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Faculty Recruitment & Retention Practice Initiative

Action Item (as stated with DEI strategic plan launch in 2016)

Through this campuswide initiative to increase best-practice-based faculty recruitment and mentorship, the university will maximize the likelihood that broadly diverse, well-qualified candidates for faculty positions are identified, recruited, retained and promoted. These efforts will expand utilization of the U-M ADVANCE Program’s STRIDE (Strategies and Tactics for Recruiting to Improve Diversity and Excellence) training among hiring managers and search committees, and will establish guidelines and support for high-quality faculty mentorship.

Progress Update

In response to the pandemic, the program’s STRIDE Committee pivoted to deliver its faculty recruitment workshop remotely, settling on a format that included a synchronous and interactive Zoom workshop along with an extensive reading list and additional materials provided via Canvas. New material on subfield bias and prestige bias reflected the committee’s continuing emphasis on factors that can act to exclude marginalized candidates. Despite the hiring freeze, attendance was high. In all, 253 faculty and 55 staff who support faculty searches attended a STRIDE workshop.   

Launch Committees

Launch Committees provide individualized support and guidance to new junior faculty as they begin their careers at Michigan.  The ADVANCE Program oversees committees in CoE, SI and LSA. To date, 312 new faculty have been “launched,” with a record number of 67 faculty “launched” in AY21 alone. Committees functioned well in a remote format and provided critical assistance to new faculty navigating the pandemic while in their first year on the job. The program is also operating in SMTD and several of the health sciences schools and colleges, with ADVANCE functioning as a collaborator. While aimed at faculty success and retention, the program also contributes positively to faculty recruitment, climate and the development of mentoring skills. 

RISE (Respect in Striving for Excellence) Committee

The ADVANCE Program’s RISE committee pivoted to deliver its workshop on unit climate, Raising Respect, in a synchronous and interactive Zoom format with additional materials provided via Canvas. The workshop includes three sections: research findings on workplace climates for (dis)respect, the faculty workplace climate at Michigan and the role of leaders in fostering a more respectful work environment. Attendees delved further into their concerns during online “climate coffees.” In Year Five, 227 faculty and senior staff attended a RISE workshop. The committee is now preparing web-based materials for attendees with examples that focus on levers for shifting workplace climate, as introduced in the workshop.

Studies to better understand faculty departure and retention

Our exit interview study (Exit Interview Study of Tenured/Tenure-Track Faculty:  Exploring Factors Related to Job Satisfaction and Departure, or see a short summary Why Do Tenure Track Faculty Leave U-M?) describes key factors that influence faculty departure, including unit climate, research support and resources, opportunities for mentoring and leadership and family needs.  Focus groups addressing issues relating to BIPOC faculty additionally point to high levels of service, including so-called “invisible” service, challenges navigating racism on campus and pressure to secure an outside offer. The dual goal of this research is to better address faculty concerns and to improve retention. 

Faculty equity and COVID-19

In Year Five, we reported on equity concerns for faculty that were exacerbated by the pandemic and made recommendations to campus (Faculty Equity & COVID-19:  The problem, the evidence and recommendations). This work was based in part on our survey of U-M faculty (The Effect of COVID-19 on UM Faculty Life:  Results from a Limited Survey, 2020) as well as the broader developing literature and evidence that the pandemic is exerting differential impacts on faculty. Among the recommendations is that metrics be developed to assess the pandemic’s impact on faculty by race, gender and rank. Other recommendations highlight ways to support faculty in their research, teaching, service and caregiver roles.

Responsibility: Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, ADVANCE Program