Equity Advocates Program
Welcome and Overview
The Equity Advocates Program pairs a trained UIC volunteer advocate (faculty or staff) with faculty search committees upon request. Equity Advocates (EAs) serve as non-voting members of search committees that provide valuable knowledge and resources for the search committee throughout the entire hiring process. Specifically, EAs support committees in attending to and implementing strategies to promote an equitable search process. Importantly, EAs bring a wealth of information related to the recognition of implicit bias and how to mitigate it, constructing and disseminating a job ad that may attract a more diverse faculty applicant pool, assessing candidates consistently and fairly, and effective communication strategies for committees. EAs are a valuable addition to any search committee, as they are able to attend to details that may otherwise be challenging for committees to keep up with. Finally, EAs can provide valuable assistance that saves your committee time and can increase committee members’ ability to understand issues related to equity and inclusion that can be applicable broadly (e.g. student recruitment efforts, graduate admissions, etc.)
About the Program and Role
What is an Equity Advocate?
Equity Advocates (EAs) are carefully selected volunteer faculty and staff consultants who work with faculty search committees in ensuring that their search practices are aligned with mitigating the negative effects of implicit bias and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) throughout the process. EAs bring important knowledge and skills to every step of the faculty search process and are trained to offer valuable education, support, and resources to search committee members. The experience of serving as an EA is aimed to increase the advocate’s knowledge and skills related to aspects of DEI in the hiring process, such as bias recognition and mitigation, clear and effective communication, and an increased ability to locate and apply resources (e.g., professional organizations, social media, etc.) with a particular focus on attracting a large and diverse candidate pool. Becoming an EA is a great way to acquire DEI service experience and professional development that can translate beyond the context of faculty hiring.
Do Equity Advocates serve on search committees within their own department?
Equity Advocates already serving on faculty search committees within their departments will not also be their committee’s EA.
Is the Equity Advocate a voting member of the search committee?
The EA is not a formal, voting member of the faculty search committee. EAs participate fully throughout the search process (e.g., access and review candidate materials, participate in candidate visits and all search committee meetings) in order to provide consultation to the committee with regard to best practices for ensuring an equitable search process.
What is the overall structure of the Equity Advocates program?
Equity Advocates must complete the initial certification process (one time), an orientation session during each year of continued participation in the program (approximately 1 hour), and one professional development session (approximately 2 hours) per academic year during each year of continued participation in the program. See FAQs below about Eligibility and Requirements for more details about certification and professional development. EAs will also be invited to complete a brief survey at the end of each academic year as a way to provide feedback about their experience. Individual support for EAs serving on search committees will be available upon request by staff in the Office of Diversity.
Who can be an Equity Advocate?
All UIC faculty and staff are eligible to go through the Equity Advocate certification process and serve as EAs. It is preferable, however, for faculty at the Associate Professor level or above to serve in this role.
What is the time commitment for an Equity Advocate?
EAs must go through the certification process, participate in the structure of the program, and commit to being a part of the program for at least one year. EAs may choose to serve up to three consecutive years. EAs will only serve on 1-2 search committees per year.
What is the Equity Advocate certification process?
The initial certification process involves: (1) completing the campus-wide search committee training (approximately 2 hours) and (2) attending the Equity Advocates workshop series (four sessions; approximately 8 – 12 hours in total). After fulfilling these two requirements, EAs will receive a certificate of completion and be registered with the Office of Diversity.
The initial certification workshop series will be tentatively scheduled to take place in September and October 2021. Specific dates will be announced at a later date, pending prospective EA availability.
What is the Equity Advocate workshop series?
The EA workshop series consists of four, individual workshops ranging from 2-3 hours each. The series is scaffolded to provide individuals with the knowledge base and skills to be effective advocates for faculty search committees. General topics include: implicit bias; the core components of the search process including bias intervention strategies; advocate role and responsibilities including navigating issues of status and; advocate role playing. These workshops are highly interactive and include numerous opportunities for practice, reflection, and discussion with facilitators and fellow advocates. Readings, videos, and other resources will be assigned throughout the series for more in-depth explorations of each of the various topics. Participation in all four workshops is required in order to complete the certification process.
What do you mean by professional development?
Ongoing professional development is a critical component of the EA Program, as it provides opportunities to update and expand necessary knowledge and skills related to your role. Fulfilling the annual professional development requirement can be done in two ways: 1) you may participate in a professional development opportunity offered by the Office of Diversity (these will be posted on the EA Program website throughout the academic year); 2) you may request Office of Diversity staff review and approve of an outside activity you believe is relevant to your EA role. The Office of Diversity will review these requests on a case-by-case basis.
How does an Equity Advocate get paired with a search committee?
Committee chairs can request the support of an EA by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, department, college and information related to the search in your email request.
I’m a search committee chair and/or member of a search committee. How do I get support from an Equity Advocate?
If you’re interested in having an EA participate in your search, please email email@example.com. It is important for EAs to be appointed to committees before the search process formally begins so they can engage fully in the process. Please request support from an advocate at the same time you are forming your faculty search committee.
If you would like the support of an EA after your search process has begun, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I want to become an Equity Advocate!
How do I become an Equity Advocate?
Prospective Equity Advocates are required to complete a brief program application (approximately 10-15 minutes). This application helps us better understand your interest in participating in the program and any relevant background education or experience you may have. To apply to be an Equity Advocate, please fill out the form below.
If you need assistance of any kind or accommodations to complete this application, please email email@example.com.