Best Practices for Recruitment and Retention Plans


Spring 2013: In a meeting with the Diversity Advisory Committee (DAC), Dr. Jeff Braden, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (H&SS), discussed the need for the Humanities & Social Sciences departments to develop specific diversity plans. In the fall, he would ask departments to develop plans for recruiting and retaining faculty from underrepresented groups, but especially faculty of color, given their importance to the college and the campus. Dr. Juliana Nfah-Abbenyi, H&SS Director of Diversity Programs & Faculty/Staff Diversity convened the DAC to begin the process. The DAC met towards the end of the spring semester and deliberately crafted broad guidelines for departments to use to generate department-specific templates (see appendix below). The idea was for departments to take each point and to ask themselves: Is this relevant to my department? How does my department handle this point or certain aspects of it? What is my department currently doing and/or should do in view of this point to foster either the recruitment or retention of underrepresented groups? The DAC deliberately chose not to be prescriptive given that only the departments know: 1) who they currently are as a department, 2) where they want to be in light of the changes they would make, and most importantly, 3) what they are committing themselves to doing given the department's consideration of 1 & 2. Departments were asked to commit themselves to a few things they can do, and not to aspire to programs or activities that would require additional resources. The guidelines were given to departments in the fall semester of 2013. Departments submitted their plans in spring 2014. Subsequent to the submission of plans, the dean requested the Diversity Advisory Committee reconvene to review them and provide feedback to departments on how they might enhance their plans. In other words, rather than viewing their plans as an occasional exercise, the dean wanted the development and implementation of plans to be more of a dynamic effort engaging departments and the college committee. The DAC reviewed plans and identified the strengths of each plan, and offered suggestions for consideration on how plans could be improved or incorporate successful elements of other plans.


Departments submitted their draft templates and H&SS DAC met and reviewed them. The best practices listed here are a summary of the strengths and innovative ideas the committee highlighted from various templates. Excluded were some innovative ideas that were very department-specific. The committee recommended these best practices be consulted as departments revised their plans to come up with 1) three intentional ideas for recruitment, and 2) three intentional ideas for retention, while working from the premise: a) this is who we are, b) this is where we want to be, and c) this is what we are committing ourselves to. Revised plans were submitted at the end of the fall 2014 semester. Recruitment and retention plans will be revised annually.

RECRUITMENT IDEAS: The department will:

  • Create a “faculty in residence” program for identifying and getting to know potential future minority faculty for at least one week during which this faculty could teach one or two classes; deliver a public research presentation; meet with faculty and students; teach an intensive three-day class, et cetera.
  • Develop relationships with potential faculty through the NC State Building Future Faculty program and actively recruit participants.
  • Invite seminar speakers whose research presentations bring diversity into the department.
  • Develop partnerships with the graduate school and relationships with PhD programs at Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs)—Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs)—in order to create and develop a pipeline with potential future faculty.
  • Attend the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) doctoral recruitment event in order to create relationships with or aggressively recruit SREB scholars, and further network with the Doctoral Scholars Program (DSP). The DSP scholar directory is at:
  • Require of search committees a more personal rewriting of the lines about diversity in job descriptions as suggested by the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED) for targeted recruitment.
  • Supplement current practices and recruitment strategies in postings and/or advertisements with very express and deliberate language underscoring and encouraging the diversity interests and specializations of the department in tandem with “traditional” areas of specialization.
  • Aggressively rebrand or re-craft current course offerings to create a curriculum that is more reflective of an active engagement with diversification; a curriculum that acts as an incentive and draw for faculty whose interests and specializations speak to issues of diversity and fosters ongoing dialogue within the department on such issues.
  • Create a standing committee on Opportunity Hires and require said committee to write Guidelines and Procedures for Diverse Faculty Recruitment detailing how many times the committee meets a year; how long it will remain active; how productive it will be/has been in increasing diversity/underrepresented groups in its applicant pool and candidates interviewed for positions or invited as speakers; as well as commitments to improvement in the coming year(s).
  • Target and develop relationships with emerging scholars from underrepresented groups at conferences/conventions by attending a variety of panels on which diverse scholars are presenting research and speak with them about applying for current or prospective jobs.
  • Promote messages of inclusion on marketing materials for the department by developing several video shorts (5-8 minutes in duration) highlighting the multiple constituencies of the department and feature said videos on department website, iTunes, Facebook, Twitter, faculty pages as appropriate; and, compiled as a DVD for dissemination/distribution at events.
  • Actively advertise job openings in “non-traditional” media/publication outlets in conjunction with the more standard or conventional sites.
  • Create a Moodle page where the department collects names and CVs of possible job candidates—including minority candidates—should an opportunity to hire arise.

RETENTION IDEAS: The department will:

  • Ensure that faculty from minority/underrepresented groups who are often called upon, far more than their colleagues, to share their expertise and provide diverse perspectives have a manageable balance of service responsibilities clearly outlined in their SME and addressed in other formal and informal processes.
  • Review tenure standards to determine whether they are systematically undervaluing areas of research, service and teaching related to diversity/diverse people, cultures and ideas in general and to the sub-disciplines represented by the department.
  • Hold brown bag lunches for sharing best practices or practical examples how faculty have approached issues of diversity in the classroom
  • Create a “professional development series” consisting of small workshops and discussions on practical concerns.
  • Build and implement a mentorship and alliance network to encourage success and address challenges faced by junior faculty.
  • Create a standing committee on faculty diversity that is voted on annually by faculty to ensure equal/rotating participation and charged with representing the department at campus-wide events such as the Building Future Faculty program events and with planning and implementing department-wide initiatives such as opportunity hires, issues of diversity and recruitment for undergraduate and graduate programs.
  • Create leadership opportunities for faculty from underrepresented groups.


H&SS Recruitment and Retention Template Guidelines, 2013-2014

At the request of Dean Jeff Braden, Dr. Juliana Nfah-Abbenyi and H&SS DAC prepared this template for the “Recruitment and Retention of Faculty of Color” in H&SS. This template is meant to serve as a guideline to departments when putting together their own plans on intentional ways the departments will handle diversity and the recruitment and retention of faculty of color and from other underrepresented groups.

Intentional plans for departments

1. Prepare departmental faculty to evaluate teaching and scholarship content related to diversity in their discipline, in emerging areas and in those areas unfamiliar to current faculty.

2. As a department, review tenure standards to examine if they are systematically marginalizing areas of research, service and teaching in which faculty of color are concentrated.

3. Develop a retention package as an element of the recruitment/hiring process, then review junior faculty annually in reference to that retention package to ensure consistency and identify unanticipated obstacles to success.

For departments and the college

4. Recognize and evaluate service as "engagement" with the general missions of university, college and departments, including (but not limited to) committee work, student mentoring, alumni relations, and other components of the ongoing obligations of the university community.

5. Cultivate and provide opportunities for faculty of color to develop leadership ambitions, expertise, and experience.

6. Alert the Director of Diversity Programs when hiring a faculty member of color so s/he can ensure linkage to formal and informal college and campus networks.