Yang will distribute the April minutes to the committee for a final review, after which they will be distributed to rul_everyone.
Fredenburg reported that there are currently no staff positions in recruitment and updated the committee on faculty recruitment activities. One position has a large pool and two qualified minority candidates. Winston reported continuing work on the IJS director and archivist positions. He is working closely with the chair of the director search committee and has not yet received details on the archivist pool. Winston will contact relevant people on our new contact list for both positions, and Fredenburg will give the archivist applications a second look. A staff position was offered to a minority candidate who declined.
Winston opened the floor for suggestions for adding to our processes. One suggestion was to add the target of opportunity to search committee training. Even with search committee training, we still have the problem of diverse applications being overlooked. Suggestions to address this problem were: have a member of the diversity committee meet with search committees, require diversity on the application review grid, focus on building a team rather than hiring an individual, share with search committees the language Fejzula and Winston are developing for when contacts are made. All agreed that the key is when search committees are evaluating applications. We have been taught to not look at the personal characteristics of individual applicants, but research has shown that better decision making results from an increased range of perspectives. Suggestions were to give search committees excellent case studies of how diversity is an important quality and to plan a program, possibly with Scott Page, a faculty member at the University of Michigan who has done research on this topic. It was noted that making the message about diversity short has left out the substance about enhanced perspectives and left in place the misconception that considering diversity leads to hiring secondary quality. Other comments during the discussion were: statistics might be helpful, and Fejzula can help; one search was sent back to look at diverse candidates in the pool; pools for positions recently could have been more diverse; we need to make a compelling case for and continually emphasize why diversity is important; people are conflicted about how to consider diversity, especially about how it relates to quality; diversity might need to be tailored to particular work situations, though doing that is tricky. Fredenburg confirmed that she always gets a reason when candidates turn down an offer of employment and that she has never received comments that RUL is an unfriendly environment. Winston noted that the requirement to qualify for tenure can be a disincentive. Highly regarded public librarians, for example, might find the transition to a research library difficult, and search committees and others might have difficulty evaluating candidates from other than research universities.
Winston met with P&CC at the invitation of Niessen as part of a discussion on faculty priorities for hiring. Topics covered were conversion of staff to faculty lines, target of opportunity, and instances where the MLS is not necessary.
Actions to take are: developing and sharing a draft list of names of potential candidates, coordinating ALA meetings with some individuals, sharing via email diversity events committee members will attend at ALA, drafting language for auls/directors/others for reaching out to potential candidates, engaging Scott Page for a program, adding diversity committee members to search committee training sessions (need talking points, reading list, training ourselves, presentation with resources, video of Page program, excerpts from Page, good statistics, passion, recruitment-related talking points).
There was general discussion about how to move forward proactively, including search committee perceptions about what defines qualified individuals, limitations imposed by the scholarship requirement, our faculty profile does not match the profile of our community, other institutions have found it feasible to improve their diversity makeup. Lila will rework the search committee presentation to be more data driven. Tibor will organize the committee Sakai site.
The group considered the proposed strategic plan activities about diversity.
Winston is beginning to draft a list of names of people we might want to speak with about RUL. Boyle, Fredenburg, and Winston are attending. The goal is to connect, talk about RUL, encourage them to consider RUL, and answer questions. We can coordinate meetings we are planning to attend via email and debrief at our next meeting.
We will meet in June at a date and time to be established by a Doodle poll.