The Power of Two (or More)

This article from Politico may be about our presidential primary season, but it resonates with ACC’s own work on diversity and equity in our hiring processes.

What’s the difference between having one diverse candidate amongst those interviewed and two or more? Quite a lot, it turns out.  From the article:  “A single diverse candidate faces an enormous headwind—and a tiny chance of being picked for the job in the end. In contrast, when interviewers take the time to interview multiple diverse candidates in a fair and competitive process, the dynamic shifts norms and expectations, and creates a situation in which a diverse candidate is much more likely to end up winning the position.”

That assertion is based on a study in Harvard Business Review (Johnson, Hekman, & Chan, 2016) that showed that a single diverse finalist has zero statistical chance of being hired, while two (or more) diverse finalists have an exponentially greater chance of being hired.  It turns out that having more than one diverse finalist changes the status quo to the benefit of the goal of diversity in hiring.

Food for thought.

When we hire full-time faculty, we are proposing marriage (so to speak).  That is, we are making a commitment that will last twenty or thirty years or more.  We want to do our best to ensure that all our faculty are committed to our mission and to helping our student population reach their goals.  Among other things, that means we’re being more explicit about our search for applicants who understand and are committed to equity in teaching and learning.  It also means we want to diversify the faculty ranks so that our students see themselves in our faculty.  If you participated in the full-time faculty hiring process this year, or you might participate in it next year, please reflect on the reasons why the college asks hiring committee members to think about the benefits for our students, our community, and our mission of a diverse faculty committed to equitable student outcomes.  And please remember “the power of two”.