Stanford’s Commitment to Faculty Diversity
A Reaffirmation, April 19, 2007
President John Hennessy and Provost John Etchemendy
For many years Stanford University has had a commitment to enhancing the diversity of its faculty. This commitment is based, first and foremost, on the belief that a more diverse faculty enhances the breadth, depth and quality of our research and teaching by increasing the variety of experiences, perspectives and scholarly interests among the faculty. A diverse faculty also provides a variety of role models and mentors for our increasingly diverse student population, which helps us to attract, retain and graduate such populations more successfully.
In 2001, we developed a set of principles to emphasize Stanford’s continuing interest in and commitment to increasing the diversity of our faculty and to providing access to equal opportunities to all faculty independent of gender, race or ethnicity. Six years later, we feel it is important to reiterate and broaden our commitment to those principles. This recognition acknowledges the ongoing evolution of our aspirations and objectives in an area that is critical to the continued excellence of the University. In that spirit, we assert once again our commitment to the following steps, some of which reaffirm existing University policies, and others that extend those policies:
1. Faculty searches are obligated to make extra efforts to seek out qualified women and minority candidates and to evaluate such candidates. It is the obligation of the search committee to demonstrate that a search has made a determined effort to locate and consider women and minority candidates. This obligation must be taken especially seriously for senior appointments where active outreach to potential candidates is required as part of the search process. Department chairs and deans have the responsibility to make sure that these obligations have been fulfilled.
2. We will make use of incentive funds and incremental faculty billets to encourage the appointment of candidates who would diversify our faculty, such as women and minorities in fields where they continue to be underrepresented. Our goals are two-fold. First, we want to encourage the normal process of diversification, which should occur as a byproduct of outreach during searches. Second, we hope to accelerate this process by encouraging departments and schools to take advantage of opportunities to appoint additional equally qualified candidates from underrepresented groups who are identified during searches but who (for reasons such as their area of specialization) may not be the first choice of the search committee. This second mechanism is especially important in fields where the small pool of available candidates means that opportunistic approaches are important.
3. The University has established a Panel on Gender Equity and Quality of Life to follow up on the work of the Provost’s Advisory Committee on the Status of Women Faculty and a Diversity Cabinet of senior administrators and faculty to explore ways in which we can foster and enhance gender, racial and ethnic diversity and equal opportunity for our faculty as well as other segments of the campus community. The Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity is explicitly charged with overseeing the University’s continuing efforts to further diversify the faculty.
4. We will continue to monitor and report on the representation of women and minorities on the faculty, as well as their tenure and promotion rates, on a yearly basis to the Faculty Senate. We hope that sharing the data will continue to keep this issue on the agenda of school deans, department chairs, faculty search committees and the faculty as a whole.
5. We will support and mentor all junior faculty, and we will continue to use a review process for tenure and promotion that is based on a candidate’s contributions to research and teaching and that is appropriate for the candidate’s area of scholarly interest. Furthermore, we will be alert to systematic barriers that may appear to limit advancement and retention of women and minorities. Serious efforts will be made to mitigate any such limitations that might exist.
6. We will continue to evaluate faculty salaries, with special emphasis on women and minority faculty salaries, through an objective methodology (the so-called quintile analysis). Any inequities in salaries–whether for women or men, minorities or non-minorities–will be sought out and corrected.
7. We will also monitor the distribution of University resources that support individual faculty research programs, including both research funds and space, to ensure that the distribution of the University’s resources is not based on improper factors (such as gender, race or ethnicity). Any such inequities discovered will be corrected.
8. We seek to increase the representation of women and minority faculty in leadership positions in departments, schools and the University administration. In addition, in the process of appointing faculty to leadership positions—such as department chair, associate dean or dean—we will consider the efforts and effectiveness of the candidates in promoting and enhancing faculty diversity and equal opportunity. Such criteria will also form a part of the yearly review of all faculty leaders.
9. Attracting and retaining the best faculty members in an increasingly diverse society requires us to have a university that is supportive of faculty diversity, both in the composition of the faculty and in their scholarship. Stanford University seeks and promotes an academic environment for each faculty member that is collegial, intellectually stimulating and respectful of his or her contributions and accomplishments. Such an environment should enable the highest quality scholarship and teaching and provide every faculty member a voice in department decision-making.
10. Realizing that graduate students are the primary pool for the next generation of faculty, the University will redouble its efforts to attract and support women and minority graduate students. Small pool sizes and pipeline issues hamper the best intentions of all institutions of higher education to diversify faculty, and Stanford must be a leader in efforts to address these challenges. The University will enhance its efforts through outreach and new funding mechanisms to increase the diversity of our graduate student pool and support these students once they enroll at Stanford. As an institution, we will encourage women and minority students to pursue academic careers.
Finally, we acknowledge that no single policy is likely to be sufficient to achieve our goals. Instead, a concerted implementation of a variety of approaches is necessary to achieve an overall University culture that fosters effective diversity and that can serve as a national model for other universities. While we view this statement and these policies as an important first step, careful attention to practices and viewpoints throughout the faculty will be needed to make significant progress. We call upon all our colleagues to engage actively in this important effort.