The Senate Source

August 2016

Senate Recommends Practices for Diversifying the Faculty

Campuses are reviewing best practice recommendations from the Academic Senate for recruiting, retaining, and promoting a diverse faculty that focus on hiring more President’s Postdoctoral Fellows (PPFs) and Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellows (CFs) into UC faculty positions.

The recommendations were developed by the University Committee on Affirmative Action, Diversity, and Equity (UCAADE) and endorsed unanimously by the Academic Council in January.

On July 12, 2016, Provost Aimée Dorr forwarded the recommendations to campus Executive Vice Chancellors and Vice Provosts with an accompanying memo conveying her own support and encouragement for reviewing the effectiveness of current hiring practices and adopting new practices to increase the hiring of underrepresented minority faculty members at UC.

The recommendations describe how the University can make better use of the PPF and CF programs by implementing more standardized processes across campuses for hiring via the programs.

The President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program (PPFP) was established in 1984 to encourage women and minority scholars to pursue academic careers at UC. The program offers fellowships, professional development and mentoring to outstanding scholars in all fields whose research, teaching, and service contribute to diversity and equal opportunity. The Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Programs are locally-administered and funded programs similar to the PPFP. The programs are highly competitive; 15 two-year PPFP fellowships are awarded each year. UCOP provides five years of partial salary support to a campus that hires a fellow. In addition, in 2014 President Napolitano initiated a hiring incentive that provides start-up funds for faculty hired in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

The best practices for hiring from the PPF and CF programs include recommendations to always consider the pool of available fellows in faculty searches, actively solicit applications from eligible fellows, increase early recruitment of fellows into faculty positions, include fellows in unranked shortlists of candidates from search committees, use Early Career Target of Excellence search waivers to hire fellows, and increase communication from campus leaders to faculty hiring units regarding the possibility of applying search waivers to Fellows. 

Council shared UCAADE’s concern that underrepresented minority faculty hiring at UC has not met the goals established by the President’s Task Force on Faculty Diversity in 2006, most glaringly in the STEM fields. The success of the PPF and CF programs in promoting a pipeline for URM and women faculty is well-documented; however, while 67% of fellows enter a tenure-track faculty position, only 32% do so at a UC campus. The Senate believes the recommended practices will strengthen the pipeline, help keep more fellows at UC, and better support UC’s interconnected missions of excellence and diversity.

In addition to the proposals for standardized practices for hiring from the pool of PPFP and CFP fellows, the recommendations included suggestions for additional practices that would enhance opportunities for hiring underrepresented minorities and women at UC. The recommendations advised that all faculty search committees be diverse, that search committee members be required to complete training in diversity offered by UC, and that department chair and dean administrative reviews include metrics for assessing progress toward diversity goals as outlined in campus strategic plans.