Opportunity office seeks early input in faculty hiring process
with U.Va.'s Office
of Equal Opportunity Programs (EOP) early in the faculty hiring
process improves the search, according to the officials who head
the office's faculty recruiting and monitoring efforts.
Karen Holt and Robbie Greenlee, who joined the office this summer
as a compliance officer, want to be helpful, not play the heavy.
want to be viewed as very proactive," Holt said. "We don't
want to be viewed as the people who come in and tell you what we're
office must sign off on all faculty hires, and the best time to
contact it is in a search's beginning stages, rather than at the
end, Holt said.
can offer advice even before the beginning. This summer, EOP released
its updated 1998-99 Equal Opportunity Plan, and staffers are meeting
with deans and department heads to advise them on faculty search
procedures. In addition, the office produced a pamphlet on faculty
recruitment, spelling out the process and offering tips to make
it more successful.
goal is not to mandate hiring a woman or member of a minority group
for any specific job, Holt said. Instead, the EOP is emphasizing
broadening applicant pools, which she said is "the No. 1 obstacle"
to reaching diversity goals. Once such pools are put together, search
committees are free to choose the best candidates regardless of
race or gender, she said. Too often, she said, people leading searches
are content to limit their options to those with whom they are familiar.
"They think they know everybody, and the rest of this is just
to satisfy some silly bureaucratic requirement."
need for a more diverse faculty is real, according to the '98-99
plan. Comparing 1997-98 employment levels at U.Va. to the number
of women and minorities theoretically available in each segment
of the work force, it found that women are underrepresented in all
five areas of Arts & Sciences (arts and humanities, biological sciences,
foreign languages, physical sciences and social sciences), as well
as in the McIntire School of Commerce, the Curry School of Education,
the School of Law and the pre-clinical areas in the School of Medicine.
African Americans are underrepresented in Medicine's clinical disciplines.
study found similar deficits in non-faculty positions. Women were
underrepresented in technical and paraprofessional and some skilled
craft positions, while blacks were underrepresented in the executive/administrative/manager
level, and in some professional and secretarial/clerical fields.
deficits may grow larger. Holt's office is updating its formula
for determining the availability of women and minorities in the
workforce -- some of the numbers figured into the current calculations
are outdated -- and the results are expected to show even more diversity
among available workers, Holt said.
statistics can be misleading, Holt cautioned. "Anyone who looks
at only numbers and makes conclusions about effort is missing the
hopes to make that effort more efficient. One of her duties as the
compliance officer is to "offer suggestions, options and resources"
to search committees for seeking out women and minorities. She can
assist in writing up position requirements and advertisements with
an eye to attracting diverse applicant pools -- perhaps by lessening
or deleting unnecessarily onerous experience requirements, for example.
where to advertise can also be important, she said. While it is
easy to place a $700 ad in Black Issues in Higher Education, for
example, it might be more effective to spend $100 in postage to
send position announcements to selected institutions, or to professional
associations that have minority committees.
EOP's early involvement "allows you to identify what the objectives
are initially, rather than to be disappointed at the end of the
search," said Vice President for Student Affairs William W.
Harmon, who worked closely with the office in the recent search
for a new dean of students. That process ended up with four female
finalists, one of whom was an African American.
have found working with Karen and her staff to be most refreshing,
in that they demonstrate an unusual level of accessibility, a willingness
to be helpers in the process instead of being obstacles in the process,"
said Craig Littlepage, associate director of athletics. ³Itıs just
an unusual level of commitment to what they do and to provide themselves
Reisler, associate dean for administration at the Darden Graduate
School of Business Administration, says the school has had "a
good relationship" with the EOP office over the years. "It's
generally fairly routine and straight-forward. They have suggested
we use a couple of media we haven't used before, like the Web.
It has certainly helped provide more exposure."