Faculty Diversity Hiring

Equity, diversity, and inclusion stand as core values of the University of Utah’s mission. We share a belief that the university will better serve local, national, and international communities when our scholars, researchers, artists, and educators come from diverse backgrounds; that the success of our students can be enhanced by models and leaders of varied backgrounds; and that raising our institutional profile is linked to a climate of inclusivity, facilitated by a diverse campus community.

Building on the success of previous diversity recruiting initiatives, this document recommits the University to accelerate the recruitment of faculty from diverse backgrounds. For the purpose of this recruitment effort, increasing faculty from diverse racial-ethnic backgrounds (U.S. historically underrepresented groups: African American/Black, LatinX, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian American, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander) is prioritized. Female faculty in fields where they are significantly underrepresented, along with faculty of other underrepresented identities, may be considered on a case-by-case basis, if resources permit.

Guiding Principles

  • The University, the Office of the SVP for Academic Affairs, the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, the colleges, and the departments have shared responsibility for increasing the diversity of our faculty.
  • All colleges and departments must have diversity hiring plans approved by the Office for Faculty and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
  • Departments will propose tenure-line faculty searches in line with approved diversity hiring plans, and the college and department will budget in accordance with those plans. Simply put, increasing diverse faculty is a key element of every recruiting and hiring process.
  • Strategies for increasing the faculty’s diversity include careful attention to job descriptions, advertising, and strategic recruitment activities; processes for telephone/video and on-campus interviews; negotiation at the offer/recruitment stage; onboarding; and mentoring throughout a faculty member’s career. Both the Office for Faculty and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are available to assist with these processes.
  • Departments should leverage multiple ways to recruit faculty members from underrepresented groups, including:
    • as part of any regular faculty search (this should be the primary mechanism)
    • as part of a regular search focused on equity, diversity, and inclusion
    • as a targeted hire in a specific academic domain
    • as a transition from a post-doctoral position to a tenure-line position

Funding Model

Increasing and retaining a diverse faculty is in the best interests of the institution and our units. Given these institutional and unit benefits, the following funding model applies:

  • The Office of the SVPAA has reserved an annual pool of funding to help units seeking to make a hire that will increase the diversity of the faculty. This funding will be available based on an assessment of the unit’s diversity needs and goals, when a hiring opportunity arises that cannot be funded via standard hiring processes.
  • The Office of the SVPAA will provide bridge funding, up to 1/3 of the base salary for the new faculty member for up to three years. If the faculty member leaves the university within the first three years, the bridge funding will return to the SVPAA’s office. The hiring unit is responsible for all future salary increases.
  • After three years, the hiring unit will assume full responsibility for funding the faculty member’s salary, and the bridge funding will return to the SVPAA’s office.

Hiring Processes

  • The Office for Faculty will serve as advisor in the process and as a contact for questions and additional information.
  • Regular Searches. When a unit identifies its top candidate, if that candidate comes from an underrepresented group and the unit needs diversity funding assistance, the unit should consult with the Office for Faculty and submit a letter of request, as described below.
  • Targeted Searches. Occasionally, a time-sensitive opportunity to recruit a scholar from an underrepresented group at another institution may arise. In such a case, where there is also need and interest in the academic unit, a search waiver may be requested to recruit a specific individual. In addition, the unit should submit a letter of request, as described below.
  • Post-doctoral Transition to Tenure-line. When a unit wants to transition post-doctoral associate from an underrepresented group to a tenure-line position, they may use either the regular search or targeted search process, as appropriate.
  • Letter of Request. The department chair should submit a letter of request to their dean for approval. The dean should then forward the request to the Office for Faculty for review, including a brief cover letter stating the reason for their support. The letter should include:
    • An explanation of how this hire relates to the diversity plan of the college and department.
    • For targeted searches, the letter should include an explanation of why it would be unlikely to find a better or similarly qualified candidate if a search were conducted.
    • A description of the proposed funding plan and sustainability of the faculty line.