Applicants for faculty jobs at UC San Diego must specify their “diversity plan”

It came to my attention that anybody applying for a faculty job at the University of California at San Diego must submit with their application materials a rather detailed personal “diversity plan”. As the Center for Faculty Diversity and Inclusion stipulates,

Regardless of personal demographic characteristics, UC San Diego has a strong interest in ensuring that all candidates hired for faculty appointments share our commitment to excellence, access, and Principles of Community.

All candidates applying for faculty appointments at UC San Diego are required to submit a personal statement on their contributions to diversity. The purpose of the statement is to identify candidates who have the professional skills, experience, and/or willingness to engage in activities that will advance our campus diversity and equity goals.

And here are the guidelines that must be followed:

As I said, I’m in favor of diversity initiatives, as they constitute a form of academic “reparations” that we still need since genuine reparations, which I see as ensuring equal opportunities for all from the outset, are simply not in place. (That means, for instance, a lot of money to improve secondary schools).

But there are problems with this initiative. For one thing, it imposes an ideological rather than an academic requirement for hiring, something that, as Jon Haidt noted in a talk I highlighted yesterday, is at odds with the “search for truth”. In other words, this requirement can hold for “Social Justice University” but not for “Truth University”. Part A is especially invidious, as you’re expected to regurgitate intersectionalist dogma about institutionalized racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, etc.  And if your “understanding of the barriers” doesn’t comport with the party line, does that make you less likely to be hired?

Likewise, if you haven’t done much for diversity as a graduate student, or in your previous job, you’re screwed.  Yet that’s hard because such activities are usually not the purview of individual faculty but of the University as a whole. If this were a requirement for a position at the University of Chicago, I wouldn’t have been hired, as my previous job at the University of Maryland included no diversity activities beyond making sure that job applicants and grad students were evaluated fairly.

Yes, UCSD is Social Justice University. By all means let the University put in place committees and guidelines for making sure that minorities are recruited and, if accepted, are afforded equal opportunities. But I don’t think it helps matters to make faculty applicants meet criteria of social justice as well as of academic excellence.

73 Comments

  1. glen1davidson
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    With respect to intellectual diversity, it’s an excellent anti-diversity plan.

    Of course that’s the point.

    Glen Davidson

  2. Puffin
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Diversity statements are pretty common now, at least in the humanities. UCSD’s is just a bit more specific than most. Usually there is either no explanation of what they want, or they limit to saying “describe how you’d contribute to diversity.”

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted March 30, 2018 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      It may well be that things in practice are not much different from what I had experienced. There is an effort to recruit URG members, but in the end, the hiring decision goes to the best qualified candidate that can bring in the grant $ and who has the greatest probability of getting tenure.

    • Filippo
      Posted March 30, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      ‘Usually there is either no explanation of what they want, or they limit to saying “describe how you’d contribute to diversity.”’

      To my mind, a university is no less obligated to trouble itself to pointedly specify up front what it requires of applicants in this regard, so that applicants may determine whether it is worth their trouble to apply.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted March 31, 2018 at 3:54 am | Permalink

      So, they’re moving this from being an awkward question to field in the interview, to something that want you to put something into the application. Waffle and evasion gaining or losing points, depending on discipline.
      Have American recruiters started including one or more of the interview panel coming in by video conference, for purported scheduling reasons or something and totally nothing to do with video recording the interview to be used against you in your later thought-crime trial.

      On the subject of thought crime, even sheep can do it.

  3. ploubere
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    The goal is worthy but as so often with these new rules, the implementation is muddled and heavy-handed, and likely counter-productive. A very small percentage of qualified applicants are likely to meet those criteria, meaning someone who in every other way would be of great benefit to all students, including minorities, might not get hired.

    • Posted March 30, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      You mistakenly assume that the radical ideologues & illiberal zealots who infest these Diversity Offices care about anything other than indoctrinating youth into their perverse ideology.

      • Mark Sturtevant
        Posted March 30, 2018 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        There are parts of the system where ideology could hold sway. For faculty jobs the process begins in a committee within the faculty. They review the candidates, rank their preferences, and pass the information up the chain of command. I think it less likely for ideology to happen in the hard sciences or business. At least I have never heard of it. But higher in the chain, a dean or the provost — a single person — could overturn the wishes of the faculty, and I believe I have seen cases where ideology has been asserted there in both the hiring process and in tenure decisions. I especially know of one case of the latter where a faculty member was up for tenure, and they were soundly rejected by their own colleagues for tenure. But that decision was overturned higher up. The appearance was that they got tenure because they were from an URG.
        Of course in the case of some of the humanities departments the ideologues could well be within the faculty.

  4. Posted March 30, 2018 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    This is a political litmus test for hiring, and a loyalty pledge to the one-party SJW totalitarians in control of our public universities.

    I will be bringing this to my state rep’s attention and urge UC SD be sanctioned or defunded.

  5. cinn
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    As someone who has applied for jobs at university, this isn’t isolated to UCSD. Looking back at my documents, many of the California schools ask for a diversity statement. I recall non-California schools asking as well but could not find an example. That said, it’s hard to tell how important this statement is in the hiring decision.

  6. BJ
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    This should be really terrifying to people who care about truth, good education, freedom of thought/expression, and equality in hiring (it’s not OK to discriminate against teachers for not sharing a specific ideology, or for not pushing hard enough for an ideology). This is a public university that is finding a way to weed out anyone who doesn’t conform to certain ideological standards.

    All ideologies (and religion is a type of ideology), no matter how often I may agree or disagree with them, circumvent rational thought by supplanting it with belief. All ideologies abrogate compromise and destroy nuance. All ideologies strip people of the very attributes of thought with which they’re supposed to be imbued at a good university. All of this is by design.

    Hiring teachers only if they conform to certain ideological standards ensures that the school’s teaching will be ideologically based, and I fear that is the point. It seems this statement required of potential hires not only demands a statement of conformity, but performative activities as well. Those who are hired must constantly demonstrate their commitment to the ideology, and those who wish to be hired in the future must plan for it by being maximally performative in their commitment. Will this lead to a further increase in the already troubling involvement of professors in witch hunts against impure students and fellow faculty? Will it lead to a further increase in censorship of wrong thought and “hateful” speakers? Will it lead to ever more ideological conditioning in the classroom, and a decrease in intellectual diversity? All signs point to yes. “Initiatives” like this have far-reaching consequences beyond just who is hired.

    Social justice universities should be strictly remanded to the private sphere, as with religious universities. A public university should have no other mission but to get as close to truth as possible, and to teach its students how to seek truth on their own. Public universities with public funds should not be teaching from ideology, nor intentionally restricting hires to a specific ideological stance.

    I know the term “Orwellian” is often overused these days, but I find this truly befitting of the word.

  7. Posted March 30, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Who would evaluate the “diversity plan” and how influential would be they be?

    If they were hiring, say, an engineer or chemist, would the appointment panel include someone from the “Center for Faculty Diversity and Inclusion”?

  8. Jon Gallant
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    My guess is that the innumerable bureaucrats in Diversity offices are by now not all “radical ideologues & illiberal zealots”. They have been multiplying like rabbits for a generation, exemplifying a new, intellectually vacuous career path. It follows, therefore, that by now many of the diversicrats will merely be role-playing opportunists. They will thus be analogous to the Party members who achieved such brilliant social construction in the former USSR; and the pardoners, priests, and Borgia or Medici popes of an earlier religious establishment.

    • Posted March 31, 2018 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      All these parasites have to be comfortably supported by subsidies and tuition fees, and then people wonder why budgets keep having deficits and tuition fees are skyrocketing.

  9. DrBrydon
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    The assumption in the guidelines is that diversity is only about including some people. While some groups have been discriminated against, it’s hard to see how an eighteen-year-old can be held responsible for that, and exluded from inclusivity efforts. It always sounds like some animals are more equal than others.

    • BJ
      Posted March 30, 2018 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Some animals are more equal than others. There’s a reason we have initiatives to get women into fields where men make up the majority, but never a single similar initiative for men in a field where women dominate.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted March 30, 2018 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

        Actually that’s not true. Most of my career was in the health sector. There were multiple initiatives to increase numbers of male nurses. One of the reasons there’s been such an improvement in possible career progression in nursing was to make nursing a more attractive career option for men.

        • Filippo
          Posted March 30, 2018 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

          Concur. I spent a semester in a BSN program, and decided that it was not for me. But not for “cultural role” reasons. (I worked as a nurse’s asst. a couple of years to test the waters.) It would have been the same were I in an M.D. program.

          Yesterday I had my semi-annual checkup, provided by a master’s level-trained nurse practitioner (NP), who does an outstanding job. I’ve contemplated over time what if any meaningful, practical, difference there is between an NP and a PA (physician’s assistant). I can’t seem to find any. Yet I perceive, however subjectively, that males gravitate to PA more so than NP as a career.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted March 31, 2018 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

            NPs, especially in places like EDs and ICUs are often at least as knowledgeable and usually more capable (due to the higher level of experience) as a junior doctor. It seems to be the prestige that is attached to the title that makes the difference.

        • BJ
          Posted March 30, 2018 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

          I meant scholarships and such at colleges specifically.

          • Helen Hollis
            Posted March 30, 2018 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

            I have been looking at this for years, and University of Chicago still gives breaks for CPD and CFD. All sorts of breaks for those who are not white.

            • Helen Hollis
              Posted March 30, 2018 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

              PS, I am white. So is my husband. Funny, white people do not all come from the same country.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted March 31, 2018 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

            Nurses get post-grad degrees these days. The term “nurse” is looked down on, but many are very highly trained.

      • Posted March 31, 2018 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        My ex-boss inofficially had such an initiative. It was ill-fated, because when a job requires high qualification but offers low pay, it is impossible to find decent men for it. He managed to hire 3 men, preferring them to better qualified women. Of the three, one turned out to be an alcoholic, another one a pedophile, and the best one was a Muslim who had a problem working with women.

        The problem was solved by a new leadership of our university. They simply raised the pay.

    • Posted March 30, 2018 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      But, but, but!

      Identity-politics ideology holds that benefiting people from Group A today can make up for past mistreatment of other members of Group A.

      Likewise, punishing some members of Group B today can atone for the misdeeds of other members of Group B in the past.

      • Helen Hollis
        Posted March 30, 2018 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

        My husband is born of Polish parents who were born in Poland. My mother was born in Finland. Yes, we are white. Our cultures are not the same.

        • Helen Hollis
          Posted March 30, 2018 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

          We did not own slaves, or want to own slaves.
          But, we are white. We have the wrong skin color today.

  10. Taz
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Am I to understand that the “Center for Faculty Diversity and Inclusion” at UCSD has veto power over all faculty hiring decisions?

    • Posted March 30, 2018 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Well currently (from clicking on an above link), we have only:

      “Departments and search committees should consider a candidate’s statement as part of a comprehensive and transparent evaluation of their qualifications.”

      Though that is followed by the menacing:

      “For additional guidance on how to evaluate Contributions to Diversity, please contact your School’s or Division’s Equity Advisor.”

  11. Ray Little
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    URGs? URMs? Oh, boy, I can hear the laughter now! The people who slide into positions as Diversity watchdogs are third-rate people, without the self-awareness to notice how silly (and by the way, subtly insulting) those acronyms are. How would you like to be classed as an URM?

  12. John Black
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    It’s been awhile since I applied for an NSF grant, but I’m pretty sure on your application you had to include a diversity plan that stated how you plan to include women and minority groups in your research.

    Of course my main priority is producing good work of good quality and I’d prefer to just be color-blind and gender-blind, but the government is telling me otherwise. Just out of sheer luck, many of my students have been non-white women, but I chose them because they were very strong students, not because of group membership quotas that needed filling.

  13. ladyatheist
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Faculty are rated and promoted (or not) based on more than academic credentials. They are expected to get along with colleagues, treat students equally, contribute to service, etc. If someone isn’t committed to diversity at least at a minimal level, the university is at risk of EEO actions.

    This particular thing may be over the top, but I don’t think it’s out of bounds to seek out people who will commit to getting along with others, especially on a campus that has a diverse population. You really can’t just assume that someone who seems nice really *is* nice to all people equally. The hiring process should look for people who are likely to be successful in their jobs. Nobody wants a bigot in their midst.

    • Posted March 30, 2018 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      OK, but does “getting along with others” include getting along with white males? (Or even, perish the thought, getting along with white males who vote Republican?)

      Absolutely, one wants non-bigots who will get along with everyone. But that’s not what this policy is aimed at.

      • ladyatheist
        Posted March 30, 2018 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        Yes, it does. The system in this post requires everyone to show they treat people fairly, including people who are part of a national minority (which may not be a minority at that institution).

        • Posted March 30, 2018 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

          It doesn’t require them to show that they treat white males fairly.

          And if it were just about treating everyone fairly it would be worded very differently.

          • Aynranddeathmask
            Posted March 31, 2018 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

            The problem is that white males are already treated TOO fairly. All else being equal, they are paid more, get promoted to top positions more often in virtually every domain and benefit from systemic racism. This is the point of diversity initiatives because without them visible and other minorities are underrepresented. These programs are having an effect because they are getting a reaction from persons of priviledge and their useful idiots.

      • Posted March 31, 2018 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        + 1

    • Chris Lang
      Posted March 30, 2018 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      Well said! I’ve been faculty at public universities serving working-class and first-generation students for 30+ years, and you are exactly correct.

    • Taz
      Posted March 30, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      This particular thing may be over the top, but I don’t think it’s out of bounds to seek out people who will commit to getting along with others, especially on a campus that has a diverse population.

      In my opinion, making people go through this exercise isn’t going to help you do that. Plenty of those who yell loudest about diversity are total assholes, but I bet they can write a very convincing “diversity plan”. I’m sure they’ll use all the proper buzz words.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted March 31, 2018 at 2:15 am | Permalink

        Exactly my thoughts.

        I’m sure the ability to sound sincere while lying like a bastard is exactly as valuable (if not more so) than any real belief in treating people fairly.

        cr

      • ladyatheist
        Posted April 3, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

        It will weed out people who can’t stomach the idea of working in their environment. There are probably still plenty of institutions where being a bigoted white male isn’t a drawback, and they can apply for those jobs.

    • Posted March 31, 2018 at 3:46 am | Permalink

      This goes well beyond finding out if people are able to get along with others. For example

      Describe your understanding of the barriers that exist for historically under-represented groups in higher education and/or your field

      If I were to answer that truthfully for my field (the software industry), I would have to say that I have no understanding of the barriers. I mean, quite clearly there are barriers, you only need to look at the proportion of women in the industry to realise that, but I don’t understand them. We recruit people straight out of college and I observe that, fewer than one in ten CVs that cross my desk come from women,, so whatever the barrier is, it kicks in at quite an early age.

      Do you think, if I wrote the above, it would increase or decrease my chances of getting a job at UCSD? My feeling is that my chances would be decreased, so I’d probably craft something different that is what I think the recruiters would want to hear.

      This will lead to recruiting two groups of people: those who are more interested in engaging in identity politics than teaching their subject to their students and those who are good at bullshitting on their CV.

      • Aynranddeathmask
        Posted March 31, 2018 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

        Well, maybe you should learn about the barriers. There is lots of good research available that 2 minutes on EBSCO will turn up. Acknowledging that there are barriers is a far better start than the response of reactionaries who deny blatant barriers exist or latch onto lazy new ‘theories ‘ of old fashioned social Darwinism being peddeled lately by several unremarkable scholars currently reinventing themselves as public intellectuals.

    • Posted March 31, 2018 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      I do not think that anybody needs faculty members who have totalitarian mindsets, bully people for being white or male and destroy careers of gifted people for ideological reasons.

      • ladyatheist
        Posted April 3, 2018 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        Where does it imply or say that bullying white people is okay?

        • Posted April 3, 2018 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

          To me, the requirement to present a diversity plan is bullying white people by itself.

  14. Heather Hastie
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    It’s important that faculty understand the difficulties their students might face, and to make sure they understand how to ensure each of their students gets an equal opportunity to do their best whatever their background. However this looks to be going beyond that to trying to manipulate equality of outcome. And if you don’t see what’s wrong with that, watch the full Jonathan Haidt video Jerry put up yesterday.

    I think it’s great that universities are being more understanding of some of the issues students can face. But as Haidt and others show, there comes a point where it’s problematic. I notice, for example, how easy it is to get an A these days. That means either standards have slipped, or some students are getting marks they don’t deserve, and that’s unfair and dishonest.

    I agree with BJ’s comment above about SJW universities being private along with religious ones. If that’s what you want, that’s fine, but the state should be dedicated to the truth in education.

  15. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    This is awful, especially the ideological claptrap. Onliest thing worse is some of the white people, many of ’em aggrieved for the first time in their lives, who you’ll hear bitchin’ & moanin’ about it the loudest. They’re the most pampered, privileged group of people ever to inhabit the planet. (Sure, many US white folk are economically disadvantaged, but they almost always still have a comparative cultural advantage over similarly situated non-white folk.)

    Hell, I oughta know; I’m one of ’em — to the extent that someone half-Slav, half-Irish can ever be considered completely “white” (although even a mixed-breed Bohemian like me can become ulta-WASPy-white in a heartbeat, during a police traffic stop, for instance, or when calling down to the concierge at a five-star hotel to inquire whether someone might check with housekeeping to see if the suit I sent down for pressing last night, and which was promised to me by 8 am, but which has yet to arrive, even though it’s now — what? — 8:15, and I absolutely must be in court by 9, you do understand, Felipe, don’t you? It is “Felipe,” isn’t it? Thank you veddy, veddy much.)

    • Posted March 31, 2018 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      Ken,
      With the breath-taking speed these ideas and practices known from the former USSR are introduced, I predict that in 3-5 years, even you will be forced to give them the title “worst thing”.

    • ladyatheist
      Posted April 3, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Exactly. A working class or poor white person can learn to “pass” for upper middle class or even upper class white. Someone whose skin or eyes aren’t European can do all the same things and they will still face whatever they faced when poor.

  16. ladyatheist
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    20% of the student body are Caucasian. (https://ir.ucsd.edu/_files/stats-data/enrollment/ugethnic.pdf)

    How could demonstrating an awareness of the challenges of people who are not Caucasian be a bad thing?

    High school and college students today are quite aware of the ways differences play out in society & education. I doubt that a newly-minted Ph.D. would have trouble filling out this form.

    If the position is for a researcher who will not be teaching, the “search for the truth” ideal without regard for minorities would be more valid. But if a professor isn’t mindful of the challenges of the students, how will those students search for the truth? For example, if a professor has no sympathy for people whose native language is not English, and teaches at a university where more than half the students use English as a second language, wouldn’t that disadvantage those students? What if a Chinese student asks for lectures to be recorded, and the professor refuses to allow that? What if the professor nitpicks grammar and spelling in that Chinese student’s paper and won’t let the TA assist in revisions?

    If they are student-centered and the goal of the university is for students to be able to learn regardless of differences, that’s not social justice. It’s what universities should have been doing all along.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 30, 2018 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      Good for you, Lady A. I’m not sure if you’re right or wrong, but it’s good to hear a dissenting voice.

    • Taz
      Posted March 30, 2018 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      You’re arguing for diversity. I’m not sure anyone here is arguing against it – I’m certainly not. I just don’t think this is the way to go about it. This is a bureaucratic instrument written by a committee. I have zero faith in it’s ability to do anything useful.

      • ladyatheist
        Posted April 3, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        A few commenters here imply that diversity initiatives are anti-white, which isn’t true.

    • anonymous
      Posted April 3, 2018 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      You write,

      “How could demonstrating an awareness of the challenges of people who are not Caucasian be a bad thing?”

      Well, suppose it was the 1950’s and you were asked to write a statement demonstrating awareness of the difficulties of living in communist Russia. Obviously, life was hard in communist Russia, and one could similarly question how demonstrating awareness could be a bad thing. Nevertheless, I think you would be quite nervous to work there if you held a favorable view of communism.

      Similarly, diversity requirements like this one signal a hostile environment to people (like myself) who do not share the majority viewpoint on diversity and inclusion. It is especially ironic that they are purveyed under the heading of inclusion, since it signals exclusion of people like me.

  17. Christopher
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Here’s my diversity plan: I planted wild plum, red bud, dogwood, service berry, black berry, raspberry, Christmas fern, ostrich fern, peas, lettuce, chard, cabbage, asparagus, tomatoes, and several native wildflowers. And if UCSD doesn’t like it, they can suck an unripe persimmon! (I threw out some seeds of those but who knows if they’ll take) I’m done with social diversity nonsense. Nothing any non-PoC says or does will ever be good enough anyway, not with the constant goal-changing. You’d be just as successful trying to play Monopoly against a 10-yr old who changes the rules every time you roll the dice.

    • Aynranddeathmask
      Posted March 31, 2018 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      I think your comment proves why we need diversity policy. Without it minority students don’t have a chance. You are displaying the attitudes which inform the localized behaviours that engender systematic injustice and the maintenance of majority priviledge. You also sound like a teenager.

      • Posted March 31, 2018 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

        And you have violated the commenting Roolz, which you apparently didn’t read. Don’t call other commenters named.
        Apologize or you’ll never post here again.

  18. eric
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    required to submit a personal statement on their contributions to diversity

    Does “I yam what I yam” count?

    Like you, Jerry, I find it hard to think that a grad student could have much on their resume that would help them here. In fact, I think new Ph.D. might be able to sue on the grounds of ageism or other discrimination, since the ability to plan and execute a diversity program really requires prior faculty experience. This diversity requirement is so stringent that it would seem to create a barrier to newly minted Ph.D.’s and post-docs unrelated to their qualifications to do the science.

    • eric
      Posted March 30, 2018 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      Post script: AIUI it would be perfectly legal for UCSD to advertise a position only open to someone with prior faculty experience. What I have a problem with here is applying to all faculty positions. To then put in a requirement that only an experienced professional can fulfill is a sort of a bait and switch or false advertising. It’s kinda like saying “this position open to Ph.D.s of all experience levels! Must have 50+ professional publications to apply.” Sure there might be someone out there that published 50 papers in grad school, but on a practical level, those are two contradictory job description statements.

    • ladyatheist
      Posted March 30, 2018 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      It looks to me like they have given inexperienced people a way to show they understand people unlike themselves by proposing future projects and showing understanding of differences.

      If Hawking had been in a wheelchair as an undergraduate, would he have been able to attend all his classes and labs and get his papers written? It’s not hard to imagine what difficulties someone in that situation might face.

      • Taz
        Posted March 30, 2018 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

        I work at a university in the Midwest, one that I’m certain is more conservative in general than UCSD. It’s been years since accommodations for the disabled were left up to the whims of individual faculty members.

        • ladyatheist
          Posted April 3, 2018 at 11:57 am | Permalink

          European countries don’t have an A.D.A. law, though. The only wheelchair-friendly place I found in Paris was the Louvre.

      • eric
        Posted March 31, 2018 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        But this is just discrimination of another form. You’re saying that simply being something counts as a “contribution to diversity”, a “professional skill”, and a “past effort.”

        I have no idea how much time or effort Hawking spent on diversity efforts. But I’d be pretty skeptical of the claim that him having ALS and being in a wheelchair implies he’ll be good at integrating diversity training, awareness, and lessons into his physics lectures. This kind of goes back to the debate over whether being good at X implies you’ll be good at teaching X. Are all engineers qualified to teach engineering? Are all physicists good at teaching physics? People have varying opinions on this question, but I tend to side with the “not necessarily” group. So if someone asks me “are all wheel-chair-bound people good at teaching diversity,” my gut reaction is similarly “not necessarily.”

        So no, I would not count being something as a skill, effort, or contribution.

        • ladyatheist
          Posted April 3, 2018 at 11:58 am | Permalink

          You’re not arguing against what I said. You’re arguing against you wish I’d said because it would be easier to knock it down.

  19. Posted March 30, 2018 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    I have direct knowledge of how job searches in the sciences work at a UC school with very similar application guidelines. I can say unequivocally that the following are inaccurate:

    “it imposes an ideological rather than an academic requirement for hiring”

    “Likewise, if you haven’t done much for diversity as a graduate student, or in your previous job, you’re screwed.”

    Regarding the first point, perhaps I’m parsing the post’s language too finely, but nothing suggests that diversity requirements are substituted for academic requirements. At most, a diversity statement is an additional requirement for a complete file. Research statements and teaching statements are routine requirements as well. Because this diversity statement is a relatively new addition to the application package, explicit guidelines are given so applicants have a target. (In all honesty, applicants would benefit from having a guideline for all parts of the application.)

    Regarding the second point, there’s no evidence “you’re screwed” and it isn’t even a logical necessity given the wording. And I can personally attest that in practice this isn’t true. As I mentioned above, teaching statements are often required, and most applicants have limited teaching experience. Limited experience in areas where such experience is uncommon in no way “screws” them. However, such experience may serve make the rare applicant with extensive experience in those areas more competitive, provided of course they satisfy the other hiring requirements like research productivity.

    The UC, like many large state R1 universities, makes explicit that the job requirements of its faculty entails some combination of: teaching, research/creative activities, and service. In some schools, teaching and service may be relative large components. In others, especially in the UC, research is emphasized compared to other schools. However, in no undergraduate serving state R1 of which I’m aware, is the teaching and service component not part of the job. The expectations may be very modest, but they are there.

    In this particular case, the UCs have made an explicit decision to solicit information about how a faculty member intends to spend their time (in this case, it would be some combination of service and teaching time) and determine if they have a track record that backs up those plans. One could argue whether this is the type of service that should be incentivized, and people frequently do. And then, some of the points raised here may come into play. But at the end of the day, at the UC, the hierarchy of evaluation is typically: research > teaching > service. A candidate can be competitive in a science search at a UC only if they have strong research credentials and a credible future research plan. Poor research is a dominant lethal. On the other hand, a diversity statement can’t compensate for even merely “good” research when competing in a pool of candidates with “excellent” research.

    Finally, each search committee in the UC is explicitly trained about its obligations. Affirmative action is explicitly forbidden by law, and this is emphasized so that every committee member is aware of this. Any evidence of violating this principle/law is serious and can spoil a search, and in principle, serve as a basis for disciplinary action against the perpetrators.

    So, why worry about diversity at all? One major impetus is the following: in the U.S., access to higher education is an important factor in economic mobility. It is also undeniable that certain groups attend university at substantially lower rates than others and underperform at higher rates when they do attend, and we don’t think this is an intrinsic property of the affected groups. Since affirmative action in higher education is illegal in California and there is ample evidence of inequity in higher education, a question arises: can we as state funded institutions with mandates to increase access to education for our citizens do anything about this inequity without violating the laws forbidding affirmative action? More broadly, can we combat inequality in education while remaining fundamentally fair to everyone? The evidence points to diversity-aware recruitment, mentoring, and outreach as actionable targets that enhance a state university system’s ability to carry out its broad education mandate in a fair manner. There are many fronts on which this strategy can be carried out, but in this case, it is by recruiting at least some faculty applicants who are willing to devote some of their limited time budget to these inequity mitigating activities. They will already be expected to devote some time to education and service, so this diversity statement is merely to evaluate how much of that might be in the diversity category. As previously mentioned, at the UC, the diversity statement is only part of a full application, and honestly speaking, research is still the primary focus, at least in science departments.

    Despite the claim that UCSD is a Social Justice University, UCSD (and indeed most undergrad R1 state universities) continues to not reflect their state demographics, with consistent underrepresentation of hispanics/latinos, African Americans, and, at higher levels, women.

    • ladyatheist
      Posted March 30, 2018 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for this input!

      Some departments in academia might have to do more recruiting than others, and some schools may have fewer applicants with traditional credentials. A lot of “underprivileged” students are diamonds in the rough who would have no chance at Berkeley or might not even think they could get into it. Going after those students is a great strategy for enrollment in general. The kid who didn’t go to math camp because he spent his summers working at Burger King might be extremely motivated by a desire to never have to work at Burger King again! This document does include “underprivileged backgrounds” in URGs, i.e., the white boy whose parents were meth addicts living in a trailer in the desert would be part of a diversity plan, too.

      • Posted March 30, 2018 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

        Economic mobility is something the UC does exceptionally well, and I’ll wager that these sorts of recruitment strategies are at least a small party of that success.

        Look at #4 on this table:

        • ladyatheist
          Posted March 31, 2018 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

          A large proportion of students are probably first-generation college students. Good for them for trying to lift all boats!

  20. Mark
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    I live and work in a country that is legally bicultural recognising its indigenous people. In practice it is muti-cultural. It legalised civil union and then marriage for sexual minorities before that was a “thing” in the rest of the world. At this point the four digests positions in the state are all held by females (not to mention the elderly monarch). It still has work to do on pay equality, but we know that and it’s a work in progress. The fact that this is such a thing in the US doesn’t encourage me to apply for those positions – or encourage anyone else to do so.

  21. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted March 31, 2018 at 2:07 am | Permalink

    What a load of utter BS.

    All that will happen is that someone who really wants the job will concoct a lot of pious claptrap (or hire someone to do it for them, exactly the way companies used to commission health & safety policies or ‘mission statements’ from obliging third-party providers); while anyone otherwise well-qualified but with a low tolerance for irrelevant nonsense just won’t bother to apply.

    cr

  22. Posted March 31, 2018 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    This is crazy. When I was a youth in the pre-1989 Soviet bloc, what tormented me most was not the low living standard, the deficits and queues for everything, but the total ideologizing of everything and the constant checks of one’s words and thoughts. There was an evening recollection what you have uttered during the day, and to whom, and who may have overheard. It is mind-boggling to me how a great nation can impose such a disaster on itself by itself, without being occupied by an enemy.

    In an above comment, Ken said that the only worse thing is white racism. I think, however, that such measures will boost the ranks of white racists and sexists by vindicating them. These nice people have always claimed that equal rights of non-whites and women would make the sky fall. Well, they have been proven right. As a result of pro-diversity measures, work had been greatly hindered, freedom of speech and conscience has disappeared, the sky has fallen.

  23. ladyatheist
    Posted March 31, 2018 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    An ad for UCSD appeared in my Facebook feed today, and it even knows I’m too old to be a Freshman: “Does your child challenge the traditional? We have a program for them. Help them begin.”


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