Campus moves to enact new diversity measures

By Diane Ainsworth, Public Affairs

02 May 2001 | A high-level campus task force working to increase gender and ethnic diversity on the faculty has recommended to Chancellor Berdahl a comprehensive set of measures for implementation in the next fiscal year.

The recommendations by the Chancellor’s Task Force on the Recruitment and Retention of Women and Underrepresented Minority Faculty coincide with the release this week of a state audit of University of California hiring practices, initiated by Sen. Jackie Speier.

Berdahl will implement a plan to improve gender and ethnic diversity based on the recommendations and audit findings.

The task force was appointed in February by Berdahl to develop new plans and focus existing measures to increase women and minority faculty hiring. The recommendations focus on three areas of improvement: giving search committees better and more timely information about available candidate pools; offering more training in how to conduct comprehensive searches; and creating more openings of interest to women and minorities.

Specific recommendations include:

• Reorganization and expansion of the Faculty Equity Office and development of improved applicant pool data and comparative performance data indicative of Berkeley’s academic markets.

• Improved training of department chairs and deans in faculty hiring practices and implementation this fall of a mandatory recruitment workshop for new faculty and affirmative action officers.

• More careful tracking of new faculty hires and use of a new online Human Resources applicant-tracking database to monitor yearly additions to the faculty, department by department.

• Use of two newly implemented programs funded by the UC Office of the President — the Faculty Fellows program and
a program of start-up funds for faculty recruitment — to enhance faculty gender and diversity.

• Increasing the percentage of junior faculty appointments, where a preponderance of women and ethnic minority faculty can be found.

“I’m very pleased by the work of the task force. It is imperative that we engage our faculty and graduate students in ongoing efforts to determine the underlying barriers to higher education,” Berdahl said, “and that we help state legislators identify viable solutions for the next generation of faculty and college-bound students.”

The recommendations dovetail with those of a second report just submitted by the Academic Senate Committee on the Status of Women and Ethnic Minorities, said Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Paul Gray.

“We are pleased that the two reports contain almost identical recommendations,” he said. “It reinforces the actions that we are about to take in both the near term and those actions we plan to implement over the next year.”

Among the top priorities is reorganization of the Faculty Equity Associates Office, which will be renamed the Office for Faculty Equity Services. Its director will become an associate vice provost and the office will add an additional fulltime representative, Gray said. An expanded staff will be able to more carefully monitor the progress of faculty search committees and offer departments more assistance in their outreach and advertising efforts to reach minority and women applicants.

“With the new Office for Faculty Equity Services, we will be able to generate improved applicant pool data that reflects the academic market Berkeley faces,” said Jan de Vries, vice provost for academic affairs and faculty welfare, who oversees the Faculty Equity Office. “The new online Human Resources Management System will give us real-time tracking data so that we can monitor the success of our faculty searches.”

Currently, many minority and women faculty are just beginning their careers, de Vries said, and appointments at the assistant professor level can tap this pool of young scholars. Campus plans to raise the numbers of junior faculty will have a positive impact on the campus, including its diversity.

At present, only 14 percent of ladder-rank Berkeley faculty are assistant professors, the recruitment and retention task force report stated. Six years ago, this percentage was nearly 18 percent, and 20 years ago, it was more than 20 percent. Even now, it is nearly 2 percent below the average for the UC system.

The task force report also recommends using senior appointments to attract candidates of national stature, especially in fields that lack diversity, such as engineering and science. The report also recommended that UC Office of the President programs such as the Faculty Enrichment Program and the Faculty Fellows program, now being implemented, be used to bring more new Ph.D. holders to the campus for two-year research and teaching appointments.

“These temporary appointments can be a tool for departments to lure promising candidates to campus and allow both them and us a chance to find out whether they would want to be considered for a future tenure-track position,” de Vries said.

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