Affirming and Welcoming Connections
Prospective colleagues were missing opportunities to connect with Diversity and Inclusion resources and
colleagues prior to accepting an offer for a position.
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) realized last year that several candidates for staff and faculty positions were interested in connecting with ODI staff and resources. Unfortunately, there was no clear to way to determine if or where a prospective colleague wanted to visit until they had arrived on campus, and by then it was usually too late to change the interview itinerary. These connections would have been critical to answering questions around campus climate, professional development opportunities, and establishing relevant networks, meaning that opportunities for affirming and welcoming connections were missed.
In order to increase a sense of belonging and agency for prospective candidates, each academic or administrative unit now includes a “Welcome Letter from ODI” when they notify all candidates who’ve been granted an on-campus interview. Search committee and/or department chairs are given copies of the letter at the onset of the academic year, or as new vacancies are announced. In the letter itself, interviewees are provided with an overview of diversity, inclusion, and equity efforts on campus, as well as a synopsis of ODI and related Core Centers (specific hyperlinks to each home page). Finally, and most importantly, prospective applicants are encouraged to work with their University contact to include ODI staff members and spaces in their on-campus interview itineraries.
Although it’s too early in this hiring cycle to measure direct outcomes, proof of concept has been positive.
First, 80% of searches where on-campus interviews have occurred included ODI connections as a part of the itinerary. In every case where an applicant was able to meet with an ODI staff member, appreciation and meaningful impacts were rshared.