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July-August 2010

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The Search is On: Engendering Faculty Diversity Through More Effective Search and Recruitment

It is no longer the case (if, in fact, it ever was the case) that a department can simply write an ad, place it in its professional publication, and wait for the hundreds of qualified candidates to submit applications. Attracting a strong and diverse pool of candidates requires both time and hard work, and the entire department must be engaged in attracting candidates.

Dean in a STEM college

The underrepresentation of women and minority faculty in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines continues to be a major concern to university leaders, policy makers, and scientists. While a number of complex factors across the entire academic pipeline play significant roles in this problem, important contributing causes of the underrepresentation of women and minorities on the STEM faculty are how recruitment is conducted and how hiring decisions are made.

In the following, we elucidate how universities can systematically transform their conventional recruitment practices to develop a more diverse faculty and a more inclusive faculty climate. First, we describe how conventional recruitment practices contribute to the homogenous replication of the faculty body. Next, we share the results of studies of the nature and consequences of diversity in applicant pools in recent science and engineering searches conducted at our universities. Finally, we provide guidelines and best practices for effective faculty hiring processes.

Diana Bilimoria, a professor of organizational behavior at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), is co-author of Handbook on Women in Business and Management and Women on Corporate Boards of Directors: International Research and Practice and has served as the editor of the Journal of Management Education. For more information, visit or contact her at

Kimberly K. Buch is an associate professor of psychology and a co-PI of the ADVANCE grant at the University of North Carolina (UNC), Charlotte. She is past faculty director of the ADVANCE Faculty Affairs Office and currently leads the mid-career mentoring program at UNC, Charlotte.

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