Lehigh ADVANCE hosts this toolbox of resources to enhance faculty recruitment processes, practices and the diversity of the outcomes, with special attention paid to issues of interdisciplinary faculty. Additionally, each year we host workshops for search committee members to be up to date and refresh our committment to equitable and inclusive hiring.
In addition to following the steps outlined in the University Checklist, it is important at the earliest stages in the process to plan the evaluation criteria and campus visit agenda. Please ensure all candidates receive a copy of the materials in the section 'University Resources for Faculty Diversity Inclusion, Equity, Support and Success". This helps to harmonize the information given to all candidates about how the program/department, college and university are situated and positioned to support the success of all new colleagues. Please plan a meeting on the schedule to share these resources in a non-evaluative way with candidates.
- Faculty Hiring forms and information from the Office of the Provost
- Lehigh Work-Life Balance For Faculty
- Faculty Dual Career Assistance Program
- Faculty Candidate 30 min. University Resources for Faculty Diversity Inclusion, Equity, Support and Success; use this form to Request to Schedule the ~30 min discussion- updated July 2021
- Strategic Faculty Hiring Initiative
- Hiring a Foreign National Memo (PDF)
Convene a diverse search committee whose members understand processes and best practices.
Establish a clear charge to the committee.
Ensure search committee members and supporting staff understand their roles and expecations for participation.
- See this check-list for Search Committee Chairs.
- Establish norms for high stakes meetings and responding to bias moments.
Develop a shared understanding of diversity and excellence and a commitment to equity througout the process. (See the sections below on Know Your Data and Understand Unconscious Bias)
Ensure colleagues and even students are informed about what the position entails and how they will give feedback.
Determine how your transparent and equitable recommendation and decision making processes will take place.
Calculate the percentage of PhDs awarded to those under represented in the field.
Examine recent hiring history
Leverage data by your professional academic society
Cognitiver Errrors- Handouts by JoAnne Moody
- Rising Above Cognitive Errors, JoAnn Moody
- Cognitive Errors and Unintended Biases: A Very Quick Review JoAnne Moody
- Cognitive Errors that Contaminate Academic Evalaution, JoAnne Moody
From UC Hastings WorkLife -
Unhook Pedigree and Potential
- Overreliance on pedigree as an indicator of potential as the side-effect of screening out ethnic minorities and people from non-middle class or upper-class backgrounds
- A current study from the Computer Sciences
Videos about unconscious bias and schemas (each is ~5 min.)
- The Ohio State University: www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZHxFU7TYo4
- UCLA Series (Narrated by UCLA Vice Chancellor Jerry Kang):
Have a plan to increase the diversity of the applicant pool. Consider what the job ad says as well as where and how you advertise and socialize the available position.
- Use a versatile job ad. Consider asking applicants to provide a statement on their planned contributions to supporting an inclusive and equitable teaching and research environment. Broad position descriptions (rather than narrow disciplinary focus) and welcoming language are a national best practice for attracting candidates.
- Place the job ad in outlets visible to diverse scholars. The University posts the ad on HigherEdJobs.com, the internal Lehigh University Human Resources pages, and to the regional HERC job board. In addition to the disciplinary journals, determine how else to reach scholars from historically under represented backgrounds.
- Where will you network? Will you use social media? Who will do personal invitations for seeking applicants? Will contacts be made only at conferences? Ideally, the long term networking has been in place to build trustworthy relationships with a range of scholars and institution types in order to attract a diverse applicant pool. Develop a plan to do both long term and near term networking and outreach to promote the open faculty position to the personal networks of all committee members and especially beyond. Contact ADVANCE if you have questions about this (especially forward thinking networking).
Periodically, Lehigh University employees and affiliates who serve on faculty search committees or involved in the hiring decision making process, may find themselves with a conflict of interest about an applicant or candidate. It is a best practice for such conflicts to be disclosed and for the individual to remove themselves from the deliberations and decisions related to the situation if there are past or current relationships that create a conflict of interest, or could have the appearance of creating a conflict of interest. In general, a conflict of interest would exist if an individual is in (or has the appearance of being in) a position to influence either directly or indirectly a decision that could lead to personal gain for the individual, their immediate family, or any third party to the detriment of the university’s integrity and its missions of teaching, research, service.
Under no circumstances should a member of a search committee provide a reference letter for an applicant.
See the Lehigh University Policy and Definitions of Conflict, Disclosure and which relationships are described. The following list, although not exhaustive, illustrates types of relationships that may constitute a conflict of interest or an appearance of a conflict of interest:
- a marital, life partner, family, or personal relationship with the individual(s), or their immediate family, being reviewed;
- a past or present sexual relationship with the individual being reviewed;
- an advising relationship (e.g., the faculty member having served as the candidate's PhD or post-doctoral advisor);
- sharing of a common grant or being a close collaborator on a number of common projects with the person being reviewed;
- a direct financial interest and/or relationship;
- any other relationship that would create personal gain or the appearance of personal gain
Conflicts of interest shall be disclosed to the search committee and committee chair, department chair, and Dean. It may not be necessary to recuse an individual from the entire committee. The Dean will review the disclosure and will, with guidance from the Provost’s Office if needed, determine if the faculty member should recuse themselves during some or all of the search process and decision making.
Write a job ad that corresponds to the charge and has clear criteria up front.
Sample Language for Job Advertisement-Welcoming Broad Application from Qualified Candidates
Advertise in multiple places, including outlets geared towards scholars of historically underrepresented identities.
Advertise through Lehigh's Alumni networks, including BALANCE and Lehigh Alumni Pride Association, by contacting Miguel Rivera, Associate Director, Diversity Programs - firstname.lastname@example.org and copying Yen DeBellis email@example.com
Decide when and how to ask for the applicant's experience and committment to inclusive excellence. "A Contributions to Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity" Statement may be requested as part of the cover letter or as a stand alone document. If you opt to wait, please seek this information during the phone interview and follow-up during the oncampus interview. Here is a brief guide on understanding the purpose and concepts for evaluating a statement on contributions to DI&E.
- Because faculty are often recruited to the pool via personal networks, your recruitment plan documentation should have a list the women and underrepresented colleagues at other institutions to contact informing them of the search. You should identify at least five women and five minority scholars outside of Lehigh. As appropriate (e.g., for some Professor of Practice positions), this list will also include contacts in industry, professional organizations, etc.
Build long term relationships with diverse institutions. Unhook the bias that pedigree predicts potential. Pedigree bias confers cognitive, cultural or moral qualities without any effort of the candidate. Hiring people trained alike may not be good for creativiey and innovation.
- Other ideas on how to broaden the pool compiled by UNCC
- Broaden the Pool: sample letter asking colleagues to help identify applicants
Other publications and organizations (Wisconsin)
Research shows bias creeps in when important decisions need to be made and when time is scarce. Evaluation stages of faculty hiring typically fit both criteria, and it is useful to build in strategies to minimize unintended negative consequences of bias in the evaluation process. Thus, the following resources can be used as evidence for those biases and as tools to intervene along the evaluation process.
- Review reserach on biases in evaluation
- Understand bias related to disabilities and our obligation to reasonably accommodate applicants
- Understanding bias in letters of recommendation-Updated Fall 2018
- If you have asked for the applicants' or finalists' contributions to creating an inclusive and equitable classroom and research environment, consider these earlier rather than later, as evidence indicates this diversifies the finalists.
- Brief guide on understanding the purpose and concepts for evaluating a statement on contributions to DI&E
- Reviewing Applicants: Research on Bias and Assumptions- University of Wisconsin Brochure
- Another summary of critical concepts to evaluating candidates
- Stick to the Criteria: Sample Candidate Evaluation Tool
- Candidate Evaluation Form: Another option for sticking to criteria
- UC Berkeley overarching rubric covering Research, Teaching, Service, and Contributions to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
- Detailed UC Berkely rubric to assess Contributions to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
- Candidate Evaluation: Tips and Rubrics
- Evaluate one criterion at a time, as opposed to one candidate at a time
- Evaluate inclusively at each stage, thinking about what attributes in the application merit progress according to the criteria.
- Rate against the criteria, not ranking candidates against each other
- Understand that interdisciplnary and collaborative research takes longer and is harder to evaluate. Review committees tend to under-credit women and people of color regarding their leadership, contributions and independence in producing scholarship through these modes.
Once permission to interview is granted, whether offsite, by phone, or the final on campus interview, there are guidelines on how to execute an effective interview process. Remember some questions are illegal, and the candidates are interviewing Lehigh just as much as Lehigh is interviewing them.
Guidelines for Interview Questions is a useful reminder about questions that are and are not OK to ask. Remember these apply even at off-campus meals and in virtual interviews.
Provide the candidate a copy of or a link to the Resources and Information for Faculty Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, Support and Success and other materials important to understanding the college, departent and program. Ideally this should be shared before the candidate arrives in town; if physical copies or tri-folders are used, you can have it available at the hotel upon check-in.
Aim to conduct a structured type of interview so that all candidates experience similar questions, meetings, breaks, interview duration, etc.
Interview, whenever possible, in pairs.
When developing the final interview agenda, provide the candidate the option to interact with other offices and people by sharing this list
Consider the timing of the candidate's talks: one suggestion of scheduling the research talk early in the day may reduce repetition of standard information by the candidate and builds on shared experience by attending the talk.
Ensure individuals on the agenda are aware of the position description, have the candidate's CV, and are aware of illegal questions.
Here are some additional tips about maintaining consistency and equity in virtual interviews from HERC and UMBC. Review best practices for inclusive online meetings and presentations and LTS tips for hosts.
Be sure to use the correct name pronunciation and pronouns of the interviewee. If you aren't sure, you can ask and include the information in the materials used by all those meeting with the candidate.
Roll out the red carpet, allow ample time to travel from one location to another and for meals and for bio-breaks. Have a plan to escort the candidate from location to location.
Request to Schedule ~30 min. Faculty Success, Diversity, Inclusion Resources Meeting. This session, which is not evaluated, provides the candidate an opportunity to ask any question, to go over the Tri-Folder, and to learn about key University & Diversity-Inclusion-Equity Resources. To arrange this meeting, use this link: and await confirmation.
Interrupting bias in the faculty search process: Free video & facilitation guide of a search committee in progress (University of Washington ADVANCE, 2010) *AVAILABLE in Lehigh ADVANCE Office!
Write ADVANCE to invite us to your department or search committee meeting
After the search committee makes its recommendation, usually the department chair and dean are involved in negotiating and closing the search.
- Documentation must be collected, including the number women and underrepresented minority candidates who were part of the process at each stage of the search (full applicant pool, semifinalists (long list/phone interview), finalists (short list/campus visit), final offer, accepted/declined).
- Use the form(s) described in the Checklist to properly finalize the search and submit any explanations for declined offers.
- Negotiation: remember that there can be stereotypes and biases associated with negotiations as well. Provide candidates full information about graduate student support, travel stipends and other components of the start up package.
- Attend a Lessons Learned session and share what worked and what helps us do better.
- Follow-up in a timely manner, even for people who are no longer being considered for the position.
Once an individual accepts a Lehigh position in writing, keep in touch with them to support their transition.
Much has been written about onboarding; keep these principles in mind
- Principles of our Equitable Community
- Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity
- Resources for Faculty Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Success
- Work-Life Balance
- Dual Career
- Map of the Lehigh Valley and Communities
- Lehigh Valley Visitors Guide
- Lehigh University Virtual Tour (Admissions)
- Lehigh University Organizational Chart