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Initiated in 2007, OSU’s Search Advocate program enhances integrity, effectiveness, and diversity in the university’s hiring practices. Search advocates are OSU employees trained as process experts in search and selection. They complete a series of workshops addressing current research about diversity and cognitive bias, the changing legal landscape in hiring, inclusive employment principles, specific steps to strengthen each stage of the search process, and effective approaches to participation on search committees in the advocate role.
All Provost’s Initiative and Tenured Faculty Diversity Initiative search committees must include a tenured search advocate according to university policy. Search advocates are increasingly being asked to serve on other committees, even though their participation is not required; this trend is an indication of the value they provide to a search and selection process.
Search advocates engage with search committees throughout the search and selection process, beginning with position development, and continuing through the hiring decision and integration of the new faculty or staff member into the organization. At every stage, they serve as consultant/participants, advocating for the search process and helping committees identify practices that minimize the effects of unconscious, unintentional biases.
Advocates promote diversity by
- Sharing current information
- Recommending inclusive/affirmative strategies
- Supporting full committee and stakeholder participation
- Consulting with the Office of Equity and Inclusion as needed.
In partnership with search chairs, search committees, and hiring officials, they affirm OSU’s high standard for excellent and inclusive search/selection practices.