Laurynne Chetelat Coates, graduate student in Carolyn Slupsky's lab

Faculty Recruitment and Climate/Retention Initiatives

The University of California has expanded its efforts to create welcoming and inclusive academic and professional work environments where individuals from traditionally disadvantaged groups, including underrepresented minorities (URM) and women faculty, can thrive. In line with these efforts, UC Davis’ Office of Academic Affairs is committed to identifying potential faculty with a clearly articulated vision of how their work at UC Davis will contribute to the University’s mission of serving the needs of our diverse state and student population and an understanding of the barriers preventing full participation of underrepresented minorities in higher education.

In partnership with the University of California Office of the President (UCOP), UC Davis received funding from UCOP to initiate several pilot studies to examine how to better recruit and retain faculty who support the University’s diversity, equity, and inclusion mission. These studies are described below:


2021-24 AFD Climate and Retention Pilot Intervention Program - DEI Blueprint ($249,986) 

This three-year project, being led by three UC campuses (UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and UC San Francisco), is entitled DEIBlueprint and aimed at helping academic departments assess their climate with specific attention to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. This quasi-experimental design involves participating departments at each campus utilizing an online climate survey Question Bank (made up of validated survey items) they can choose from to create customizable surveys that fit within their appropriate context. Based on their survey results, the departments will then have access to a Climate Toolkit to support activities that are responsive to their needs. Ultimately, the overall goal is to make academic departments more inclusive for all, increasing faculty retention and success.

For detailed information, please review this page hosted by our UC Berkeley colleagues. 


Mining Text for Bias in Written Comments of Student Evaluations of Teaching ($186,100)

This research proposal, a collaborative effort between UC Riverside, UC Santa Cruz, and UC Davis, has four specific aims: 1) develop a predictive model that efficiently and automatically scans written course comments, and determines the proportions reflecting student satisfaction levels that are positive, mixed, or negative; 2) pilot an implementation of the predictive model at UC Riverside by integrating it into the iEval student teaching evaluation system to assess both practical and cultural implications of augmenting written comments with a summary report showing the proportions of positive, mixed, or negative comments; 3) use the predictive model to investigate the degree of bias in written comments with respect to the gender, ethnicity, and rank of the instructor, and compare the findings to a parallel bias study of the corresponding numerical scores; and 4) evaluate the efficacy of UC Santa Cruz’s recent revision of instructional evaluation questions as an intervention for reducing bias in comments.



2021-23 Fostering Crucial Conversations and Building Opportune Consensus on the use of Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statements for Faculty Recruitments ($135,000)

At UC Davis we propose to conduct an exhaustive study into the use of Statements of Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in recruitment through research into how they are employed and valued at UC campuses and other universities. We recognized the potential value of these statements in a previous Advancing Faculty Diversity Grant from the UC Office of the President, which provoked an Academic Senate referendum protesting their mandatory inclusion in ladder rank faculty applications. After completing the research, which will include studying hundreds of public comments that Academic Senate members provided opposing and supporting the statements, we will develop two “industrial films” – one using professional actors discussing use of the statements in the context of recruitment committees reviewing applications, and a documentary facilitated by an experienced DEI facilitator and screenwriter to gain student perspectives on their lived experiences and focusing on their engagement with faculty. These will be provided to future recruitment committees at UC Davis, and other UC campuses as hiring resources.



UC Davis: The UC Davis Pilot Study to Prioritize Academic Excellence in Research and Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion / Phase 2: Institutionalization $500,000 

This proposal builds on UC Davis’s 2018-19 grant, which demonstrated that a structured and deliberative approach to using contributions to diversity statements together with conventional selection criteria leads to a pool of candidates, and ultimately faculty hires, that will have the largest impact on equity and inclusion for the campus’s diverse student body. Having demonstrated this through their 2018-19 pilot study of eight new faculty searches, the 2019-21 (two-year) project will test and institutionalize their findings through approved searches planned for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years.

UC Davis: Creating an Inclusive Campus Climate through Enhanced Academic Review and the Creation of Faculty Learning Communities $174,488 

UC Davis will implement two interventions that have the potential to positively influence the experience of faculty who are committed to making significant contributions to welcoming and inclusive academic and professional work environments at the University of California. The first intervention will pilot an online training module aimed at improving how contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion are utilized in the merit and promotion process, and the second will enroll a cohort of faculty at UC Davis and UC Merced in Faculty Learning Communities, using Undergraduate Education’s (UE) current model. Academic Affairs is partnering with UE on the Faculty Learning Communities portion of the project.



UC Davis: A UC Davis Pilot Study in Centrally Co-led Open Searches to Prioritize Academic and Educational Excellence $422,347

This program centered on taking proven successful practices for a diverse and inclusive recruitment process and applying them to “open searches” by directly coordinating them with the Office of Academic Affairs, in collaboration with the Deans’ offices of participating schools and colleges. Open searches were college or school-wide, without specification of a specific discipline or department, provided that an applicant’s area of expertise fell within a discipline embodied in the academic unit. The interventions strategically utilized college-level or school-level open searches to obtain highly diverse pools of applicants by leveraging hiring incentives and investment through the UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program/Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, Center for the Advancement of Multicultural Perspectives on Science (CAMPOS), Center for the Advancement of Multicultural Perspectives on Social Science, Arts, and Humanities (CAMPSSAH), and the Mentored Clinical Research Training Program; successful candidates demonstrated significant commitments to diversity, equity, and/or inclusion. Other interventions included search committee training; broad advertising; utilization of data-driven recommendations; targeted outreach; a new faculty support program to provide dual career support and family integration resources; a mentoring committee; enrollment in the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity; assignment of a faculty worklife peer; and graduate student support. Senior leadership and deans expressed strong support for the program.