Implicit Bias and Faculty Search Committees

Implicit Bias and Search Committees

What are the goals of the module?

Implicit bias concerns thoughts, feelings, attitudes, beliefs, and stereotypes that have the capacity to influence the decisions we make and the actions we take on a subconscious level.  The goals of this module are to help individuals understand how everyone has implicit biases, how to recognize them in ourselves and others, and how to prevent them from influencing our decision-making.

Who is the audience for the module?

  • Mid-career faculty who aspire to become university leaders
  • Individuals currently holding academic leadership positions, including department chairs, deans, and vice provosts
  • Faculty who will be serving on search committees
  • Administrators, particularly those in a position to influence campus hiring policies and practices

Why is the topic important?

It is well recognized that implicit biases have the capacity to influence both the conduct and outcomes of faculty hiring searches.  Such biases have led to highly qualified and talented individuals being overlooked for faculty positions, often on the basis of their gender, gender identity, ethnicity, age, disability, country of origin, institution where they received their terminal degree, and so on.  Faculty diversity suffers when implicit biases permeate the search process, particularly at the search committee level.  By teaching faculty to recognize and overcome such biases in hiring, the university faculty will better reflect the student population it serves, become more innovative and multicultural, and better serve the population of California and beyond.

Suggested options for module delivery

Participants will be required to watch specific videos on implicit bias in academia, and will be expected to do their own implicit bias testing at Project Implicit through the use of Implicit Association Tests in the areas listed above.  Meetings will also be conducted in person to work through examples of good and bad practices in the conduct of searches.

Resources for developing the module

Recommended prerequisites

None, but assigned videos, completion of Implicit Association Tests, and other assigned readings must be completed prior to in-person group workshops.


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