Administrators at the University of Cincinnati have introduced a policy that requires new faculty hires to sign a “diversity and inclusion” pledge.
According to a press release from the university, the new policy took effect on July 1. All applicants for university faculty positions are now required to submit a personal statement regarding their commitment to diversity, inclusion, and leadership.
“As of July 1, the University of Cincinnati will request a Diversity and Inclusion statement of all applicants for faculty and staff positions,” the university announced. “Faculty and administrative/professional applicants will be asked to submit a personal statement summarizing his or her contributions (or potential contributions) to diversity, inclusion, and leadership.”
Potential hires are asked to speak to how their qualifications prepare them to teach to an increasingly diverse student body: “As an equal-opportunity employer with a diverse staff and student population, we are interested in how your qualifications prepare you to work with faculty, staff and students from cultures and backgrounds different from your own.”
M.B. Reilly, a university spokesperson, claimed that the changes were made to better reflect the university’s priorities. “Asking for diversity and inclusion statements in our application processes signals that we are global, we are national and we want to become more so in drawing students, staff and faculty that reflect today’s world,” Reilly stated.
Although recent efforts might suggest that universities place the utmost importance on an applicant’s political leanings and commitment to progressive ideals, Reilly maintains that the new pledge is only part of a much bigger evaluation process for potential new hires. “The diversity and inclusion statement is one part of an application process that would generally take into account other factors as well,” Reilly added.
“We do not intend to assign a rating for the statements but as we expect a cover letter to reflect interest in the position one applies to, so do we expect an understanding of how UC values the ability to work among diverse students, faculty and staff,” Reilly stated. “For any position, any search committee and/or any hiring manager/supervisor considers the needs of the position and the strengths of the candidates in a holistic manner.”
According to Tamie Grunow, University of Cincinnati’s chief human resources officer, “we’re all better off with diversity in our lives.” To Grunow, this new policy is the ultimate reflection of the university’s “commitment to diversity and inclusion and setting expectations and priorities.”