In the spirit of addressing issues of racism and inequality, as highlighted in President Gee’s State of the University address last week, WVU ADVANCE is launching a new initiative aimed at attracting and retaining more diverse faculty to WVU.
With support from the Office of the President and the Office of the Provost, the new Inclusive Hiring Initiative is designed to help units and departments across the University reshape how they approach the faculty hiring process.
“The goal of this initiative is to contribute to enhancing the diversity of people and ideas across our campuses,” said Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Maryanne Reed. “We hope to update our recruiting and hiring practices to more intentionally seek out faculty and scholars with the desired expertise who may come from underutilized populations, such as those based on race, ethnicity and, in some disciplines, gender.”
Starting this month, ADVANCE-trained facilitators will begin guiding interested WVU departments and units as they re-think the processes by which they recruit and welcome faculty job applicants from underutilized populations. The 90-minute virtual work sessions will help units focus on identifying new areas of specialization that could potentially attract underutilized faculty, rethinking and refining candidate criteria, and developing a structured search plan. The virtual sessions can be scheduled by contacting WVUAdvance@mail.wvu.edu.
“Long before we think about approving our job advertisements and welcoming candidates to campus, we want to proactively and optimistically create pathways that will include and welcome more diverse populations,” said Christine Rittenour, WVU ADVANCE master facilitator and IHI point person. “When we say ‘diverse,’ we mean those who – through their experiences and in their expertise areas – extend the scope of who we are and what we do at WVU.”
In spring 2021, the ADVANCE team and facilitators will begin moving into the second phase of the roll-out focused on improving retention of diverse faculty members.
“Just as the recruitment, evaluation and hiring process needs to begin early, the retention phase also must start with a reinvigorated effort to support the unique needs of those newly hired faculty members,” said WVU ADVANCE Assistant Director Amena Anderson, who also serves on the Academic Issues working group outlined in President Gee’s recent address. “Facilitators will help academic units build upon the recruitment and hiring processes to identify specific practices that can help to maintain a nimble and supportive culture for the members and students they serve.”
The WVU ADVANCE Center is an academic hub committed to identifying, analyzing and disrupting institutional inequities while promoting social justice and a positive, inclusive culture at WVU and beyond. Through unique courses and strategic processes, the ADVANCE Center's interdisciplinary team of scholars works with units, departments and colleges across campus to achieve customized goals that will lead to an internal climate characterized by innovation, collaboration, equity, and inclusion.
Departments or academic units interested in participating in the Inclusive Hiring Initiative can contact WVU ADVANCE at WVUAdvance@mail.wvu.edu.