a way that hurts candidates so, despite what was said above, they are worth spending time on. It seems like a good idea to have trusted, experienced mentors help you edit this doc. That might not be the same person who helps you edit your research statement.


I work at a very diverse university, and we take increasing diversity very seriously.That being said, I tend to view diversity statements in much the same way as I do teaching philosophies/statements. That is, they rarely tell me anything useful. There are so many templates lying around that it is easy to craft one regardless of one's own concern for diversity.

While it is also fraught with problems, I find I get better information by watching fly-out candidates interact with people during their interview and seeing how they engage with our students in their teaching demonstrations.

Mark Wilson

Like many others, although I am interested in diversity, I find diversity statements basically useless. In fact, there is a sense in which I find them discriminatory - anyone coming from an R1 school with a strong placement program will be trained to write diversity statements that hit all the right buttons. In this way, diversity statements become yet another indicator of pedigree and not much else.

What a world

As I'm sure many people on here know, it is now customary in academia to submit a diversity statement in job applications, even if most of the commenters here say it shouldn't be required. I think it's the law for California state schools. I have colleagues who complain to me of the countless times they been put through the degrading exercise of having to curate their homosexuality or minority racial status, for example. I shudder to think of some of the sentences the vile labor market has compelled me and my colleagues to utter just to gain an edge. As someone who checks some of the DEI boxes, these statements have always seemed like the sort of thing that aren't guaranteed to get me the job but could possibly sink my chances of getting it, so I try to be general and inoffensive. I Talk more about what I've done than what I am, and what I've done than what I will do.


"What a world"-

I could not agree more. My approach has been to refuse to utter anything "just to gain an edge." In my diversity statement, I talk honestly about how I feel about these statements: They're unjust and demeaning.

I know that this dooms my chances. But it's not worth perjuring and degrading oneself. Plus, I know (having had many discussions on this) that many people on search committees secretly agree with me. Not that this helps.

My only hope is that I get a job at a school that does not require a diversity statement, or I apply to a place where the department faculty have some stones and are willing to defend a good applicant who is honest with them.

Mark Wilson

to AnAmericanApplicant,

as distasteful as the practice of writing diversity statements is, I would not recommend taking that attitude. The final say on hiring is often made by deans and people outside the department. Diversity statement requirements very rarely come from departments, but typically from such deans or people outside the department. Keeping such people happy is a part of pretty much any profession. It is surely better than unemployment.


It may surprise you Mark Wilson, but for some people sacrificing their principles is not considered better than unemployment.

bad from every angle

i totally agree about the gross nature of putting people in a position to 'curate' their minority status. i also think diversity statements are simply a piece of legal work deans, etc. use to avoid having to take real steps to transform institutions into fairer or more just places.

however, there are many ways to write this statement, one of them being how DEI features in your classroom. this does not amount to 'sacrificing principles' unless your principles are bigoted.

Hey nonny nonny

I'm in a country where diversity statements are unknown (and we have world-ranked unis here).

American diversity statements are generally an insider's game: they are a tool for prioritizing folks (who gain an advantage) for writing such statements "well". However, what counts as a "good", "helpful", or "excellent" statement is typically alien to foreigners (folks who don't have access to in-house, in-uni, in-department advisors on these sorts of statements and ideologies. The irony of American privilege and advantage when it comes to job applications requiring such McCarthyist statements appears to be lost only on Americans themselves...)

A truly excellent diversity statement would note that some well-nigh four billion people in this world are Chinese nationalists, Hindu nationalists, Islamists, Christian fundamentalists, and a host of various ethno-nationalists. ALL those people, and ALL these viewpoints, are under-represented -- TO SAY THE LEAST -- in Western universities, in philosophy departments, and in Western social and political discourses. A GENUINELY inclusive and diverse uni would therefore welcome them into the system and help them all to thrive.

Accordingly, one should write a DEI statement demonstrating how you have advanced this goal (in ways that don't get you flagged by some intelligence agency or other, of course.)

Last point. The commenter 'bad from every angle' writes "this does not amount to 'sacrificing principles' unless your principles are bigoted". Whilst this is the sort of question begging, Orwellian bullshit one has come to expect from Americans these days, it is also spilling out like pollution into the rest of the West, unfortunately. (Fortunately, most of the world consciously rejects that ideology as Western imperialist garbage. Thankfully, with the loss of Western hegemony, it's only a matter of time before all of this claptrap is thrown into the rubbish bin of history.)

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