After a year in which no faculty searches occurred, University of California San Diego leaders have authorized 33 new faculty searches for the coming year. Of the 33 searches, 12 have been designated for scholars who enhance the university’s commitment to diversity. In addition, they established a pool of funding to hire seven more scholars during the year who promote diversity.
On the surface, it’s heartening that a public university is hiring again and has devoted so many resources to making an inclusive work environment. It’s also wise to reserve some funds for target of opportunity hires to take advantage of hiring circumstances throughout the year.
At the same time, UCSD–as any university–must approach diversity from a holistic perspective. What strategies do they have in place to identify promising candidates? What is their plan for retaining them? How do they see diversity fitting into the larger academic mission of the university? The press release is too brief to go into this detail, but it’s important that the gesture not be a superficial one simply to boost numbers.