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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

UC-Davis Funds Faculty Searches Focused On Diversity, Not Disciplinary Expertise

UC Davis University Logo (2018)Inside Higher Ed, Open Searches and Diversity:

Hoping to increase faculty diversity, UC Davis is holding eight open searches focused on candidates' contributions to diversity, instead of narrow disciplinary expertise.

The University of California, Davis, is launching a pilot hiring program that eliminates the requirement — typical in department searches — that candidates have a specific disciplinary specialty. Davis says the research-backed approach will help it increase faculty diversity. ...

Davis is funding the program with some $422,000 of a $7 million University of California System-wide investment in faculty diversity, in addition to existing campus funds.

The eight school- and college-wide searches that make up the pilot program will, in the university’s words, “cast a broad net and reach out to candidates who are contributing to enhancing diversity and inclusive environments through their research, teaching and service.”

The idea is that a diverse search will lead to a diverse candidate pool. Instead of a focusing on a particular disciplinary expertise, search teams will look for candidates with proven commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion among underrepresented groups, namely black, Latino, Chicano and Native American applicants.

Statements of contributions to diversity already are mandatory for faculty applicants across the California system, but search committees will put greater emphasis on these statements in selecting candidates for interviews. Individual search committees will decide just how to evaluate the documents and other evidence of commitment to diversity, however.

Finalists will be assigned faculty members to serve as confidential advisers and may ask one who has no role in the selection process questions about campus life and climate.

Hires will get up to $12,500 for hiring their own students, traveling or writing workshops, and enrollment in the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity’s program for research productivity and work-life balance.

Participating programs are the Colleges of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences, and Engineering, along with the Graduate School of Management and the Schools of Education, Law, Medicine and Veterinary Medicine. Deans of all these colleges expressed interest in the program, according to Davis. ...

Search committees will soon be formed, with the goal of hiring these new professors by July. Davis will pay up to $85,000 toward the salary of each hire. Individual schools or colleges will be responsible for pay above that, and the professors’ entire salaries after five years. ...

Davis’s faculty is currently 9.2 percent underrepresented minority. The university is moving toward becoming a federally designated Hispanic-serving institution. One qualification for that recognition is that, for at least one year, one-quarter of domestic, full-time students be Hispanic. Davis says it will reach that threshold this fall.

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This makes so much sense. Analogously, when I choose a doctor my primary concern is his/her contribution to diversity. What’s expertise got to do with it?

Posted by: Actual Lawyer | Nov 28, 2018 12:43:54 PM

When a for-profit university emphasizes targeting historically underserved students over teaching marketable skills and enriches insiders (google their dean's and chancellor's salaries) don't they call that borrower and taxpayer abuse?

Posted by: Anand Desai | Nov 28, 2018 4:18:02 PM

"Statements of contributions to diversity already are mandatory for faculty applicants across the California system."

Yet more proof we are living in Orwell's 1984. Who cares if you are a brilliant researcher/scholar and beloved by your students, if you embrace wrongthink or are insufficiently committed to the sacred cow of diversity, you need not apply for jobs in the UC system.

Surely, quality will not suffer at all...

Posted by: Todd | Nov 29, 2018 9:18:44 AM

And they wonder why their bar pass rate just keeps falling ...

Posted by: Poelice | Dec 6, 2018 8:26:35 AM