Affirmative Action

4.3 Charge to the Search Committee - Affirmative Action Searches

The charge from the unit administrator to the search committee must be clear and precise; ambiguity in the charge, in the role of the committee, or in the extent of the search committee's authority can create confusion that will hamper and delay the selection process at critical points. The unit administrator conducts an affirmative action review session with the search committee, focusing on the University's commitment to affirmative action and equal opportunity, and to a fair, legal, and effective recruitment process which advances diversity and excellence in the academic workforce.

The following activities which must take place in every search are usually the responsibility of the search committee, although in some units some activities may be handled by the unit administrator or others.

Any ambiguities in the charge should be clarified and the committee should ask for changes which they believe are necessary. The search committee should assess the issues facing its academic unit, including considerations emanating from program review or other strategic planning activities, and discuss the nature and requirements of the position to be filled. Such assessment and discussion will, of course, assist the committee in determining qualifications and characteristics to be sought in a candidate. 
Part of the search committee's assessment should be a review of the profile of its academic unit to determine what the affirmative action needs are and how those needs will be addressed. Since a major element in conducting an effective affirmative action search is to create a large and diverse pool of applicants which includes substantial numbers of women and minorities, it is essential for the committee to discuss how the recruitment process will take place, where the job advertisements will appear, and what strategies will be devised for enlarging the pool of applicants. The committee should also discuss and develop methods to remove bias, prejudice, and stereotyping at all stages of the search. In addition, the chairperson of the committee should become familiar with affirmative action procedures, as well as with the mandatory affirmative action record keeping (see "Documenting the Search").

If assistance is needed, the committee chairperson is encouraged to contact the Director of the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives (303 Administration Building, 353-3922) or the Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Faculty and Academic Staff Affairs (422 Administration Building, 353-5300). These individuals can advise a search committee on how to conduct a search sensitive to affirmative action issues, as well as suggest strategies for addressing specific problems. They are available to the search committee as a resource and advisor throughout the search process.

A summary checklist of search committee activities may be found in Appendix C.

Back to the Handbook for Faculty Searches with Special Reference to Affirmative Action