Highlighting Best Practices
University of California, Davis
Contributed by Sylvia Parsons
For over ten years, the University of California, Davis has been focused on taking aggressive measures aimed at recruiting and retaining a diverse faculty in research and leadership positions. The process began with a task force commissioned in 2000 to collect data on faculty diversity, recruitment statistics, and other demographic data from the science and medical departments. The task force proposed several initiatives designed to increase diversity, with incentives for success and consequences for continued failure. These initiatives led to a 22% increase in women and minority faculty throughout the university between 1997 and 2007, with a 30% increase in women faculty in the school of medicine. Some of the “best practices” instituted by UC Davis include hiring more faculty at the junior level where there is a more diverse applicant pool; “cluster hiring” in which several positions are identified in a broad area which can lead to a larger pool of outstanding candidates and can be particularly effective in preventing the potential isolation of new faculty; and carefully monitoring the recruitment process to address problems early. The active involvement and support of the deans has proven to be a key factor in the university’s success. Addressing work/life issues through programs that extend the tenure clock, modifying active service to accommodate family needs, providing employment opportunities for partners, and initiating career reviews to ensure equity and fairness have also been important. New training programs that offer tools for hiring and retention and overviews of hiring and retention policies have been implemented for department chairs. In addition, workshops for new hires on how to navigate the merit and promotion process, apply for grants, and career resources available from the university have sought to address some of the roadblocks mentioned in surveys by women and minorities.
These policies were presented by Barry Klein, Ph.D., Vice Chancellor for Research, at the Women in Biomedical Research: Best Practices for Sustaining Career Success” workshop which was co-hosted in March 2008 by the NIH Working Group on Women in Biomedical Careers and the NIH National Center for Research Resources.
To keep informed about the Working Group and NIH-wide efforts, please sign up for our LISTSERV.