Progress Report: Faculty Recruitment, Mentoring and Retention

Executive Leadership: Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Unit Leadership: Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs; Deans

Published November 16, 2023

Summary of Progress:

The Faculty Recruitment, Mentoring and Retention Subcommittee recommended several strategies for ensuring that faculty search committees are committed to equity and that candidate pools reflect the diversity of the discipline. In 2022-23, the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs (VPFAC) surveyed deans to assess current hiring practices, which showed that what is happening across academic units is uneven. Deans are encouraged to share with each other best practices that can be implemented across schools without significantly slowing down the faculty hiring progress. At the department level, the Chair’s Leadership Program Conversation series, held by the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs (VPFAC) includes issues related to bias in hiring and retention.

Enhancing faculty diversity has been a university priority. In 2020, the Provost set a goal of doubling the number of faculty from historically underrepresented groups by 2025 and has worked closely with deans and supported faculty hiring initiatives within the schools to accomplish this goal. As a result of these concerted efforts, hiring of historically underrepresented faculty has been robust in recent years.  The percentage of historically underrepresented faculty among new tenured and tenure-track faculty hires has increased from 6% in 2017 to approximately 28% in the last two years.

As the subcommittee recognized, it is equally important that UB provide support and resources to retain faculty and enable their success. As part of the annual resource planning process, the university is continuing to invest recurring funds in decanal units so that deans have the opportunity to reward our most accomplished faculty while proactively addressing faculty retention issues in their schools. To promote faculty success, at the university level, the VPFAC provides guidance for departments to provide excellent mentorship for faculty. The VPFAC also provides training resources for new faculty and department chairs that specifically address issues related to equity, diversity and inclusion as well as opportunities for faculty leadership and career development. On a national level, UB is a member of the National Center for Faculty Diversity and Development (NCFDD). UB faculty members have engaged in numerous NCFDD initiatives, including the Faculty Success Program (FSP) which supports faculty with developing practices to increase their research and writing productivity while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

In 2022, UB participated in the Harvard COACHE Survey of Faculty Job Satisfaction, which is designed to assess faculty views on a range of university policies, practices and working conditions to provide UB with valuable feedback and benchmarking data. The survey results were reviewed by eight faculty-guided teams to identify strengths and opportunities for improvement in key focus areas. In spring 2023, the results were shared widely with the campus through presentations and the Faculty Affairs website. The COACHE survey results, which will be used to inform policy and program improvements, are critical for us as we strive to attract and retain excellent new faculty, enhance the satisfaction of all faculty, and continue to make UB a great place to work.

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