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What can you do to recruit and retain diverse faculty?

Faculty Diversity, Inclusion, and Representation | Topics in Higher Education

Higher education is a hub for creativity, innovation and, of course, knowledge. With so many qualified educators hailing from different regions and academic institutions, it’s no wonder universities are known for cutting-edge research and top-notch education. Key to the institutions’ success is diversity in staff, faculty, and the student body.

There are compelling benefits of improving diversity in all fields, but particularly in higher education. In our complex, multidimensional world, it is essential that administrators provide their students with faculty and staff voices that originate from different backgrounds. Additionally, the more distinct voices and opinions a university has, the more opportunity the institution has to incubate creativity, innovation, and outside-the-box thinking. Most important of all, universities should take it upon themselves to recruit and retain diverse faculty and staff members to create a more equitable, socially responsible environment for learners and educators alike.

Recruiting diverse faculty members requires thoughtful action and engagement from a variety of stakeholders.. When you’d like to attract a more diverse applicant pool to your higher education institution, consider implementing specific strategies to put your diversity initiatives into action. To improve your recruiting and retention strategies so they accommodate diverse staff and faculty, think about transforming institutional leaders into advocates for change who thoroughly and consistently follow up and incorporate data-based strategies into their efforts.

Get the leaders onboard

For a university’s diversity initiative to reach its full potential, it is essential that executive leaders actively support the plan. These individuals should make themselves accountable for advancing the institution’s diversity, beginning with recruiting and retaining diverse faculty and eventually creating an institution-wide culture of inclusion. However, when it comes to setting an example for the rest of the staff and faculty to follow, speaking about diversity isn’t enough. To affect change on a large-scale level, leaders must turn their vocal support into concrete action. Rather than just speaking of the imbalances at a societal and institutional level, executive leaders should develop diversity plans of action and make sure colleagues, students, and members of the community are aware of these inequities and the action that needs to be taken to resolve them.

Follow through with ongoing efforts across the university

Developing a strategy for diversity isn’t enough; for it to be truly impactful, administrators and institutional leaders must follow through in creating a culture of diversity and inclusion. By making diversity an ongoing priority, universities are creating a culture that welcomes differences and embraces change. This, in turn, produces an environment in which diverse faculty and staff will be more likely to stay for years to come.

Develop data-driven recruitment strategies

Without a transparent view of diversity statistics for current staff, university leaders may not even know that their institutions are in need of more diverse employees and applicants. When administrators and department heads have access to comprehensive data on their faculty and staff, they are able to study employee demographics. They can share this information with academic affairs leaders and other professionals in charge of advancing diversity across the university. Equipped with up-to-date data and statistics, these professionals can develop impactful plans and strategize how best to use university resources to enact change.


Interfolio Faculty Search is a transparent recruiting platform that allows university leaders to view insights into all stages of the application process. One piece of information they can access is applicant diversity statistics, which are essential in the practice of equitable hiring. Find out more about advancing recruitment and retainment by developing an environment of diversity and inclusion.