Provost announces guidelines for 'opportunity hires'

October 25, 2010

Indiana State University has begun implementing a new initiative designed to help make its faculty more closely reflect the diversity of its student body.

Jack Maynard, Indiana State's provost and vice president for academic affairs, has released guidelines for the "opportunity hires" program announced by university President Dan Bradley during his fall address in September.

The program will fund the hiring of "diverse, exceptional and nationally competitive" faculty members. Opportunity hires might occur when a desirable, underrepresented candidate surfaces outside the normal faculty search process or when multiple highly competitive candidates are identified as from an underrepresented group, according to the guidelines.

Faculty hired under the program must also be those who "will make a unique contribution to the university and its strategic plan."

"Diversity enriches the university in many ways," Maynard said. "This campus has always had a commitment to multiculturalism. This program gives the deans an additional tool for recruiting highly qualified educators to complement our existing faculty."

Maynard noted that 15 percent of Indiana State's undergraduate students are African-American while the university has only a handful of African-American faculty members. One of the goals of the university's strategic plan is to narrow the gap between the percentage of African-American students and faculty members by 2014.

"We hope to bring those numbers closer to alignment over the course of time but the program is not restricted to any specific population," Maynard said. "We look at diversity in the broadest possible way - in terms of gender, race and ethnicity. We may also look at diversity in terms of discipline composition when a particular discipline is dominated by a single gender. We want to enrich the campus community as much as we can."

Requests submitted under the opportunity hires program will be evaluated based in part on the impact on the strategic plans of the university and college, evidence of strong faculty support within the hiring department and the candidate's likelihood of achieving tenure and promotion.

In addition to the opportunity hires program, the university is providing additional training to faculty and staff who serve on search committees in an effort to ensure greater diversity in the normal search process, Maynard said.

Contact: Jack Maynard, provost and vice president for academic affairs, Indiana State University, 812-237-2309 or jack-maynard@indstate.edu

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or dave.taylor@indstate.edu