Chapter 3: Best Practice Highlights—Recruiting and Hiring Diverse Faculty


For dental schools and allied dental programs to fulfill their missions, each must pursue academic and clinical excellence. The pursuit of academic excellence is impossible without a culture that supports the engagement of diverse voices, identities and perspectives. Academic excellence, diversity and inclusion are not incompatible, but are inseparable in the drive to pursue discovery, new knowledge systems and innovation. 

The search and hiring of talented faculty are ways in which campuses satisfy their missions related to teaching, research and service and the pursuit of academic excellence. However, campus hiring processes and Faculty Search Committee practices are more than employing excellent faculty. These policies and practices also symbolize the campus’ commitment to full inclusion, and its affirmation of diverse identities and differences.

Therefore, dental educators, Search Committees and administrators must be watchful and closely monitor faculty search policies, practices and processes to avoid biases and taking mental shortcuts that can derail equity, stifle voices and exclude promising talent. 

Tips on using the online toolkit:
◈ Use the links to navigate to topics of interest and/or download the ADEA Faculty Diversity Toolkit PDF.
◈ Read the “Chapter Key Points” section for key summaries of the chapter.

Chapter 3 Sections

  1. Best Practice—Developing a Diverse Faculty PipelinePDF
  2. Best Practice—Faculty SearchesPDF
  3. Best Practice—Recruitment and Developing a Diverse Candidate PoolPDF
  4. Best Practice—Preparing for an Equitable Search ProcessPDF
  5. Best Practice—Evaluating CandidatesPDF
  6. Best Practice—Interviews, Campus Visits and Hiring IncentivesPDF
  7. Best Practice—Post-search AssessmentPDF

Chapter Key Points

Because the majority of faculty at dental schools and allied dental programs come from private practice, it is imperative that dental education develop pipeline and pre-professional programs to support the academic readiness, matriculation and graduation of historically underrepresented and marginalized (HURM) students in these programs.

It is from these graduates that a more plurality of academic dentistry faculty will change.


Faculty candidates will expect to see a commitment to diversity within key strategic planning documents, such as the institutional, college and departmental mission statements.

The effective recruitment of HURM faculty require campuses to identify resources and use data to develop a comprehensive faculty recruitment search plan and checklist.

Faculty Search Committees must be pluralistic in their composition, and the Committee’s official charge should be approved and sent to the Committee from the dental school dean and/or allied dental program director.

The following three essential items should be included in faculty position job search descriptions: 

  • Overview of the department/institution, 
  • Primary job duties and 
  • Qualifications for the position.

Faculty position job search descriptions should include a substantive statement of the department’s interest in diversity-related research, teaching or service in the body of the advertisement.

Examples include the following language:

  • “We welcome candidates whose experience in teaching, research or community service has prepared them to contribute to our commitment to diversity and excellence.”
  • “Individuals with a history of and commitment to mentoring students from underrepresented minorities are encouraged to apply.”
  • “The department is seeking outstanding candidates with the potential for exceptional research, excellence in teaching and a clear commitment to enhancing the diversity of the faculty, graduate student population and of the majors in [X].”
  • “A demonstrated commitment to improving access to higher education for disadvantaged students through teaching or mentoring activities is desired.”
  • “The Department is particularly interested in candidates who have experience working with students from diverse backgrounds and has a demonstrated commitment to improving access to higher education for disadvantaged students.” 
  • “Experience in mentoring women and minorities in STEM fields is desired. 
  • “The University of California seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce as a reflection of our commitment to serve the people of California, to maintain the excellence of the University and to offer our students richly varied disciplines, perspectives and ways of knowing and learning.” 

► Figure 4. Four Components of Diversity Statement Scorecard

University of California – Irvine has “Equity Advisors” who work with search committees to provide training on the use of the diversity statement evaluation grid. Faculty candidates are evaluated on four components of the diversity statement. An example of the scoring system is below.



Scoring System

a statement of contributions to diversity


Indicates awareness
of inequities and challenges in education faced by historically underrepresented or economically disadvantaged groups, and the negative consequences of underutilization


Demonstrates a track
record and measure of success in activities (such as mentoring, teaching or outreach) that aim to reduce barriers in education or research for underrepresented or economically disadvantaged groups


Specific plans to contribute
through campus programs, new activities or through national or off-campus organizations


Examples: (5 = EXCELLENT) (1 = STATEMENT ONLY)

  • Helps to identify candidates who have job skills, experience and/or willingness to engage in diversity-type activities that could enhance campus diversity efforts.
  • Promotes commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in faculty culture.
  • Underscores our public commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.


The Search Committee and faculty should have ongoing training and discussions regarding the appropriate avenues for ensuring an equitable faculty search process. These discussions and trainings should be held in collaboration with the university and college/departmental-level Human Resources, Academic/Faculty Affairs and Equal Opportunity representatives.

Appoint tenured faculty to serve as red team strategists and diversity champions to promote equitable search principles and practices.


In evaluating candidates, Search Committees and the faculty must understand the impact of implicit basis on their assumptions, viewpoints and beliefs. This will require ongoing training in the area of implicit bias, cognitive errors and the cultural competence continuum.

The voting procedure, clearly defined criteria and how the criteria will be weighed should be part of the Faculty Recruitment Plan and explicitly agreed upon in advance.

Consider a longer list of candidates or an intermediate list and avoid labeling candidates as a “good fit” without explicit criteria explanation.

► Figure 5. The Association of American Medical College’s Holistic Review Framework’s Experiences, Attributes and Metrics Model

FDT Figure5

The AAMC's Holistic Review Framework's Experiences, Attributes and Metrics (EAM) Model Adapted for Faculty Hiring Practices
Reprinted with permission from the Associated of American Medical Colleges.

Sources: The experiences, attributes, and academic metrics (E-A-M) model for faculty recruitment and advancement is adapted from AAMC Holistic Admission Review Framework in Association of American Medical Colleges. Roadmap to Excellence: Key Concepts for Evaluating the Impact of Medical School Holistic Admissions. Washington, DC: AAMC, 2013; Blakley Harris T, Thomson WA, Moreno NP et al. Advancing Holistic Review for Faculty Recruitment and Advancement. Acad Med. 2018;93:1658–1662.

► Figure 6. Four Components of Diversity Statement Scorecard

FDT Figure6

In order to avoid premature favoritism or prioritization of applicants early in the process, The University of Chicago recommends using a criterion grid to individually discuss and focus on the objective


Post-assessment is an integral part of the faculty recruitment process and should be included in the Faculty Recruitment Plan. While fresh, this critical evaluation allows the Search Committee to document successes, areas in need of improvement, and to note future process and search needs. 


  • Burgoyne, R., Shaw TM, Dawson RC, Scheinkman R. Navigating a Complex Landscape to Foster Greater Faculty and Student Diversity in Higher Education. Washington, DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2010.
  • Palatta AM. From Pipeline to Mainstream: Increasing the Number of Dental Students and Residents Pursuing Academic Careers. J of Dental Educ. May 2016;80(5):499-501.
  • Blake D. Motivations and Paths to Becoming Faculty at Minority Serving Institutions. Educ Sci. 2018;8(3):4-16.
  • Gironda MW, Bibb CA, Lefever K et al. A Program to Recruit and Mentor Future Academic Dentists: Successes and Challenges. J of Dental Educ. March 2013;77(3):292-299. 
  • Lee, BA and Malone JA. “As the Professoriate Ages, Will Colleges Face More Legal Landmines?” Chronicle of Higher Education (November 30, 2007): B6–B8.
  • Sensoy Ö and DiAngelo R. “We Are All for Diversity, but . . .”: How Faculty Hiring Committees Reproduce Whiteness and Practical Suggestions for How They Can Change. Harvard Educational Review. Winter 2017;87(4):557-580.
  • Turner CSV. Before starting a faculty search, take a good look at the search committee. The Chronicle of Higher Education;53(6): B32, B34.
  • Turner CSV. Diversifying the Faculty: A Guidebook for Search Committees. Washington DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities, 2002.
  • Chan PS. MGH Institute of Health Professions, Recognizing and Reckoning with Unconscious Bias: A Workshop for Health Professions Faculty Search Committees. MedEdPORTAL Publications, Association of American Medical Colleges, 2017.
  • Lee, BA and Ruger PH. Accommodating Faculty and Staff with Psychiatric Disabilities. Washington, DC: National Association of College and University Attorneys, 1997.
  • Abram S. “The Americans with Disabilities Act in Higher Education: The Plight of Disabled Faculty.” Journal of Law and Education 32 (2003): 1–19.
  • OWU Sample Interview Questions for Faculty Candidates Regarding Diversity Measuring Diversity and Inclusion Key Competencies during the Interview Process. PDF Ohio Weslyan University. Accessed January 4, 2020. 
  • Chun E and Evans A. Department Chairs as Transformative Diversity Leaders. The Department. 2015;25(3):1-3.
  • University of California, Los Angeles Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Searching for Excellence Evidence-Based Strategies for Equitable and Inclusive Faculty Hiring. v. 2.1. October 2017. Accessed January 4, 2020.
  • Turner CSV. Diversifying the Faculty: A Guidebook for Search Committees. Washington DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities, 2002.