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Recruiting and Hiring Diverse Faculty

Office of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation (OVPRI) Guide

“Our values place equity diversity and inclusion at the foundation of university life.”

President Mohammed Lachemi

Equity, diversity and inclusion are key to our success at Ryerson University for many reasons. Our students are best served by faculty and staff who reflect their diversity and diverse faculty are fundamental to innovation, teaching, scholarship and creative activities at the university.

We want all people on campus—faculty, staff and students—to feel they are a part of an inclusive, welcoming academic space.

Research has shown that diverse groups offer better outcomes, including that they focus more on facts, they process those facts more carefully and they are more innovative. This is why Department Hiring Committees (DHCs) need to include equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) when recruiting and selecting new faculty with different perspectives, experiences and knowledges. This guide provides EDI best practices for committees to incorporate into their processes.

What is EDI at Ryerson University?

Equity. We value the fair and just treatment of all community members through the creation of opportunities and the removal of barriers to address historic and current disadvantages for under-represented and marginalized groups.

Diversity. We value and respect diversity of knowledge, worldviews and experiences that come from membership in different groups, and the contribution that diversity makes to the learning, teaching, scholarly research and creative activities (SRC), and to the work environment.

Inclusion. We value the equitable, intentional and ongoing engagement of diversity within every facet of university life. It is the shared responsibility of all community members to foster a welcoming, supportive and respectful learning, teaching, research and work environment.

The Office of the Vice President, Equity and Community Inclusion (OVPECI)

OVPECI provides leadership, advocacy, and coordination to infuse equity, diversity, and inclusion throughout the entire campus and into every activity at the university. For DHCs, our goal is to help you find, attract and hire diverse faculty.

Before starting your diverse hiring process, it is essential for you to think about representation of diversity on the Department Hiring Committee.

What can you do?

Why?

Create a hiring committee with a diversity of knowledges, worldviews and experiences. Review provisions in the Ryerson Faculty Agreement that can assist with including diverse faculty on the hiring committee. Contact your HR consultant for more information.

Diverse hiring committees are more likely to identify excellence in different forms and can support the DHCs by eliminating or reducing bias and stereotyping in the hiring process. Evidence indicates that a diverse panel is more likely to hire a candidate from an under-represented group.

Consider engaging a senior committee member, who is knowledgeable about and appreciates the importance of diverse knowledges, worldviews and experiences, as the committee’s equity representative.

This person will help guide an inclusive process and can liaise with OVPECI for advice to bring back to the hiring committee.

Try to have representation from under represented equity groups in your department/school. Ryerson’s five equity groups are: women; racialized people; Aboriginal Peoples; persons with disabilities; and 2SLGBTQ+ people. Contact Tamar Myers from Research, Planning and Assessment in OVPECI to identify which groups are under represented in your department/school.

This will show candidates that Ryerson is a diverse, welcoming and inclusive campus.

Creating a diverse, inclusive environment doesn’t happen by chance. To create space that includes a diverse group of people, it is necessary that we are intentional and plan for diversity. DHC members should examine and challenge their attitudes, beliefs and practices, as well as what demonstrates excellence in teaching, SRC and service.

What can you do?

Why?

Reflect on the diversity of the current faculty and students:

  • Who’s included and who is missing in the department/school?
  • What are the university priorities? (e.g. Truth and Reconciliation Commission commitment to increasing Indigenous faculty.)
  • Are there any Black faculty?
  • Are there faculty with disabilities or 2SLGBTQ+ faculty?
  • Are approximately half of the faculty women?
  • How well does the faculty reflect the student population?

Need help? Contact Tamar Myers in OVPECI for diversity data on the representation of equity groups in your department or school and for students in your Faculty.

To create an inclusive hiring process, you need to develop targeted strategies.

Identify and incorporate EDI selection criteria into every phase of the hiring process, including the job posting, interview questions and other assessments, including:
  • Demonstrated ability to provide expertise, support and advice on inclusive
    curriculum and pedagogy, including Universal Design for Learning (UDL), critical perspectives, decolonizing the classroom, and more.
  • Demonstrated ability to engage and make learning accessible and inclusive for undergraduate and graduate students of different genders and races; with different cultures and religions; gender identities and sexual orientation; and learning, sensory and other disabilities.
  • Demonstrated ability to include diverse perspectives and experiences, and work with diverse communities, related to SRC activities.
  • Demonstrated experience creating opportunities for students from underrepresented groups, such as teaching and research assistant jobs, and amplifying the voices of scholars from underrepresented groups in the field.

It’s not just about hiring someone who identifies as part of an equity seeking group. The goal is to find a candidate who brings new perspectives, knowledges and experiences to enrich the work of the department or school. Candidates also need to have the skills to teach a diverse student population, to discuss challenging topics in the classroom, bring new and critical pedagogy to the classroom and more variety in course content.

This goes beyond advertising in different places—you need to seek out the talent. You also have to create that special Ryerson story that candidates can consider when deciding whether to apply.

You cannot hire high-quality, diverse faculty without first sourcing diverse groups of excellent candidates or without paying attention to your department/school culture and making sure it is inclusive, accessible and welcoming to people from underrepresented groups.

What can you do?

Why?

Use hiring committee and other school/ department networks—including Ryerson Community Networks—to identify candidates from under-represented groups to invite to apply.

These groups can help identify candidates from equity groups who are doing remarkable, ground-breaking work.

Advertise in publications targeted to scholars from equity seeking groups, e.g. women in STEM, Black scholars, etc. Your HR consultant and the Indigenous HR Lead can help to identify these publications to reach Indigenous candidates.

Scholars from equity groups may not see ads in mainstream publications. Additionally, by posting in targeted publications you are showing diverse and Indigenous candidates that you want to include them.

Look for diverse faculty at smaller, lesser known institutions who are doing exciting work and for rising stars, with diverse perspectives and thought, who can fully realize their potential at Ryerson.

Some innovative and exciting work may be overlooked if you assume that the best work is only done at Harvard, Stanford, McGill and similar better known institutions.

Go beyond your networks to identify key influencers, and engage them in active recruitment to reach diverse scholars who are ready to graduate, doing research as Post Doctoral Fellows or just starting out as new faculty in an institution.

Leaders doing ground breaking work may know of PhD students and Post Doctoral Fellows and new faculty who would be strong candidates.

Find the best candidates and offer equitable opportunities to all applicants by being aware of the biases and barriers and scoring EDI selection criteria.

What can you do?

Why?

Explore the Harvard Implicit Association tests, external link and review the OVPECI resource on identifying and counteracting implicit biases.

It is necessary to understand your biases and how they can affect your assessments without you being aware of it.

Use a structured method for assessing and rating candidates. Consider removing names of candidates and/or names of institutions at which they worked. Ask OVPECI for advice and resources.

To be consistent and remove implicit bias from the screening process.

Recognize and value different forms of scholarly work and not just the number of publications and citation indices, but consider work such as conference presentations, public policy contributions and creative works. There should be an understanding of scholarship for specific equity seeking groups. For example, for Indigenous scholars the most relevant journals for publication may not be peer reviewed, e.g. Native journals.

Consult with OVPECI and Tracey King, Ryerson’s Indigenous HR Lead to learn more.

There are a number of ways to create and disseminate knowledge, such as public policy consultation. The number of publications, citations and where the candidate was published are only proxies for excellence. Our best practice is to review publications and other forms of dissemination to assess research quality and contribution to the body of knowledge, rather than relying on proxies. 

Look at a variety of indicators of teaching excellence, including peer assessments, awards, teaching statement, updated pedagogical techniques and incorporation of Universal Design for Learning. Do not use student evaluations to assess teaching effectiveness.

Student teaching evaluations can reflect biases so it is important to look at a variety of indicators of teaching skill and currency.

Think about assessment criteria that values different career paths and experiences. Don’t focus on a typical, linear and uninterrupted career, but consider what non-academic, volunteer and other work can bring to teaching and SRC at the university, and look at the candidate’s experience in terms of blocks that contributed to their overall expertise.

Different paths can bring innovative ideas to the university.

 

Often the best candidates have many opportunities available to them, so it is important to demonstrate that Ryerson is the place where they will be valued and included, and can achieve their potential. We are not only assessing applicants, they are assessing us.

What can you do?

Why?

Ask about and provide accommodations and preferences requested by the candidate. In most cases, this is required by law under the Ontario Human Rights Code, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

 

It is the law and more importantly, the right thing to do. It is not enough to say we are open and inclusive, we need to show it at every stage of the hiring process.

Consider how individual and cultural differences can affect first impressions of candidates and trigger biases.

 

Hiring committees sometimes assess candidates based on what they see as self-confidence, enthusiasm, leadership and more, but those qualities may not be as apparent in people who are more reserved or who have different cultural values and norms, e.g. different views of what constitutes good leadership. Remember not everyone is comfortable with large group meet and greet events.

Some ways to make candidates feel welcome on campus include:

  • Ask the candidate what they would need to feel comfortable.
  • Invite faculty and/or community members with similar backgrounds, lived experiences and scholarship to meet and greet events, job talks and other gatherings.
  • Offer a desk or workspace for the candidate to use while they are here.

These candidates likely have other options available. When they are on campus, they are assessing Ryerson, our faculty, staff and our environment to see if they want to work here.

What can you do?

Why?

Ask questions about how their identity and/or experiences inform their teaching and research.

This demonstrates Ryerson’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. It can make candidates feel as though their knowledges, perspectives and lived experiences will be valued at the university.

Develop questions based on selection criteria, including EDI criteria, included in the posting. Use OVPECI suggested interview questions.

 

These questions will help you understand how the candidate’s diverse perspective, knowledges and experience can add value to the department/school.

OVPECI suggested interview questions

EDI

  1. Ryerson is highly committed to equity, diversity and inclusion in all of our activities on campus. Equity, Diversity and Inclusion are also the core values of Ryerson’s Academic Plan. What specific strategies have you used to infuse equity, diversity and inclusion into your work?
  2. Describe how you have created research and creative opportunities (graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research associates, research assistants, etc.) for people from under-represented groups, including women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, racialized people and people of all sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions?

Research/Creative Activities

  1. Could you comment on your research or creative collaborations? How do you plan to collaborate while at Ryerson? What role has diversity played in your research or creative collaborations?
  2. Describe any ties that your research or creative activities have or may have with industry and/or community partners.
  3. Describe how you have organized and implemented your research or creative activity projects. How would you hire and supervise people to create a team that would bring diverse perspectives and experiences to the work. How would you include representation from under represented equity seeking groups and foster a culture of respect, equity and inclusion?
  4. What strategies do you use to effectively balance a busy teaching, research and service load, and how do you build in time to stay current?

Teaching

  1. What experience do you have teaching undergraduate and graduate courses? What courses would you like to teach at Ryerson? What experience do you have teaching students with diverse backgrounds, experiences and worldviews?
  2. Describe your most difficult teaching experience. What happened? What was the impact of your actions on you and the students?
  3. What experience do you have teaching students with diverse backgrounds, experiences and worldviews?
  4. What is your experience in developing new programs and/or new courses? What obstacles did you overcome? What were the results?

Service

  1. What have you done recently, outside of research and   teaching, to contribute to your profession (organizing conferences, etc.)? What have you done recently, outside of research and teaching, to contribute to the community, both inside and outside of the university?
  2. If hired, then what service contributions can you make to the Department and to Ryerson?

You’ve found one or two excellent candidates for the position. The final steps to hiring include reference checks, recommending a candidate to the Dean and refining your hiring process for the next cycle.

What can you do?

Why?

Ask specific questions from referees that can be provided in writing or phone/in person discussion. Talking with referees allows for probing and supplementary questions that can provide a fuller understanding of candidates’ qualifications.

Evidence shows that unconscious biases are reflected in typical reference letters provided for candidates from equity seeking groups.

Take care in using student evaluations. Use other evidence of teaching expertise such as peer evaluations, awards and other evidence of teaching skills. Student evaluations should not be used to assess teaching effectiveness. When reviewing student evaluations, look at the frequency distribution and not just averages.

Bias can also be found in student evaluations of lecturers from equity seeking groups and/or who challenge student worldviews.

Consider and value the diverse perspectives, knowledges and experiences that candidates can bring to enrich and build on the existing work of the department, school or Faculty and whether candidates reflect the student body. Recommend to the Dean, when relatively equal, offering the job to the candidate from an under-represented equity seeking group in the department/school (usually within 10%).

Diversity and inclusion is tied to innovation, research excellence and student learning and success.

 

Ask interviewed candidates to provide feedback on the process and suggestions for improvement.

 

There is always room to improve. Candidates will see areas where we can make things better for the next hiring round.

We know that as a DHC member your role is not about retention, but you have just participated in a process that will bring new colleagues to the university. The goal is to ensure the new candidate has a positive experience at Ryerson so they can contribute to the work of the school or department.

What can you do?

Why?

Help your colleague to make connections with community members who may have similar backgrounds, experience and scholarship.

After spending your time and effort finding the right candidate, you want them to succeed and that often depends on how included they feel and what connections they make with other faculty and community members. This will enhance collegiality in the department.

Think about collaborations for research and creative activities with the new faculty member.

 

Enrich your SRC work by including the new perspectives, knowledges and experiences your new hire brings.

Let them know about the Ryerson Community Networks so they can connect with faculty and staff from their communities.

This will help build a sense of community at the university and create long-lasting connections.