Outreach and Advertising
The creation of a broad and diverse pool of prospects is an essential first step in the faculty recruitment process. Effective searches are proactive searches in which the committee energetically seeks out promising prospects. No one should assume that every strong candidate automatically applies to Northwestern. Particularly in fields in which they are in great demand, excellent female and underrepresented minority scholars may not approach a department or school regarding a possible opening. Therefore, search committees should engage in outreach efforts that will attract applications from women, people of color, and others who would add diversity.
Several suggested outreach strategies are outlined in the following sections:
- Since effective recruitment is often a multi-year process, an important strategy is to identify promising graduate students during their graduate study, as opposed to waiting until they are on the market. This can be accomplished through contact with colleagues at other institutions, participation in targeted conferences, and visits to sister schools for seminars. Invite promising graduate students to Northwestern to attend conferences and other events. Compile a running list of promising prospects even though no position may be immediately open.
- Invite scholars from other institutions, especially female and underrepresented minority scholars, to participate in department-sponsored symposia or visiting professorships. A one-year professorship could strengthen the link between Northwestern and a similar department at another institution, and/or could provide an established scholar with the opportunity to consider a more permanent position at Northwestern.
- Schools and departments are encouraged to take a long-term view of faculty hiring. For example, if a department or school anticipates multiple vacancies over several years, it might raise with the dean the possibility of conducting a “cluster” search in which several persons are recruited simultaneously, potentially enhancing the likelihood that one or more of these persons might accept an offer.
- Although Northwestern does not customarily hire its own PhDs immediately following graduate study, departments should consider inviting back promising graduates who have established themselves at other institutions. Information regarding underrepresented minority graduate alumni is available from The Graduate School’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion.
- Consider a postdoctoral position as a transition to a continuing appointment. The offer of an initial year in a non-tenure-track postdoctoral position with reduced teaching expectations may be very attractive to a junior scholar who has completed graduate study with unusual speed.
- Approach female and underrepresented minority candidates even if you think they are unavailable, perhaps due to family constraints or a partner’s employment. Search committees should enlist the assistance of the administration if a candidate seems disinclined to participate in a search because of family or partner constraints.
- Consider targeting scholars at institutions that do not offer some of the advantages that Northwestern does, such as location in a major urban area, strong interdisciplinary programs, or access to graduate students. Target prospects who might find that Northwestern offers special opportunities to have impact on their fields. Consider possibilities for joint appointments, within or across schools.
- Bring to the attention of the school dean opportunities that may not have been foreseen when the search was initiated—especially when the prospective appointment would address school and institutional priorities such as the building of particular disciplines, interdisciplinary collaboration, or the hiring of women and underrepresented minorities.
- Consult with Northwestern faculty colleagues (especially female and underrepresented minority colleagues) for advice on effective outreach strategies. For strategies to develop a diverse applicant pool, search committee chairs are encouraged to contact Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, Associate Provost for Faculty (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Jabbar R. Bennett, Associate Provost for Diversity & Inclusion (email@example.com).
- Use your networks of colleagues and scholars at other institutions as a starting point for identifying potential candidates for a position (but also be creative in going beyond known networks). Committee chairs might send letters to chairs of departments in the relevant field, inviting them to forward the position announcement to their colleagues, advanced graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars. In making these contacts, committee chairs should invite suggestions of candidates who are underrepresented in the field (even those who may not be immediately available for a position).
- Use Northwestern colleagues and graduate students to market open positions. Ask them to take along copies of the job announcement when they travel to academic conferences and meetings. Encourage them to seek out candidates other than those who are most like themselves.
There are numerous online resources that search committees can utilize to search for PhD students and postdoctoral scholars from groups that are historically underrepresented in higher education. A non-exclusive sample of these resources is described below.
- The Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) Directory of Professorial Advancement Initiative (PAI) Participants. The PAI is an NSF-funded initiative to prepare and train underrepresented minority postdoctoral scholars in STEM disciplines for transition to tenure track faculty positions within BTAA institutions. The PAI website provides a listing of PAI participants in an online, searchable database available only to BTAA faculty and administrators. The database is accessible by logging on to BTAA's identity system, which is accessible using a Northwestern NetID and password.
The BTAA also maintains a publicly-available directory of doctoral degree recipients who are members of underrepresented groups in higher education and are alumni of BTAA member institutions.
- Future Faculty Database. Supported by NSF funding, Rice University and Northeastern University established Future Faculty Workshops designed to encourage women and underrepresented minorities to consider and pursue academic careers. The two institutions later created the Future Faculty Database to assist universities to diversify their faculties. The searchable database contains application entries and curriculum vitae of prospective PhDs and postdoctoral scholars interested in academic careers.
- Faculty for the Future (FFF) Database. FFF is an initiative sponsored by the GE Foundation and the Women in Engineering Programs & Advocates Network (WEPAN). It is designed to increase the number of women and underrepresented minorities in engineering, related sciences, and business. FFF’s website is dedicated to linking candidates searching for faculty, postdoctoral, graduate research and other academic positions with universities across the country. University faculty and administrators can register with the site to access the database and post position openings.
- Directory of Ford Foundation Fellows. This online, searchable directory provides information on Ford Foundation Postdoctoral fellowship and Ford Foundation Predoctoral and Dissertation fellowship recipients. It is designed to serve as a resource for universities seeking to diversify their faculties, underrepresented minority students seeking mentors, and scholars interested in collaboration. The database only includes recipients of fellowships administered by the National Resource Council.
- American Association of University Women (AAUW) Directory of Fellowship Recipients. AAUW is a national grassroots organization that works to improve the lives of women and their families. It provides fellowships and grants to support women in their professional and academic careers. The online, searchable directory lists fellowship and grant recipients since 2004.
- National Registry of Diverse & Strategic Faculty. Texas Tech University established this registry in 1985 to connect diverse candidates with tenure-track faculty positions at colleges and universities across the country. For an annual subscription fee, higher education institutions can post open faculty positions and search a candidate database.
- National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE). NADOHE supports the efforts of diversity officers to lead higher education institutions in initiatives to promote inclusive excellence. Northwestern is an institutional member of NADOHE.
Additionally, diversity recruiting organizations such as Minority Postdoc, Nemnet, and IMDiversity will, in exchange for a fee, post academic positions on their websites and provide access to underrepresented minority candidate vitae. Information on these and other advertisers is provided in the following section.
Search committees should define and advertise searches broadly enough so that outstanding female and underrepresented minority prospects can be fully considered, even if not in the precise sub-discipline initially envisaged in the search. Narrowly defined searches may exclude women or underrepresented minorities, or may limit the committee’s ability to consider candidates with a different profile who nonetheless qualify for the position.
Limiting advertising to traditional publications may result in a homogeneous pool of applicants. Advertising in a variety of publications not only will help enlarge the pool of candidates but it will convey the commitment of the department and the school to recruiting women, people of color, and others who would add diversity to the faculty. A list of Advertising Venues for Faculty Recruitment is provided here as a resource. Northwestern’s Office of Human Resources also maintains general and industry-specific lists of diversity recruitment resources.
Search committees should post the approved position announcement on the department or school website, as well as through the eRecruit module in Northwestern's MyHR system. Any position announcement submitted through MyHR will also be posted publicly on the Northwestern Careers webpage and the Greater Chicago Midwest Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (GCM-HERC) job board, and preapproved external venues.Search committees should ensure that their advertisements comply with federal requirements applicable to the hiring of non-U.S. citizens or permanent residents. To meet these requirements, the advertisement must (i) list the position title, minimum qualifications, and principal duties; and (ii) be published in a website or publication that is national in scope and in the print or electronic version of a professional journal. In addition, Northwestern requires search committees to advertise the position in at least one print publication.
Search committee members with questions about posting job advertisements to publications or websites targeted to diverse populations should contact Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, Associate Provost for Faculty (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Jabbar R. Bennett, Associate Provost for Diversity & Inclusion (email@example.com).