Diversifying the faculty initiative

information on the opportunity hire program


Most colleges and universities, including Indiana State  University, seek new faculty through standard search processes in which a position is posted, committees are formed to consider candidates, semi-finalists and finalists are identified from the pool of applicants, and ultimately an offer is made and hopefully accepted. On occasion, however, institutions employ adjusted/adapted techniques to pursue persons of particular importance to an institution through an opportunity hire process. These persons are also typically highly sought after by other institutions. One common category of opportunity hire are faculty who are historically underrepresented in higher education, persons who not only provide role model and mentorship to students who are underrepresented at the institution but also provide great benefit to members of the majority community as well - students, faculty, and staff.

For the first time in a number of years, Indiana State University is deploying an opportunity hire program for faculty in our colleges and the library, in part stimulated by our large and growing African American population - almost 15% of our students are African American and more than 1/5th of the entire student body reflects domestic or international diversity.

In brief, each college and the library is eligible for opportunity hires in an area of strategic importance. By strategic importance is meant that the Dean, in consultation with a department, has deemed that a particular strategic hire need exists outside of those approved for traditional searches and that a candidate advanced by a department meets the opportunity hire criteria, namely that the individual is a member of a historically underrepresented group and brings the strength of skills and experience that she or he would have clearly emerged as an excellent candidate had there been a search in that area. Hires made in this way will be funded centrally for up to three years, the point when a college would need to assume it, typically achieved via giving up a line in an area of less strategic need. This is the common approach used by other institutions since it provides time flexibility and what often ends up being addressed through normal attrition or program change.

For any additional questions that you may have about the opportunity hire program, please see the Dean of your college and/or the Provost's Policy Statement.