Active Recruitment for Tenure-Track Faculty Searches

Purpose

A core part of the 2019 Institutional Hiring Plan (for search year 2019-20) is a focus on UO’s long-term goal to increase the representation of women and underrepresented communities among the university’s tenured and tenure-track faculty, and to maximize the university’s ability to attract and recruit outstanding, highly competitive candidates overall. In order to be successful in these efforts, we are building off of the accomplishments and lessons learned from the 2018-19 search year when we first piloted an active recruitment process. The pilot year helped confirm the clear commitment that the majority of campus has to recruiting strong, diverse pools of candidates.

While we continue the processes that help ensure robust pools of candidates, this year’s active recruitment efforts will focus on providing training and guidance for expected practices when discussing and selecting candidates and how to navigate challenging situations. This work is meant to be a partnership among many units on campus, working together to accomplish our goals.  Where specific processes have been mandated (e.g., the search plan template, and review of the initial applicant pool against the anticipated availability pool), these are targeted at the beginning of the search process to help ensure a successful launch of the search. Latter steps in the process will be primarily handled within the units, with the support of the Active Recruitment Team (ART).   

We are grateful to everyone involved in searches for our tenure track faculty. We are eager to hear feedback on these efforts as the year progresses.

Active Recruitment Team | Process | Resources


Active Recruitment Team

The ART is comprised of the following members, with their ART roles noted in parentheses:

  • Melanie Muenzer* (team lead), Office of the Provost, associate vice president and vice provost for academic initiatives
  • Yvette Alex-Assensoh* (ART senior advisor), Division of Equity and Inclusion, vice president
  • Nancy Nieraeth* (HR recruitment expert), Human Resources, director of talent acquisition
  • Anna Shamble* (ART project manager), Office of the Provost, senior project manager
  • Ben Young (ART faculty advisor), College of Arts and Sciences, dean fellow and associate professor in Mathematics
  • TTF TBD* (ART faculty advisor)
  • TTF TBD* (ART faculty advisor)
  • TTF TBD* (ART faculty advisor)
  • Jeslyn Everitt (legal advisor), Office of the General Counsel, assistant general counsel
  • Dan Currier (data specialist), Human Resources, interim project manager
  • Robert Garral (research specialist), Office of the Provost, interim project manager

*These members of the ART also serve as a point of contact for TTF searches. Please note that ART points of contact are not responsible for ensuring compliance requirements such as completing the search disposition summary (what happened with each candidate, such as did they meet the minimum qualifications) at the end of each search.

ART search contacts are responsible for the following:

  • Meeting with the search chair and committee at the beginning of the search
  • Approving the committee’s Search Plan
  • Offering advice and guidance to the search committee on ways to broaden the pool of candidates
  • Working with the committee to review data that describes the demographics of the available pool of candidates compared to the actual applicant pool to determine if the applicant pool is appropriately representative
  • Providing guidance and serving as a thought partner to the search committee during the review of candidates including the steps to select candidates for phone or online interviews, invitations for campus visits, and final selection
  • As needed, making recommendations to the provost on extensions or continuation of searches that may be struggling to recruit candidates or have challenges during the review and selection phases of the search

Process

Develop a Search Plan

The development of a Search Plan is required before searches may be advertised. The ART search contact will review Search Plans as part of the MyTrack search approval process, in consultation with other ART members as needed. The Office of Human Resources will provide search committees with faculty availability data to help with the completion of their Search Plans. Search committees are expected to use the search practices outlined in Expected Practices for UO Tenure Track Faculty Searches, and to craft their Search Plans using the Search Plan Template. For details on launching a TTF search, see the HR Start a Search page.

Use Data to Evaluate the Search Response

HR will provide the search applicant pool data to the search committee and ART contact prior to the application review date. The applicant pool data will detail how many applicants are currently in the pool by demographic (e.g., race/ethnicity, gender). The search chair and ART contact will discuss how the demographics of the applicant pool compare to the faculty availability data to help determine if the pool is progressing as expected or if more outreach is needed in particular areas. The ART contact will work with the search committee chair to determine the optimal time to request this information from HR. This review and discussion should happen when there is still time to impact the number of applicants (e.g., mid-point during the search or prior to a major conference).

Please note that the utility of the applicant pool data may be impacted by the number of applicants. If there is a very small number of applicants in a particular demographic, the data may not be shared as broadly as when there are large numbers of applicants in order to ensure that each candidate’s privacy is protected.

Within two days after the application deadline has passed, HR will again provide the applicant pool data to the search committee and ART contact. If the applicant pool data is not reasonably consistent with availability data and, after discussions with other members of the ART, the dean, and the Executive Vice Provost for Academic Affairs (EVPAA), no compelling case can be made to continue the search with the existing applicant pool, the search committee, dean, and/or the EVPAA have the option to discontinue the search. If a search is discontinued at this step, it will be expected to continue as part of the 2020 IHP (for search year 2020-21).

Evaluate Candidates

After agreement between the search committee, the ART, the dean, and the EVPAA that a search has a strong applicant pool, evaluation of candidates can begin. There are typically several parts to this process that are very discipline-specific. For example, some units rely heavily on conferences to help with initial reviews of candidates. Other units will conduct online interviews for upwards of twenty candidates. Though units are highly encouraged to refer to the Expected Practices for UO Tenure Track Faculty Searches while evaluating candidates, no specific process is mandated during this stage. However, it is recommended that the dean submit names of the short-list candidates and those coming for on-campus interviews to HR for another report on the demographics of the candidates. Due to small cell sizes, this report can only be viewed by the ART, dean or associate dean, EVPAA, or provost.

The reason for review of demographics at this stage is to confirm that the selection discussions do not raise concerns about potential bias or discrimination. For example, if the applicant pool was originally found to be representative of possible applicants but the list of invitees for campus interviews is no longer consistent with the applicant pool and availability, the process and criteria for evaluating candidates should be discussed.

The ART contact will check in with the search chair at several points during this stage to see how things are progressing, if there are any current challenges with the search, and whether any assistance, advice or guidance might be helpful. The ART will also be offering workshops in fall 2019 to provide additional tools and strategies to search committees to help assess candidates.

If a search committee member, department member, search process advocate, or other party involved with the search feels that there has been bias or discrimination happening in the evaluation stage, they should contact Nancy Nieraeth, Director of Talent Acquisition (nancyn@uoregon.edu), for advice and guidance.

Finalist Approval

At the finalist stage, Deans must receive finalist approval from the EVPAA and salary approval from the Executive Vice Provost for Academic Operations (EVPAO) before extending an offer. Before approving, the EVPAA or EVPAO may ask for a rationale explaining the recommendation. After finalist and salary approval, offers will proceed using the TTF Contingent Offer Letter Term Sheet process.

Process Review

The active recruitment process is still relatively new and is regularly being assessed for effectiveness, in the spirit of continuous improvement. If you have questions or suggestions for improvement, please contact Melanie Muenzer at muenzer@uoregon.edu.


Resources

Workshops

Tenure Track Faculty Recruitment Workshop
Search chairs or at least one member of the search committee and department heads for all units with TTF searches are required to attend an in-person Tenure Track Faculty Recruitment Workshop. Other search committee members, department members, unit managers, assistant, associate, and divisional deans are encouraged to attend as well. Two sessions were held in early June. If a unit was not able to send an attendee to the workshop, please contact Melanie Muenzer at muenzer@uoregon.edu. Future workshops will be posted on the Office of the Provost Workshops page, as well as in MyTrack’s list of workshops.

Implicit Bias Training
All search committee members must complete an in-person implicit bias training every three years prior to beginning candidate review. The training schedule will be available in fall 2019 at https://inclusion.uoregon.edu/implicitbias. A recorded version is available online as a refresher for anyone who would like to view it, and for exceptional situations when attending an in-person session is not possible. As there is significant benefit to engaging with colleagues in the conversations that happen during workshop sessions, the recorded version does not count toward the three-year requirement.

Future Workshops on Candidate Evaluation Tools and Strategies
In fall 2019 new workshops will be available on tools and strategies that can be used during conversations by search committees and departments for the effective evaluation of candidates. Please visit the Office of the Provost Workshops page for more information.

Search Process Advocates

Oregon State University currently offers a Search Advocate Program. As stated on their website, “Search Advocates are trained, external search committee members who promote equity, validity, and diversity on OSU searches.” UO has recently been exploring ways to incorporate OSU’s successful program into our search processes. Under the direction of Charlotte Moats-Gallagher in the Division of Equity and Inclusion, UO has been able to offer two training sessions to certify UO employees who volunteer to serve as search process advocates for our campus, with two additional sessions being planned for July and September. Charlotte has also recently served as a search process advocate for our provost search.

UO will refer to this as the Search Process Advocate program, inserting the word “process” to emphasize that the role is to help ensure a strong process, not advocating for a particular person(s).

The goal of the search process advocate is to help ensure that the search process is fair and equitable. The advocate does not attempt to substitute their judgment for the judgment of committee members. Rather, an advocate asks questions to help committee members test their thinking and recognize the implications of assumptions, strategies, and practices under consideration. To start, the advocate would meet with the department head and search chair to clarify the appropriate expectations for the role. The advocate would attend all of the search committee meetings to guide the search committee with critical parts of the process, such as developing the screening criteria (e.g., how not to use “I’ll know it when I see it” or “good fit”), designing the interview process (e.g., ensuring that fairness is more than “exactly the same” for candidates as some candidates may require special accommodations), and facilitating the committee’s decision-making as candidates advance through the search process (“dispositioning”).

More information on OSU’s program can be found at https://searchadvocate.oregonstate.edu/. UO employees wishing to be certified to serve as an advocate can attend OSU trainings. As mentioned above, UO will also be offering trainings in July and September.

If you are interested in exploring whether a search process advocate would be helpful for your search, please contact Charlotte at cmoatsga@uoregon.edu. Information on transitioning the program to UO can also be found in this background document (PDF).

Additional Resources

The Gender Decoder is a publicly available free online tool that allows the authors of job advertisements to analyze their text and determine the extent to which gender-coded words may appear.  Despite its simplicity, the result gives the user a means to identify any unconscious/implicit bias in the wording of the advertisement, and make modifications to encourage a broader response.