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Faculty Diversity Hiring Initiative

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 a climate of inclusivity, facilitated by a diverse campus community, will raise our institutional profile.

Building on the success of previous diversity recruiting initiatives, this initiative 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-indigeneity 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. Women-identified faculty in fields where they are underrepresented, along with faculty of other underrepresented identities (e.g., LGBTQIA+, faculty with disabilities), will be considered on a case-by-case basis. In doing so, it is essential that a strong emphasis is placed on the quality of faculty recruitment in the germane areas of teaching, research, and service.

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 are strongly advised to have Strategic Diversity Faculty Hiring & Recruitment Plans. In order to promote consistency with the university’s Diversity Statement, such plans should be reviewed by the Office for Faculty and the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
  • Departments should propose all tenure-line faculty searches in line with their Strategic Diversity Faculty Hiring & Recruitment Plans, and the college and department should budget in accordance with those plans.
    • Simply put, increasing faculty diversity must be 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 and proactive retention efforts throughout a faculty member’s career.
    • Both the Office for Faculty and the Division 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 in research, teaching, and or/service
    • as a targeted hire in a relevant 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 institutional and unit benefits, the following funding model applies:

  • The Office of the SVPAA reserves 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. The hiring unit is responsible for all future salary increases, including salary increases during the three-year bridge funding.
    • If a faculty member hired with SVPAA bridge funding leaves the university within the first three years, the bridge funding will return to the SVPAA’s office.
  • 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 funding assistance, the unit should submit a letter of request, as described below.
  • Targeted Searches. Occasionally, a time-sensitive opportunity to recruit a scholar from an underrepresented group 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, if the unit needs funding assistance, the unit should submit a letter of request, as described below.
  • Post-doctoral Transition to Tenure-line. When a unit wants to transition a 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 Strategic Diversity Faculty Hiring & Retention Plan of the college and department.
    • A description of a sustainable funding plan for the faculty position.
    • For targeted searches, the letter should follow the search waiver guidelines.