Jan. 26, 2001
Back Issues
School plans expansion to address nursing shortage
P&T's White has 'interim' tag removed
In Memoriam


Study revealing land-use history of Grounds
Hoping to hammer out building costs, board suggests study
Pew funds new center
New leaders must be committed to carry out 2020 plans
Boosting student leaders
Hot Links - Status of searches
Faculty Actions
Colloquium series to focus on pragamatism
February is African-American Heritage Month
Second Graduate Research Fair set for Feb. 1-2
Stevenson studies children who remember past lives
Notable - awards and achievements of faculty and staff

Equal opportunity should be part of search process

Several months ago, President John T. Casteen III renewed the University's commitment to equal opportunity in announcing that minority hiring and other efforts would be considered in the performance evaluations of department chairs, directors and higher-level administrators.

"Increases in the number of women or minorities in areas where they had not been represented in large numbers is a factor to be considered in evaluating recruitment efforts, so long as it is understood that hiring decisions must be made independent of race or gender," say guidelines prepared by the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs.

"The Equal Opportunity Programs office's goals are designed to help fulfill the University's goal of finding the best person," said Karen Holt, EOP director. "It's recognizing what we need to do to keep up with the changing culture, the student body and the workforce," said Holt, whose office works closely with search committees and makes contact with the consultant firms assisting with searches. "We ask, are there things we can do to reach out to different groups? We want to make sure we're opening our doors wider."

Other University groups have echoed that concern. Two of the "charting diversity" roundtables sent letters to the president last month urging that the top-level searches "pay attention to diversity issues" in choosing their short lists of candidates for administrative and academic leadership positions, according to Marcia Day Childress, who co-chairs the leadership and governance group.

"Some people wouldn't necessarily think of U.Va. for a job right off or they're already in demand. In today's job market, you have to be more aggressive and creative," recommends Holt. Her office prepared the following list of efforts everyone can undertake.

Ten ways to make U.Va. the institution of choice for women and minorities

1. Talk about the value of diversity at every opportunity. Invite female and minority employees to meetings and events; showcase their efforts. Make a conscious effort to note where they are not present or represented and change that.

2. Network to identify qualified women and minorities when hiring. Find out where they are; contact them and invite them to apply. If they don't, find out why. Personal contacts work better than written.

3. Consider each vacancy from scratch. How could this position make a difference ence -- not just in the race or gender of the person who fills it, but in the type of person performing the function? In addition to professional qualifications, what personal qualities should that person bring to the workplace? State those in the ad.

4. Make candidates feel they are wanted. Prepare, double-check, accommodate. Gather information about Charlottesville to give them; ask if they have any questions or need specific information. Make it clear that we know we need to sell them on why they should come. Invite constituent groups (which might be more diverse than a search committee) to meet with them and give input on selection -- this can build networks later on. Don't subject them to meaningless courtesy interviews. Follow-up after their visit.

5. Negotiate to get good people. What will it take to make them pick us over other institutions?

6. After they are hired, make them feel welcome -- the work isn't over. Invite them to lunch, include them at meetings, talk to them about how things are going. Evaluate them honestly and constructively. If there are problems, identify them early and discuss how they can be fixed. Mentoring means helping people succeed.

7. Communicate openly and honestly about what is going on in your department and how decisions are made. Let them know that your practices are equitable and professional. Be consistent but not rigid -- if exceptions are warranted by the circumstances, explain why and document.

8. Encourage staff to attend and participate in diversity-related events. Attend them yourself. Talk about these events at staff meetings. Circulate announcements and pass on information.

9. Be considerate of family obligations and outside interests. Schedule meetings so they don't conflict with child care or family activities. Reward quality, not just quantity, of work. Encourage employees to have lives outside of work.

10. Promote tolerance and civility in word and deed, even when you think "no one's looking." If someone uses an offensive term in front of you, let them know you don't like it and don't want to hear it again.


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of the University of Virginia

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