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CU System President Inclusive Hiring Process

The CU Regent Board is currently deciding on the CU President search committee and process. diversifyCUnow compiled a list of recommendations we received and gathered from the CU community and submitted them (as shown below) to the CU Regent Board on June 15, 2021. We plan to follow these recommendations as we observe and hold the Regent Board accountable through the presidential search committee process. Join us in holding this process to an equitable and just standard! 

June 15, 2021




We recommend that you apply best practices in inclusive hiring throughout the entire process of hiring the next CU System President. Inclusive hiring is grounded in the principles of equity, antiracism, accountability, and transparency. We also recommend that you modify certain hiring procedures and document this search process so that inclusivity is embedded into the CU System’s hiring practices in the future. Furthermore, the CU community should be notified of and solicited for meaningful feedback at each step in the process. 


We have found the following resources to be valuable examples of inclusive hiring, but we also acknowledge that there are many experts on inclusive hiring within our own CU system. We encourage you to seek out and compensate these leaders to further inform the processes moving forward.


PDF on top ten evidence-based inclusive hiring practices.


Below we outline steps for hiring informed by these resources and our own experiences. We recognize this as a starting point for conversation and iteration, and expect that you and the search committee will commit to ongoing work to improve inclusivity and transparency throughout this process.


Forming the search committee 

“Search committee membership should include diverse representation (e.g., in institutional roles, race, disability, gender, perspectives), and/or representation from those with a demonstrated commitment to diversity.” (Santa Clara University Office of Diversity and Inclusion, 2021)


Furthermore, members of search committees who are from historically excluded groups often face discrimination within the committee setting. All committee members should therefore receive training on how bias is perpetuated in group and professional settings, as well as anti-microaggression and bystander intervention training. 


To ensure that people from diverse backgrounds, life situations, and socioeconomic statuses can effectively participate, committee work should be adequately compensated (financially and in other meaningful ways). That compensation should be communicated clearly to potential members of the search committee. 

The process in which the search committee engages should include the following steps:



  • Train all members of the search committee on the impacts of bias in hiring processes and specific ways that biases may manifest both among committee members and in the applications of candidates from diverse backgrounds. 

    • Contact Teresa Hernandez, CU Human Resources, for trainings currently being developed

  • Define qualifications for the position and create a candidate assessment template in advance

    • Provide broadly-defined qualifications that will attract a diverse group of candidates.

    • Phrase presidential candidate qualifications in a way that is based on the job itself, not to a particular background or life experience. For example, “ability to connect with donors and raise funds” rather than “has relationships with particular alumni.”

    • Be clear about required versus preferred qualifications.

    • Include qualifications that show the importance of candidate experience with/commitment to anti-racist and DEI work, especially how they have solicited feedback from and supported Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) students, staff, and faculty.

  • Write a job description that prioritizes the candidate’s role in leading anti-racism and DEI work.

  • Announce the position publicly, and proactively promote it in groups and spaces that center people from historically excluded groups.

    • Some examples include:

      • BIPOC-centered national societies like SACNAS

      • INSIGHT into Diversity

      • American Association of Blacks in Higher Education

      • African American Knowledge Community (AAKC), subsidiary group of NASPA, Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education

    • Include the qualifications and review criteria in these announcements.


Candidate recruitment

  • Directly and personally invite candidates from historically excluded groups to apply.

  • Reach out to BIPOC and minority-serving institutions for candidate recommendations.

  • Reach out to current University administrators/staff/faculty, especially historically excluded folks who work as administrators/staff/faculty, to recommend candidates and share with their networks.

  • Make qualifications and review criteria publicly available, and include them when reaching out to candidates.


Evaluation of the candidate pool

  • Review data on the candidate pool at multiple stages in the hiring process to ensure that the candidates in initial, short-list, and finalist pools are diverse and representative of historically excluded groups.

  • Have benchmarks for diversity that must be met before moving to the next stage of the search. If there is no such diversity then deadlines should be extended and outreach expanded to ensure a diverse pool.

  • Do not solicit letters of recommendation or speak to candidate references in advance of first, or even second, round of candidate evaluations. Reference letters have been shown to perpetuate bias through the language used to describe candidates.

  • The evaluation process and discussions should be based on the qualifications and template created in advance. Records of these discussions should be kept and made as transparent and accessible as possible while preserving the level of anonymity that is required.

  • In interviews, avoid asking just one, broad question about diversity. Provide multiple opportunities for both the University and the candidates to demonstrate their commitment to and expertise in creating inclusive environments and supporting diverse communities.


Site visits

  • Use principles of universal design to ensure that site visits are equitable and accessible to all.

  • Only use spaces that are accessible to all potential attendees.

  • Consider how whiteness and other forms of privilege may be signaled as “normal” during the visit, and seek to mitigate such instances.


Finalizing the search

  • Notify candidates of decisions as quickly as possible.

  • Maintain records of the search.


Ensuring long-term support for hire

  • Provide ongoing training across the University on structural inequality and how it functions in academia.

  • Create policies for inclusive hiring practices at the System and University levels.

  • Provide resources to support anti-racism and anti-oppression work throughout the University system.


Thank you for your consideration in this matter. We are available for discussion of these topics, as well as for additional topics that will arise through the hiring process. You may reach us at





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