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Considering Contributions to Inclusive Excellence

Knowledge, skills, abilities, and experiences that support excellence through diversity, equity, and inclusion (Inclusive Excellence) are fundamental to the mission and purpose of the University. While taking a variety of forms in terms of work, outreach, mentoring, scholarship, pedagogical techniques, and other types of engagement, recognizing and crediting these qualifications in the comprehensive evaluation of candidates is important in all personnel processes.

Information for Hiring Officials and Search Committees

Why does the University support asking applicants for information on their potential for contributing to inclusive excellence?

The University values and aspires to leverage difference among its faculty, staff, and students for the inherent benefits that successfully including diverse perspectives and insights on an issue or process can bring in terms of innovation, quality, creativity, and ultimately - more valuable learning,research, and patient care environments. The University has a strong interest in ensuring that all individuals, without regard to personal demographic characteristics (See Notice of Non-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity), hired for positions demonstrate the knowledge, skills and abilities for advancing inclusive excellence on Grounds, in the Medical Center, and at UVA Wise. Asking candidates to directly address this competency area will help to identify candidates who have job related knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience that would enhance institutional excellence.

Is the University alone in asking applicants to make or write such statements?

No. Many institutions of higher education and some private employers include similar requests. Furthermore, many institutions are helping to prepare their graduate and undergraduate students to prepare such statements as a part of their academic and other careers.

How should hiring officials and/or search committees request applicants submit a statement related to contributions to inclusive excellence?

Hiring officials and/or search committees can include a request in the job posting summary (sometimes called the job advertisement) among other instructions on how to apply for a position (e.g. Attach a CV/Resume, Cover Letter, Statement on Teaching Philosophy, etc.). If included, the request for information must be consistent for all individuals as a part of the application or other phases of the evaluation process. The following phrases are examples of what could be added, if you have questions about how to word the request or other ways to include this in the posting please contact the Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights (EOCR) at employmentequity@virginia.edu. Some schools already have text prepared for such requests or have dedicated diversity and inclusion resources (ex. Directors of Diversity and Inclusion in Arts & Sciences) to help with these processes.

  • “Attach a [insert item], [insert item], and a statement which describes your potential contributions to excellence through diversity, equity, and inclusion in patient care/the workplace/the learning environment.”
  • [Faculty] “Candidates should also describe how their courses, research, and/or service have helped, or will help, students to develop intercultural competencies or otherwise advance excellence through diversity, equity, and inclusion within the institution.”
  • [Medical] “Please describe how you have and/or would contribute to culturally competent, inclusive, and equitable patientcare”.

It is recommended that all searches for faculty positions consider including this request to applicants as a part of the evaluation process. Given that diversity, equity, and inclusion are important for all positions within the University community, it may also be appropriate to include the question for other positions, particularly management level positions. When the request is included in the job advertisement, the department should include the following link to information on EOCR's website as to what candidates should consider covering in their documentation: https://eocr.virginia.edu/Contribution-IE-Applicants

Are there resources to help applicants understand the request and/or guidelines for writing the statements?

Yes. A web resource is available as a guide for applicants and should be linked in the job advertisement as well as being shared upon an applicant’s request. That website is https://eocr.virginia.edu/Contribution-IE-Applicants.

How should a statement on contributions to excellence through diversity, equity, and inclusion be evaluated?

Hiring Officials and/or search committees should discuss all evaluation criteria in advance of receiving applications for specific positions. This includes statements on contributions to excellence through diversity, equity, and inclusion that may be submitted by applicants. Knowledge, skills, abilities, and experiences in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion may be demonstrated in many ways such that it is important to clearly articulate among those involved in a search the ways in which inclusive excellence is important to the specific position and its role/function within the larger department/school/University framework. Such discussion may also help structure how the request for this information is included in the process.

See the following table for guidance on evaluating statements. Statement Evaluation (pdf).

A simple matrix for evaluating the diversity, equity, and inclusion contribution statement would include:

1) Did the candidate provide a statement (Yes or No)

2) Does the statement indicate general awareness of how diversity, equity, and inclusion are important and valuable to the position? Is there an awareness of the inequities and challenges historically faced by underrepresented or otherwise marginalized groups in this discipline/profession/program? (Yes or No)

3) Does the statement indicate that the applicant has a demonstrated record of contributing to the advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion? (Yes or No) Is the statement clear on the individual’s specific role in that process? (Yes or No)

4) Does the statement include relevant thoughts on how they might contribute to excellence through diversity, equity, and inclusion in their potential position at the University? (Yes or No) Are there specific plans? (Yes or No) Do the plans seem achievable and meaningful? (Yes or No)

Is requesting a written statement the only way to get this information?

No, but there are specific benefits to requesting a written statement that make it a preferred option. These include the opportunity for candidates to think systematically about their experiences and provide an opportunity to supply a broad range of evidence from the totality of their career, studies, and efforts. Rather than, or in conjunction with, requesting a written statement, schools and units may also include behavioral interview questions which seek for candidates to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, abilities, and experiences in support of inclusive excellence. When evaluating the responses to such questions it will be helpful to review the EOCR inclusive competency model to identify specific knowledge, skills, and abilities which demonstrate inclusive competence.


For more information, or to schedule a session for your department or search committee to establish a rubric for evaluating these statements, please contact the Employment Equity team at employmentequity@virginia.edu.

Resources

UVA EOCR - Inclusive Competency Model and Definitions (pdf download)

AAC&U - Making Excellence Inclusive

AAMC - Tool for Assessing Cultural Competence in Medical Education

National League for Nursing Toolkit (Evaluating Inclusive Pedagogies)

Inclusive Teaching Resources and Strategies - U. of Michigan

Inclusive Teaching Resources - U. of Virginia, Center for Teaching Excellence