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Search Advocate FAQ
Who are Search Advocates?
Search Advocates for tenure-track searches will be tenured associate or full professors who have agreed to serve in this role, have completed a 2-part workshop series, and have received access to research and other resources available on the Search Advocate blackboard site and through the listserv. The Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI) seeks faculty volunteers who are interested in/committed to performing in this role, are respected by their peers, and are able to cultivate a blame-free environment for discussing unconscious biases. In serving as Search Advocates, faculty members perform university service. Trained Search Advocates are asked to serve on only one or possibly two search committees per year.
What is the Search Advocate’s role?
Somewhat like the graduate representative on a graduate committee, the Search Advocate serves as a true member of the search committee. The Search Advocate begins by working with the search committee on final development/review of the position description and qualifications before the position is posted (which is a change for some colleges). In addition to regular participation, he or she provides research-based information about unconscious cognitive and structural biases that affect search and selection processes, and suggests strategies to help mitigate the effects of those biases. The Search Advocate works collaboratively within the group, and on occasion may offer a perspective that helps the committee test its thinking.
Is the Search Advocate a voting member of the committee?
This is decided individually between the unit leader, the search chair, the Search Advocate, and possibly the other search committee members for each search. The Search Advocate does not seek to substitute his/her judgment for the disciplinary expertise of the faculty in the hiring unit, but can make significant contributions in other aspects of evaluation; any voting status decision should be handled and communicated in a manner that does not impair the AASA’s ability to contribute effectively.
To whom does the Search Advocate report?
The Search Advocate does not “report” to an administrative unit (unlike the graduate representative noted earlier). Because he or she seeks to advance affirmative action/ equal opportunity principles, the Search Advocate may consult with OEI, as needed.
Advertising deadlines are coming up soon; how will we get trained Search Advocates in time?
Workshops to prepare Search Advocates for Provost’s Initiative search committees are OEI’s top priority for September and October. We are offering multiple sessions designed around the schedules of faculty who volunteer for this role. Units with Provost’s Initiative positions should work with OEI to identify these faculty and get them into the workshop series. If advertising deadlines in September preclude Search Advocate and search committee input into the position description, OEI will be glad to review PDs and offer ideas/suggestions to the unit leader.
How do we request Search Advocate for our committee?
The hiring department, school, or college should review the list of Search Advocates and contact individuals to invite them to serve on their committee. Please work directly with Search Advocates to determine their interest and availability.
Presently only a few tenured faculty members have self-selected to attend the workshop series, so we are working with Deans, School Heads, Department Heads, and Department Chairs to identify tenured faculty who are well-suited for and willing to take on this role. OEI will offer as many workshops as needed to ensure that everyone who needs it will have access to the 2-workshop series, and we will time the workshops to address faculty availability during the early part of fall term.
For further questions, please contact Anne Gillies (541-737-0865 or firstname.lastname@example.org)