Important processes

2.1 Recruitment of New Faculty

While there are standard components to the recruitment process for new faculty, you will find that the process does allow for some flexibility and variation from Faculty to Faculty. Different components of the recruitment process include, but are not limited to:

  • Job posting
  • Review and assessment of candidate applications by the selection committee
  • On-site visit for a department / facilities tour, and /or meetings with department members and stakeholders
  • Seminar presentation
  • Formal interview with the selection committee
  • Recommendation, and the reasons therefore, to the Dean
  • Follow up with unsuccessful candidates

Two of the most common academic appointments within a department are those for Regular Full Time (RFT) tenure-track professors (i.e., limited term regular appointments) and Replacement Professors (i.e., limited term special appointments). The recruitment of an RFT faculty member is normally done following a vacancy due to retirement, resignation, etc. or the awarding of new positions to the Faculty. The recruitment of a Replacement Professor is to fill a need within a department as the result of: (i) professors who are absent due to academic leave, indeterminate sick leave, or secondment to administrative positions; (ii) to temporarily fill a position that cannot be staffed on regular basis; or (iii) the initial staffing for a new program.

Before appointing a regular or replacement professor, the position must be advertised. Advertisement(s) must be placed on the uOttawa website, in University Affairs (either print format, electronic, or both), and in at least one external publication such as the CAUT Bulletin, professional journals, or national newspapers. The University of Ottawa’s Faculty Relations Office can provide assistance and guidance regarding the standard format for advertisements and offer templates for use.

Though the appointment of an Faculty member is made by the University, it is done so on recommendation of the Department – through an appointments/selection committee – and the Dean of the Faculty. As Chair, you may choose to supplement the Department’s recommendation with your own comments or make your own separate recommendation for appointment.

You can find more information about academic appointments and the recruitment process in article 17 of the APUO Collective Agreement.

2.1.1 Unconscious Bias

Most of us believe that we are ethical and unbiased. We imagine we’re good decision makers, able to objectively size up a job candidate or a venture deal and reach a fair and rational conclusion that’s in our, and our organization’s, best interests. But more than two decades of research confirms that, in reality, most of us fall woefully short of our inflated self-perception.” – Mahzarin Banaji, Harvard University researcher

Pratt (2016) advises that when recruiting new faculty members, you must be aware of the potential for unconscious bias – that is stereotypes and judgments that are formed concerning different groups of people, and often without even realizing. Biases can be influenced by your background and personal experiences, as well as by cultural contexts and social stereotypes.

Unconscious bias can especially influence recruitment and selection decisions. Research has demonstrated evidence of bias by gender and ethnicity in the earliest stages of the recruitment process – CV shortlisting. Biases can affect your decision-making processes in a number of different ways:

  • Perception – how you see people and perceive reality.
  • Attitude – how you react towards certain people.
  • Behaviours – how receptive/friendly you are towards certain people.
  • Attention – which aspects of a person you pay most attention to.
  • Listening Skills – how much you actively listen to what certain people say.
  • Micro-affirmations – how much or how little you comfort certain people in certain situations.

Whether you are aware of it or not, each of these types of bias will affect which candidates you select to come in for an interview, how the candidates are interviewed, who gets hired, and the reasons/rationale for your hiring decision. So, how do you stop yourself from falling prey to the dangers of unconscious bias? The first step is simple – make the unconscious, conscious. By acknowledging the different types of unconscious bias, we can start to address them.

For additional information and/or training, you can contact the Diversity and Inclusion specialists at the Human Rights Office.

REFERENCES

Pratt, S. (2016). 9 Types of Unconscious Bias and the Shocking Ways They Affect Your Recruiting Efforts. Socialtalent. Retrieved from https://www.socialtalent.com/blog/recruitment/9-types-of-unconscious-bias

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