Faculty Hiring and Diversity: An Ongoing Collaborative Effort

ASCCC President
ASCCC Treasurer

Over the last several years, the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges has published various Rostrum articles on equitizing the hiring process, considerations for faculty diversification, and the impact of diversification on students’ academic outcomes and the student experience. One of the most important activities at a college or district is the hiring of new personnel. At many colleges, while hiring happens year-round, the hiring of full-time faculty tends to be focused in the spring term. While all hiring is crucially important for the functioning of a college, the hiring of faculty has perhaps the greatest overall impact, given the length of time that most faculty spend working at a college. Hiring full-time faculty and diversifying the faculty ranks have been priorities of the ASCCC for many years and recently have come more into focus given the increased recognition of the systemic racism that exists within and outside of the community college system.

In 2016, the ASCCC joined with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and Diversity Advisory Committee to produce a manual regarding hiring and increasing diversification at the campuses in the California Community Colleges system, the EEO & Diversity Best Practices Handbook.[1] This handbook highlighted practices used at campuses and districts across the state to increase diversification among all hiring groups and listed nine effective practices that campuses should be using prior to hiring, during hiring processes, and after hires are made. Additionally, monies from the Equal Employment Opportunity funding were incentivized for districts that could demonstrate the implementation of the majority—and eventually six— of the nine effective practices listed. The ASCCC again worked with the Chancellor’s Office to disseminate this information, holding numerous regional meetings, presenting at conferences across the state, and generally engaging all stakeholders throughout the system in use of the handbook.

These efforts were embraced throughout the state, but, as with so many initiatives, momentum slowed as colleges met the requirements and were not required to move further forward. In 2018 and 2019, Assemblymember Jose Medina held hearings on both the University of California and California Community Colleges practices in diversifying faculty hiring, calling attention to the slow movement of these efforts.[2] In 2018, the CCC Chancellor’s Office, in partnership with the ASCCC, created the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force, which was charged with finding ways to continue to increase diversity at the system’s colleges in addition to a myriad of other changes to the system as a whole. The DEI Work Plan was approved by the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges at its September 2019 board meeting and has driven much of the work of many of the system stakeholder groups since that time. The ASCCC responded to its assigned roles within the DEI plan by appointing faculty to serve on the DEI Implementation Task Force as well as partnering with stakeholders throughout the system.

One of the most crucial of these assigned tasks is in the area of diversification of faculty hiring. The examination of faculty hiring requires the review of the structural, human, and cultural factors that are part of the hiring process. To this end, the ASCCC developed a series of modules around all areas of the hiring process, including not only hiring itself, but recruitment and retention as well. Those modules, detailing model hiring practices and procedures, can be found at https://ccconlineed.instructure.com/courses/5733. While the ASCCC did much of the work in the creation of these modules, other stakeholder groups, including the Chief Instructional Officers Board, the Chief Student Services Officers Board, and the Association of Chief Human Resources Officers, also provided valuable insight and contributed to these courses around hiring. The courses went live in June 2020 and were the subject of numerous webinars and other activities, including presentations at the ASCCC Fall 2020 Plenary Session.

The modules are presented in order, with pre-hiring, hiring, and post-hiring all covered, and contain critical resources and other printable materials that can be used by hiring committees as well as local EEO officers. Each module begins with “Dialogue Principles, Guiding Questions, and Equity Framework” and then moves into “Model Activity, Resources, and Tools.” They are designed to be used by anyone serving on any hiring committee at any campus, college, or district. Similar to many ASCCC Resources, these modules are designed to be living documents and will be added to and refined over time.

Hiring processes and criteria have often failed to integrate effectively a minimum qualification that assesses how applicants can effectively serve students from diverse environments. The Student Senate for California Community Colleges, a partner in the statewide DEI work, is committed to working with the ASCCC and the system’s stakeholders to “create a campus climate of cultural awareness and respect for all students of color to feel welcome, safe, and free to express their opinions,” a strategy delineated in the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office Vision for Success Diversity, Equity and Inc lusion Integration Plan.[3]

Increasing input from students in hiring processes can broaden perspectives regarding serving diverse populations. Student participation in hiring committees can be included in both formal and informal ways. Recently, the Association of Chief Human Resources Officers suggested several strategies to address student involvement. Recommendations include allocating resources to hire students to serve on hiring committees, hiring committee training for students, and suggestions on student involvement in various phases of the hiring process. In September of 2020, the Chancellor’s Office General Counsel issued a legal opinion around the use of students in recruitment and hiring efforts; while this question had been raised for several years, the promulgation of a legal opinion has provided colleges with an opportunity to change the dialogue around student participation.[4]

Additionally, the Chancellor’s Office EEO and Diversity Advisory Committee, now co-chaired by Deputy Chancellor Dr. Daisy Gonzales and ASCCC President Dolores Davison, will be revising the EEO & Diversity Best Practices Handbook; the timeline for dissemination to the colleges is tentatively set for the Spring 2021 term. The rollout of the new handbook, along with other materials for colleges, will be widely publicized and will occur at events across the stakeholder groups. The focus of the EEO and Diversity Advisory Committee is also changing: rather than focusing primarily on compliance, the intent of the committee is to focus attention on addressing systemic barriers that limit access to employment opportunities, issues of systemic and institutional racism and of diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism in the interests of what best serves the state’s colleges, students, and communities. All of these changes and practices cannot succeed without the concerted efforts of stakeholder groups across the system, and the ASCCC looks forward to continuing to engage faculty leaders in all areas around these efforts.

1. The EEO & Diversity Best Practices Handbook is available at https://www.cccco.edu/-/media/CCCCO-Website/About-Us/Reports/Files/2016….

2. A hearing on the California State University diversification efforts was scheduled for 2020 but has been moved to 2021 due to the pandemic.

3. The plan is available at https://www.cccco.edu/-/media/CCCCO-Website/Files/Communications/vision….
4. The legal opinion memo can be found at https://www.cccco.edu/-/media/CCCCO-Website/Office-of-General-Counsel/L…).