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Faculty recruitment and retention

Faculty Diversity Initiative

Our students benefit from a University faculty with members whose knowledge and understanding represent the diversity of Washington state. The Faculty Diversity Initiative advances the strength of UW education and research, as well as our public mission.

Since 2015, the UW’s Race and Equity Initiative has focused on transforming institutional policies and practices, and accelerating systemic change. A significant focus of this work — and one of the goals of the 2010-14 Diversity Blueprint — has been recruiting faculty who will advance diversity, equity and inclusion through their teaching, research and service. The overall goal is to attract faculty who reflect the demographic diversity of our state and nation. Many academic units have made some progress, but we have a long way to go, including ensuring that the structural conditions that contribute to racial inequities are addressed at the unit and University-wide level so that BIPOC faculty can thrive and be successful.

Immediate actions

Based on an examination of best practices across the nation — and in consultation with the members of the Race & Equity Steering Committee and Faculty Senate leadership, as well as deans and administrators, and consistent with Regent Policy 33we are undertaking the following actions during FY 2021 – FY 2022:

  • Bridge funding: Designating $3 million in FY 2021 and another $2 million in FY 2022 to support recruiting faculty to the Seattle campus whose research, teaching, mentoring, service, and outreach will enhance the UW’s diversity mission and goals for equity and inclusion. This funding covers the cost of up to two years of full faculty salary and benefits, with an emphasis on tenure-track hires.
  • Funding priorities: Redirecting existing central funds for faculty recruitment and retention to focus specifically on faculty members who will advance campus diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.
  • Candidate statements: Recommending that all faculty searches include statements from candidates describing their past and planned contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion. This is already the case in many departments, and the Faculty Senate is likely to soon require this university-wide.
  • Hiring, reappointment and promotion criteria: Requesting that deans of all schools and colleges examine whether hiring, reappointment, and promotion criteria for faculty can be enhanced to support diversity, equity and inclusion within their units. This follows the Faculty Senate’s recent Faculty 2050 Report that recommends increased consideration of community engagement, outreach, and non-traditional avenues for research and scholarship.
  • PhD and post-doctoral support: Hosting a new national program, with funding from the National Science Foundation and the Washington Research Foundation, to identify outstanding PhD students and post-doctoral fellows from underrepresented groups, and supporting them as they develop their ambitions and qualifications to become STEM faculty at research universities, including the UW.

Similar initiatives are in progress at UW Bothell and UW Tacoma. UW Tacoma is focused on hiring and supporting clusters of faculty who have expertise and focus on diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice issues. UW Bothell leadership has designated bridge funding for the next two years to help departments recruit faculty who advance diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

Ongoing work

As part of the Race and Equity Initiative’s second 5-year plan, a sub-group on faculty diversity will ensure that the UW follows through on its short- and long-term commitments, which include:

  • Improving the on-boarding process for new faculty, including welcoming, orientation, community building, and mentoring that meets the needs of faculty from under-represented backgrounds.
  • Increasing access to and understanding of data on faculty demographics
  • Developing a systematic faculty exit interview process to identify and address climate issues that have prompted some faculty to leave the UW.
  • Increasing fundraising efforts that support the University, schools and colleges as they create endowments to recruit and retain faculty who contribute to the UW’s diversity, equity and inclusion goals; recruit early career scholars who may be developed and retained to tenure-track faculty positions; and fund research and scholarship in support of campus diversity, equity, and inclusion goals, among other efforts.

Office for Faculty Advancement

The Office for Faculty Advancement (OFA) promotes the hiring, retention and success of a diverse and inclusive faculty. Since August 2015, the office has developed a Handbook of Best Practices for Faculty Searches as well as an Online Toolkit to support the work of search committees in academic departments throughout the University. The OFA has also:

  • Launched the Faculty Advancement Initiative, which promotes collaborations with colleges, schools, campuses and individual units to advance the careers of faculty and to promote ongoing training in diversity and inclusion for university leadership.
  • Allocated resources provided by the Office of the Provost to enrich recruitment offers that will enhance a unit’s diverse profile in research, teaching, service and outreach.

Starting in the 2016-17 academic year, funding was allocated to build and retain a diverse and inclusive faculty across the three UW campuses was increased to $1 million. President Cauce and Interim Provost Baldasty allocated the funds for the Office for Faculty Advancement to work collaboratively with deans, chancellors and department chairs or directors, with half going toward faculty recruitment and half going toward retention.

Learn more about Faculty Advancement