A renewed focus on diversity in faculty recruitment

UC Davis embraces the philosophy that the world’s toughest problems can only be solved by people with a wide variety of perspectives, and encourages colleges and schools across campus to infuse their recruitments with new faculty members. with a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.

The ensuing new faculty members, 100 to begin with, will bring their diverse, cross-disciplinary approaches to UC Davis’s grand challenges – serious issues such as sustainable food systems, reimagining the land-grant university , the climate crisis and emerging health threats.

“At UC Davis, we recognize that only by bringing together diverse researchers and scholars can we solve society’s greatest challenges and build a stronger, more equitable future,” said Chancellor Gary S. May. .

The Grand Challenges program is designed to encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration around complex and intractable problems, dubbed “thorny problems” by the office of the provost and executive vice-chancellor, which organizes the new recruiting campaign. This term has been used in many fields since the 1970s and describes problems that often don’t have a single solution, Michael Rios, vice provost for public scholarship and engagement, written in the International Journal of Community Well-Being last year, noting how the term has evolved.

“Today, many problems associated with pernicious problems remain, while new problems have arisen based on a better understanding of the interdependence of social and ecological systems,” he wrote.

As always, colleges and schools will oversee the hiring process, but will now receive additional assistance from the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, which promotes UC Davis. with potential new faculty members at conferences and other events.

They’ll be armed with freshly crafted marketing materials and facts about how UC Davis is committed to promoting diverse viewpoints — like current faculty members who job applicants can speak with in confidence during the application process. hiring, and the fact that all candidates for professorships must listing their past, present and future contributions to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Researchers ask the best questions and arrive at the best answers to our toughest problems when we approach them from diverse perspectives, backgrounds and disciplines,” said Mary Croughan, Provost and Executive Vice-Chancellor. “Hiring diverse faculty who are committed to solving tough problems is the hallmark of this critical hiring initiative.”

A long-standing commitment to diversity

The university has a long history of encouraging diverse perspectives among faculty members: UC Davis is considered one of the first universities to form faculty search committees to be aware of their own implicit biases , beginning in 2011. The following year, the National Science Foundation awarded a five-year, $3.7 million ADVANCE grant to UC Davis aimed at increasing the participation of women, especially Latinas, in careers. academics in STEM: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.


This grant led to the expansion of anti-bias workshops for research committees, as well as the creation of the Center for Advancing Multicultural Perspectives on Science, or CAMPOS, now part of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; this office was created in 2018.

“UC Davis has a rich history of recruiting and supporting faculty members who bring a wide range of perspectives and experiences, and we know that our university will continue to be strengthened by the presence of new faculty who will join us. “said Renetta Garrison. Tull, Vice Chancellor of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “I remember my first job as a professor [at another university] and how important it was for me, as an African American woman in science and engineering, to feel welcomed by my colleagues and comfortable in my new city. I want all of our new incoming faculty to be thrilled to call UC Davis home.

She cited the benefits of on-campus recruitment initiatives and retention centers, as well as efforts overseen by her office, such as the Center for Advancing Multicultural Perspectives on the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, or CAMPSSAand Advancethe name UC Davis has given to the ongoing initiative to gain federal Hispanic-serving institution status.

UC Davis’ long-standing commitment to diversity, equity, and will continue long after these 100 faculty members are hired, said Laura Cerruti, chief impact officer at the Office of Diversity, equity and inclusion.

“I don’t see the need for it to go away,” Cerruti said. “To make progress, we need to take bold steps like this and then sustain the effort over time.”

UC system seeking diverse faculty growth

Adding more faculty members with unique perspectives also furthers a goal of the University of California system.

“UC must grow and diversify the faculty to strengthen the university’s teaching, research, and public service mission and support UC’s undergraduate and graduate students,” the UC system said in its annual accountability report this summer. By adopting his CPU 2030 initiative in 2019, it called for 1,100 new faculty members in the UC system by 2022, but is only about a third of the way to that goal.

The report noted challenges, including reduced hiring during the pandemic and an increase in the number of underrepresented faculty leaving their jobs. While there is still work to be done, the UC system is committing resources to achieve its growth goals: this year’s state budget includes an agreement for 5% increases to the UC base budget in each of the next five years, “with the understanding that (the UC system) will focus resources on achieving UC’s 2030 goals, including growing and diversifying faculty and closing student achievement gaps.” students.

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