Faculty and Staff Search Best Practices Guide for Inclusive Excellence

Faculty and staff hiring is critical to achieving and maintaining excellence in instruction, service and scholarship at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Research has shown that diverse and inclusive groups demonstrate the highest achievement, creativity, and impact on the success of the institution and its interaction with society.1 We believe that the highest degree of care and attention should be put toward increasing the cultural and intellectual diversity of our workforce and fostering inclusive unit cultures. Therefore, search committees and those with hiring authority have an honored responsibility to seek, recruit, and secure faculty and staff talent.

Within this document, we use the phrase "underrepresented populations." The term underrepresented reflects low participation or representation of groups, typically due to systemic barriers based on race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, and minoritized status. Usage of this broad terminology allows individual departments and disciplines to determine what constitutes underrepresented populations in their community. For example, women, and specifically women of color, may be underrepresented in some science, technology, engineering, and mathematics departments.. Thus, inclusive processes for faculty hiring in STEM fields should focus on recruiting more women from all demographic groups during the search process.

There are a few consistent themes across many of the strategies detailed in this document. One theme is intentionality. There are consequences, sometimes subtle, of each step in the search process; as such, all stages of the process should be purposeful. A second theme is an alignment with criteria. From forming the job description to the final decision process, the use of objective criteria helps to reduce the corrosive effects of unacknowledged biases. Alignment of criteria also keeps the process focused on hiring great faculty and staff, secures successful recruitment, and fosters faculty and staff retention. A third theme is to embrace differences. From differences in intellectual focus and expression to racial, ethnic, gender, and life differences, the breadth of diversity within our institution is central to creating a climate of excellence and global impact. An institutional culture that celebrates faculty and staff diversity and supports inclusive practices will undoubtedly lead to greater recruitment and retention of underrepresented faculty and staff.

Though this document serves to aid in the future recruitment of faculty and staff, additional documentation and history on diversity hiring initiatives at UNL can be found at

1 Rock, D. and Grant, H. (2016). Why Diverse Teams are Smarter. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from: https://hbr.org/2016/11/why-diverse-teams-are-smarter