During the Search
Active Search and Reviewing Applications
Expand the Pool
One key way to increase the availability of diverse candidates for faculty positions, is to grow the pool of talented, highly qualified applicants. The Faculty First Look program and the Emerging Scholars program are models that can be adopted by NYU schools to identify talented future faculty candidates and introduce them to NYU.
Faculty First Look. Faculty First-Look (FFL) is an NYU initiative created to prepare diverse, talented scholars for faculty careers. NYU colleges and schools invite gifted scholars of color and others underrepresented in the Academy, who are completing their Ph.D., Ed.D., or other relevant terminal degrees, to apply to participate in programming that provides a glimpse into what it takes to prepare for future faculty careers, particularly in disciplines and field represented in schools and programs across NYU. Alumni of Faculty First-Look may be considered for open NYU faculty positions. For NYU schools interested in hosting Faculty First Look, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emerging Scholars. The Emerging Scholars program, NYU Arts and Sciences, offers a model that showcases talented emerging and early career scholars featuring new work, new voices and new perspectives. The Emerging Scholars Program brings a small number of excellent early career scholars to NYU to present their research. For additional details about the program, contact email@example.com.
Not all candidates who may be qualified for this position will see the job ad or consider applying. To generate a broad and diverse pool of applicants, it is not enough to post the ad and wait to see who applies. Search committees must actively share information on the position with broad and diverse networks and actively solicit potential candidates.
Prepare a search plan.
The search committee should prepare a detailed plan of how they will identify and directly communicate the open faculty position to faculty members from underrepresented groups at other institutions, who are in a position to distribute the position and refer to potential channels in ways that maximize visibility to potential candidates from underrepresented groups.
The plan should list detailed steps that will be part of the active search (see below under “Search Actively”) and a timeline for them: specification of which member of the committee will take on each one, including attending specific meetings and conferences, contacting colleagues and organizations, reaching out to pipeline departments and programs, etc. The search committee should regularly revisit the search plan to ensure that all steps have been completed.
Search committee members and department faculty should share information on the position and reach out to individuals by phone and email to solicit nominations and invite applications through:
- Reaching out to their own professional networks
- Contacting recent graduates of the program, who can be asked to share this information with their networks
- Personal outreach to highly qualified individuals to invite them to apply
- Attending conferences and intergroup meetings and receptions, including special meetings of women and colleagues from underrepresented groups, and sharing information on the position
- Reaching out to colleagues at departments and programs that produce high numbers of graduates who are women and members of underrepresented groups and asking them to share the job ad and to nominate possible applicants. The National Science Foundation/National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NSF/NCSES) produces a list of top 20 doctorate-granting institutions, ranked by number of minority US citizens and permanent residents doctorate recipients.
- Identifying names of potential candidates from the professional literature in the area and inviting them to apply
Additional sources of possible candidates include:
- Alumni of NYU’s Faculty First Look programs
- Current and past fellows in NYU’s Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship program
- The Partnership for Faculty Diversity produces a large pool of competitively selected, well-prepared, postdocs of color entering into the academic job market in the social sciences, math, engineering and physical sciences, arts and humanities, and the life sciences. Schools and search committees should proactively identify candidates from among this pool. These candidates are postdocs from each of the Partner institutions, which include: The University of California Chancellor's and President's Postdoc program, including UC-affiliated national labs, and university postdoc programs at New York University, University of Michigan, University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill and UNC-Charlotte), University of Colorado, the California Alliance, Carnegie Mellon, University of Maryland, and the University of Minnesota. Your school’s University Faculty Affairs Council representative can provide information on how to access job candidates from the Partnership pool.
Dean or Dean’s representative reviews the steps to create a diverse pool, and the diversity of the pool.
Interfolio permits individuals with search administrator access, including the Human Resources Officer (HRO), to generate a report on the diversity of the applicant pool (Google Slides - Net ID required to view.) This report does not include information on the demographic characteristics of individual applicants.
The HRO generates a report from Interfolio on the aggregate demographic characteristics of the pool for each faculty search. That report is sent to each search committee chair and also to the Dean or the Dean’s representative on a bi-weekly basis beginning when the search is posted to Interfolio and continuing until the search is closed to new applicants.
Before the search committee begins its review of the applications, applications should be screened to ensure that each candidate meets basic (minimum) qualifications for the position. Those who do not should be excluded from the pool by indicating so, using the appropriate disposition code (see information on applying disposition codes, below). Once these codes are applied but before the long list of potential applicants is created, the Dean and/or the Dean's representative assesses the diversity of the applicant pool in the aggregate and the steps that have been taken to create a broad and diverse pool. This review can address these questions:
- What is the availability of earned doctorates in this area (see especially Tables 16 and 22)?
- What was the plan for conducting an active plan and was the plan carried out?
- Where was the job ad placed?
- What is the representation of women and of faculty from underrepresented groups in the pool in the aggregate, as indicated in the Interfolio report?
A review sheet that can be used for this assessment is here (downloadable Google Doc - Net ID required to view).
If the Dean or the Dean’s representative determines that the pool is not sufficiently broad or that sufficient steps were not taken to diversify the pool, advise the search committee to keep the search open to new applicants (e.g., for an additional two week time period) and/or ask the committee to immediately take additional steps to attract a more diverse pool of applicants, before the search committee is authorized to identify a long list of candidates.
Additional steps that could be taken may include (see guidance on active searching, above):
- Contact colleagues in programs and departments that produce high numbers of diverse graduates, and encourage them to share the job ad with their graduates
- Post the job ad to list serves and other sites that may attract diverse applicants
- Personal outreach to individuals who would be qualified for the position and encourage them to apply.
Enter disposition codes in Interfolio three times: after your initial review of applicants for basic (minimum) qualifications, again when the short list is developed, and finally, when the search is completed.
All schools should utilize the new Interfolio Disposition Codes (Google Slides - NYU login required to view) to document the outcomes of faculty recruitment. These codes help to identify how various individuals in the search were evaluated at various stages. The University will use these disposition codes to better understand where we may face challenges in the search process.
Schools should enter the disposition codes at three different stages:
First, codes should be entered when an initial screening of applicants has identified those who do not meet basic (minimum) qualifications. Basic (minimum) qualifications are those qualifications that the applicant must possess. These are typically stated in the job ad and may include:
- Required minimum educational degree, and/or
- Required minimum number of years of experience, and/or
- Required professional license or credential.
Second, codes should be entered when the committee has evaluated all applicants and developed a short list of candidates.
Third, codes should be entered at the conclusion of the search, for the remaining short list candidates.
Questions about the disposition codes can be directed to your school’s University Faculty Affairs Council representative.
Define the evaluation criteria and create a rubric to evaluate applications.
- Before reviewing applications, the search committee should identify the criteria that will be used to evaluate all applicants. Doing so helps to ensure that the same criteria are used to evaluate each application, and that all applications are evaluated fairly.
- The search committee can create a candidate rating form (sample form available to download on this page) that will be used consistently to evaluate each application. All candidates should be evaluated on each criterion.
Avoid potential cognitive biases in reviewing applications.
In particular, search committee members should be aware of these potential cognitive errors, below, and others*:
First impressions: rushing to judgements on candidates prematurely
Elitism: negatively assessing a candidate’s application because of factors such as academic pedigree, current institution, etc.
Raising the bar: increasing requirements for the position during the evaluation, or for some candidates only
Premature ranking: affixing rankings to candidates before all candidates have been thoroughly evaluated
Longing to clone: seeking to hire someone who closely resembles a former colleague in the position or oneself, in terms of background, focus, etc.
Good fit/Bad fit: "fit" is a subjective term and may be inadvertently used to exclude candidates whose demographic characteristics or cultural background may be unfamiliar to the search committee or department faculty.
Extraneous myths and assumptions: unfounded opinions and assertions about a candidate’s ability to succeed in the position or interest in the position, e.g., based on geography, personality, etc.
Seizing a pretext: setting up false reasons to eliminate a candidate
To learn more about implicit social cognition and unconscious bias as well as its influence on decision making, see: **Blindspot, by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald and this handout on best practices in conducting faculty searches (PDF: 249KB).
Best practices for review of applications.
- Spend sufficient time to review each application. Allow 15 to 30 minutes per application to make sure each candidate is evaluated fully.
- Make sure each candidate is evaluated by more than one committee member.
- Allow all search committee members to rank independently and to report their rankings at the same time, so that the rankings of senior committee members do not disproportionately influence the rankings of junior committee members.
- Create rankings of candidates on each criteria and select candidates who rank highly in each criteria.
Create a long list of interview candidates.
Consider having a “long” short list of interview candidates.
Consider having a longer short list of final interview candidates (for example, five or six instead of three). Research shows that if more than one woman or individual from an underrepresented group is included among the finalists, the final candidate is more likely to be a woman or a faculty member of color.***
* Moody, J. (2012). Faculty Diversity: Removing the Barriers. Second edition. Routledge.
** Banaji, M. and Greenwald, A. (2016). Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People. Bantam.
*** Johnson, S. K., Hekman, D. R., & Chan, E. T. (2016, April 26). "If There’s Only One Woman in Your Candidate Pool, There’s Statistically No Chance She’ll Be Hired," Harvard Business Review.