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Title: An Exploratory Study of Intentionality Toward Diversity in STEM Faculty Hiring
Despite efforts over the past few decades to promote diversity and foster inclusive campus climates, there is still underrepresentation of Blacks/ African Americans, Latinx/Hispanics, and Native Americans (including Native Hawaiians and Alaska Natives) within the STEM professoriate nationwide. For students who are members of these groups, the culturally isolating experience this deficit creates can weaken one's academic self-perception, and hinder performance in STEM disciplines. This paper explores the relationship between intentionality towards diversity and inclusion in faculty job postings and corresponding faculty demographics at a variety of US postsecondary institutions. The research questions we are investigating are: •In what ways are diversity and inclusion implicitly and explicitly addressed in the evaluated job postings? •Does intentionality towards diversity and inclusion in job postings vary based on the type of position advertised (i.e., tenured/tenure track versus non-tenure-track) or institution type (i.e., Basic Carnegie Classification)? Using HigherEdJobs.com, we conducted an advanced search of all open science and engineering faculty positions containing the keywords "data science", "data engineering", "data analysis", or "data analytics." Each result posted in September 2019 that advertised a full-time tenured/tenure-track or non-tenure track faculty appointment for at least one academic year at a US college or university was recorded. All qualifying job postings were qualitatively analyzed for active, intentional recruitment of URM candidates. Intentionality towards diversity and inclusion varied significantly across job postings. While some had no reference to diversity beyond a required one-sentence equal employment opportunity (EEO) statement, others explicitly addressed inclusion within the announcements, and still others required a standalone diversity statement as part of a complete application. The results will help to inform strategies for recruiting URM faculty in STEM disciplines, which may lead to improved opportunities to create cultures of inclusion and support for diverse students (undergraduate and graduate) and postdoctoral fellows.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1916093
NSF-PAR ID:
10162748
Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Date Published:
Journal Name:
American Society of Engineering Education
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. Abstract Background

    The lack of racial diversity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines is perhaps one of the most challenging issues in the United States higher education system. The issue is not only concerning diverse students, but also diverse faculty members. One important contributing factor is the faculty hiring process. To make progress toward equity in hiring decisions, it is necessary to better understand how applicants are considered and evaluated. In this paper, we describe and present our study based on a survey of current STEM faculty members and administrators who examined applicant qualifications and characteristics in STEM faculty hiring decisions.

    Results

    There are three key findings of the present research. First, we found that faculty members placed different levels of importance on characteristics and qualifications for tenure track hiring and non-tenure track hiring. For example, items related to research were more important when evaluating tenure track applicants, whereas items related to teaching and diversity were more important when evaluating non-tenure track applicants. Second, faculty members’ institutional classification, position, and personal identities (e.g., gender, race/ethnicity) had an impact on their evaluation criteria. For instance, we found men considered some diversity-related items more important than women. Third, faculty members rated the importance of qualifications with diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)-related constructs significantly lower than qualifications that did not specify DEI-related constructs, and this trend held for both tenure track and non-tenure track faculty hiring.

    Conclusions

    This study was an attempt to address the issue of diversity in STEM faculty hiring at institutions of higher education by examining how applicant characteristics are considered and evaluated in faculty hiring practices. Emphasizing research reputation and postdoctoral reputation while neglecting institutional diversity and equitable and inclusive teaching, research, and service stunt progress toward racial diversity because biases—both implicit and explicit, both positive and negative—still exist. Our results were consistent with research on bias in recruitment, revealing that affinity bias, confirmation bias, and halo bias exist in the faculty hiring process. These biases contribute to inequities in hiring, and need to be addressed before we can reach, sustain, and grow desired levels of diversity.

     
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