Equity and Inclusion: Effective Practices and Responsive Strategies

This Guidebook builds on a synthesis of relevant interdisciplinary evidence, programs and practices instituted in different universities and the recommendations of higher education leaders who attended the Changing the National Conversation Summit cosponsored by the University of Maryland, College Park, Swarthmore College and the University of Pennsylvania in September 2018. The data show that modest progress has been made over the past 40 years in widening the underrepresented minority (URM) pathway to the professoriate. Today URM faculty (Black, Latino and Native American) represent approximately 12 percent of all faculty in the 4,000 plus colleges and universities in the U.S. (The percentages of U.S. URM are likely considerably lower as these data include U.S. citizens and permanent residents, temporary visa holders, and those whose citizenship is unknown). By concentrating on high-impact, responsive and effective policy and practice recommendations inspired by empirical studies, scholarly narratives, institutional reports, policy statements and opinion pieces, we offer senior leaders strategies that can be implemented to demonstrate their resolve to address barriers to increase the inclusion of URM doctoral students and early career faculty along the academic life course. Although all faculty face significant challenges in research intensive universities, we seek to address those historic racial/ethnic U.S. population groups who are disproportionately underrepresented in graduate school and tenure-track faculty positions. In this Guidebook, we highlight practices that can be incorporated and instituted across research universities, so that, nationally, higher education institutions may reflect more broadly equitable and inclusive environments. We include a list of 50 essential readings that document effective practices in higher education on which we build our recommendations. We offer recommendations in four areas to facilitate institutional strategies for inclusion, excellence, and equity: 1) hiring and retention practices (2) mentoring practices; 3) work-family-life balance; and 4) pathways to tenure and promotion. We conclude with institutional accountability to support change and transformation.