Some hiring universities and departments ask applicants to philosophy faculty positions for diversity statements.
What does a good diversity statement for an academic philosophy job look like?
What does it do?
There are many resources available online describing what a diversity statement is. For example:
It tends to be a one- to two-page document that explains your experiences with and commitments to diverse populations of students. A university that seeks this statement from applicants is typically concerned with ensuring that faculty hires are familiar with its diverse student populations and willing to support students in line with the university’s mission statement. A successful diversity statement talks about your background and how you will create a diverse and inclusive learning environment for all students. (University of North Carolina)
Describes how diversity may affect:
• Your own learning and development, and how you interact with people and institutions
• Others’ learning and development through your research, teaching, and service and leadership (University of Chicago)
A successful faculty application diversity statement…
1. demonstrates knowledge of challenges related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
2. outlines your track record of working with diverse groups of people and advancing DEI.
3. concretely discusses what you will do as a faculty member to actively encourage DEI and belonging within your group, department, and community.
4. follows the instructions provided with the job posting (if applicable). (MIT)
Some people complain about the political bias of requiring diversity statements, and some people are skeptical about their value. This is not the place to take up such topics—so in the comments, don’t. This is a post asking for advice, suggestions, and help with diversity statements—if you’re not providing that, or asking questions seeking that, don’t comment.
I’ll just say that it is probably best for job candidates to think of diversity statements as universities asking you about your experiences regarding, thoughts about, and skills at teaching all kinds of students and working with a wide range of people. That is a perfectly reasonable thing for an employer to be curious about. And as for the value of diversity statements, perhaps it is best to think of them as on a par with teaching statements. On their own, they may not convey much (though especially good or bad ones might), but in conjunction with other parts of an application they may be somewhat informative.
That said, I’m hoping that people, especially those who have recently served on search committees for positions the application to which required a diversity statement, can tell us about:
- the extent to which candidates’ diversity statements affected their deliberations
- what good diversity statements look like to them
- what particular philosophy- or philosophy profession-related content should be included in such statements
- the extent to which what a philosophy search committee is hoping to see in a diversity statement is consonant with what human resources officers, deans, or other administrators expect from them
- any other information relevant to producing a good diversity statement for an academic philosophy job.
Links to resources elsewhere are welcome, too. Thank you!