Diversity & Mission

Loyola’s 2019 Mission Priority Examen process (MPE) underscored that faculty, staff, and administrators share a fundamental commitment to Ignatian values and that the vast majority of our community are animated by Loyola’s Catholic, Jesuit identity and mission. As we move into the next phase of our shared institutional life—into the next 150 years under the banner of “One Loyola”—it remains essential to articulate and support core mission elements as they apply to recruitment, hiring, reappointment, promotion, and tenure policies of Loyola University Chicago. In this way, we can provide essential resources for Deans and Department Chairpersons while sustaining and cultivating an Ignatian culture.

A major aspect of our Loyola identity is found in the rich diversity of its community. Hiring for mission means hiring women and men from many religious traditions, social locations, and ethnic identities who will advance the Catholic intellectual tradition and its commitment to faith, justice, and reason—and who commit to engaging and dialoguing about urgent and complex social problems with the kind of imagination, innovation, care, and creativity that has characterized Jesuit education for 480 years. Hiring for mission fosters a living diversity and contributes to a better future for Loyola faculty, staff, students, and the neighborhoods that surround our campus. Our personnel are not all Catholic (nor are they all Christian), but a strong majority share a love of common Ignatian values such as justice, generosity, care for creation, and seeking to place our gifts and talents in the service of God and humanity, to name a few.

Loyola University Chicago is profoundly committed to supporting transformative education in the Ignatian tradition. By integrating the recently adopted Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAPs) at every level of our work—including recruitment and hiring—we discern an opportunity for deeper engagement with the religious dimension that undergirds all human learning.

These Preferences, promulgated by Fr. General, Arturo Sosa, S.J. (and the Global Jesuit community), and confirmed by Pope Francis are:

1. to show the way to God through the Spiritual Exercises and discernment;


2. to walk with the poor, the outcasts of the world, and those whose dignity has been violated, in a mission of reconciliation and justice;


3. to accompany young people in the creation of a hope-filled future;


4. to collaborate in the care of our Common Home.


This deepening of our lived experience of Jesuit and Catholic values inherent in the UAPs occurs at every level at Loyola University Chicago. To follow Ignacio Ellacuría, S.J., such a comprehensive approach to educating the whole person distinguishes Jesuit colleges and universities from others. In his view, the university, in its fullest expression, is a living academic, social, and spiritual “project”—a laboratory for ideas and encounter. The more we can speak, discern, and work from the common experience of the Spiritual Exercises, the more we will grow in the union of minds and hearts that is necessary for Loyola to live out its Catholic and Jesuit values into a new future. The more we can articulate concern for human and ecological well-being, the creation and maintenance of just societies, the concern for the common good, human rights, the poor, the marginalized and the oppressed—all concerns that nurture the idealism of our students—the more we can practice the intellectual and spiritual accompaniment with our students that separates this approach to education from others. Here one sees the concern for “social justice” that is a cornerstone of Jesuit Catholic education and is one expression of our 480-year pedagogical tradition.


At the heart of this philosophy for hiring are the goals that make Catholic and Jesuit education unique. Since mission is perhaps the core differentiator in higher education, it is important to note that that all member AJCU schools are in the midst of aligning more meaningfully with mission-related criteria regarding recruitment, hiring, fostering diversity and justice, and well beyond. The animating values and invitations to dialogue suggested here reinforce Jesuit ways of proceeding: faith in God and the good in all things; service that promotes justice; values-based leadership; and local and global awareness dedicated to working towards the common good with creativity, compassion, and love. As Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., counsels, the fundamental goal of a Jesuit education is to form graduates who will become women and men for others, who will be open to the sacred gift of life so that they might “give themselves to others in love—love, which is their definitive and all-embracing dimension, that which gives meaning to all their other dimensions.” Loyola’s distinctive niche in the higher education landscape is made stronger because we hire with these insights—and with mission—in mind.

Creating an Inclusive Job Advertisement

Inclusive Hiring Language

An inclusive position description goes beyond the mandatory Equal Employment Opportunity statement ("Loyola University Chicago is an Equal Opportunity Employer") by reinforcing and articulating the Loyola’s commitment to diversity, specifically that of the academic unit. The advertisement should signal that applicants from historically under-represented backgrounds should take a closer look at a position announcement. Such statements also communicate to all applicants that a commitment to diversity is an expectation of the position itself.

Search committees can begin by including in the job description a statement such as the one below by the American Association for the Advancement of Science:

The University seeks to increase the diversity of its professoriate, workforce and undergraduate and graduate student populations because broad diversity including a wide range of individuals who contribute to a robust academic environment is critical to achieving the University's mission of excellence in education, research, educational access and services in an increasingly diverse society. Therefore, in holistically accessing the many qualifications of each applicant, we would factor favorably an individual's record of conduct that includes experience with an array of diverse perspectives, as well as a wide variety of different educational, research or other work activities. Among other qualifications, we would also factor favorably experience overcoming or helping others overcome barriers to an academic career or degrees.

This statement indicates that the search committee is seeking individuals with diversity and inclusion related skills, individuals who can expand the unit’s scholarly inclusivity, and/or individuals who can engage with diversity issues in the classroom.

Strategies for Crafting an Inclusive Job Advertisement

  • Emphasize LUC's efforts and initiatives that demonstrate diversity and inclusion as core values of the institution.
  • Avoid excessive requirements, which limit a range of interests, backgrounds and experiences
  • Describe how the position contributes to the University's diversity, equity and inclusion goals
  • Use gender neutral language

Expanding the Search

  • Contact affinity groups such as the Society of Women Engineers or the Association of Black Sociologists.
  • Ask faculty and graduate students to help identify strong candidates, including women and minority candidates.
  • Contact mentors who have a track record of mentoring underrepresented students towards faculty positions.
  • Contact colleagues at other institutions to seek nominations of students nearing graduation or faculty interested in moving laterally, making sure to request references to underrepresented minority and women colleagues.
  • Create a list of local post-docs and contact them.
  • Task all committee members with making at least three such communications.


Search Committee Composition

A diverse search committee will offer a broader range of perspectives, experiences and ideas that will help attract a more expansive applicant pool. Enhanced diversity on search committees can be achieved by including women and underrepresented minority faculty but diversity can be achieved by including graduate students, diversity advocates, and faculty from other academic units. Implicit bias leads to a reproduction of the status quo and undermines efforts to diversity the faculty body.

"Search-committee chairs need to stress that failure to recruit and fairly evaluate a diverse pool can jeopardize a search; lack of diverse finalists is often indicative of an inadequate search and will raise red flags among administrators. A search-committee chair does not want to grapple with the question “Why are there no women or minorities on your finalist list?” because they exist in every discipline. Resist the urge to blame the “pipeline” for yielding low numbers of available diversity applicants. The pipeline does not fully account for differences in hiring outcomes (e.g., Shaw & Stanton, 2012). Applicant pools lacking diversity might be the result of uninspired and halfhearted recruitment efforts." (A Guide for Broadening Faculty Searches, Montana State University)


Redefining "Fit"

The word “fit” is typically used in two ways in faculty hiring. One usage of fit refers to matching candidates to program and departmental needs. The other usage means: “people like us.” Yet candidates who fit the first definition often run counter to the second because academic units require people with new backgrounds, original research areas and innovative pedagogies to keep up with the changing needs our students.

“It’s useful, therefore for members of search committees to have a serious conversation about what they as a group mean by the word fit at the very beginning of the process. This practice helps prevent institutions from eliminating candidates for reasons such as ‘she or he just won’t fit in here’ or ‘I just don’t see him or her as a good fit with the close-knit group we’ve developed in our department.' When people make these remarks, they almost always do so with the best intentions. But if the assumptions behind them go unchallenged, the pursuit of the wrong kind of fit can undo all your other efforts to achieve diversity for your program.”–John Buller, Best Practices for Faculty Search Committees

Interrupting Bias

Once a search committee has been established, all members of the committee must complete the anti-bias workshop for search committees provided by the Office of Academic Diversity prior to finalizing their position description.

Consider devoting your first committee meeting to discuss each other’s understandings of implicit bias. Examine patterns of previous searches in your unit. Your history of faculty hiring can provide useful insights before beginning the search. Key questions here include:

  • What percentage of candidates from groups historically underrepresented in academia have applied for positions in your department in previous searches?
  • What percentage of candidates from groups historically underrepresented in academia has your department/program brought to campus for interviews in past searches?
  • If your department/program has hired persons from groups historically underrepresented in academia, what strategies did search committees use to bring about these outcomes?
  • If persons from groups historically underrepresented in academia have turned down positions in your department/program, what reasons did they give for their decision?
  • If your department has made no offers to persons from groups historically underrepresented in academia, consider changing your existing evaluation systems so they can better take into account the strengths of all potential candidates.

Candidate Evaluations

It is useful to consistently evaluate committee decisions to determine whether the pool of candidates advances the department’s and the University's faculty diversity goals.

To help determine if implicit bias is playing a role in the committee's decisions, some useful questions to consider are:

• What is the basis for including/excluding certain candidates? Where is there clear evidence and when do assumptions/speculations emerge?

• Do the demographics of the shortlist mesh with demographics in our applicant pool and with the national pool? (IPEDS is useful here)

• If a significant percentage of historically underrepresented candidates do not make it to the interview stage or the shortlist, consider why this may be the case. Can the pool be reconsidered with a more inclusive lens and/or can the search be extended?

• How has the committee ensured that candidates from groups historically underrepresented in academia are not being held to a different standard or set oof expectations in order to be considered "qualified?"

How are reference letters being assessed in the candidate assessment process? Research shows that letter writers often use significantly more standout adjectives to describe male as compared to female candidates. (Schmader et al., 2007)

• How has the search committee controlled for sub-field bias? We know that "novel contributions by gender and racial minorities are taken up by other scholars at lower rates than novel contributions by gender and racial majorities, and equally impactful contributions of gender and racial minorities are less likely to result in successful scientific careers than for majority groups."




Using IPEDs Data

LUC's New Faculty Hiring plans now require data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

To make the collection of this information seamless, the Office of Faculty Affairs provides each academic unit the necessary information from IPEDS that committees can use to complete the hiring document.

In addition to assisting search committees, IPEDS data is a useful resource to consider current and future hiring priorities. There are many sub-fields within broader disciplines in which historically underrepresented faculty are concentrated.

Additional Resources

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Liaison (DEIL)

Faculty Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Liaisons are available to serve as Equity Advocates on search committees. These faculty use their training to assist in the process of executing a diverse hiring strategy and avoiding implicit bias in the hiring process. The Equity Advocate is not a member of the search committee and does not vote or make specific recommendations about the selection and/or rejection of candidates.

The role of the Equity Advocate is to provide a different perspective, ask questions, and illuminate patterns in decision-making that may be of note for the committee to discuss further. In line with best practices, Equity Advocates should come from academic units outside of their home unit. Equity Advocates should be removed from professional/disciplinary and departmental/program politics. Ideally, Equity Advocate should be included early in the hiring process, prior to the posting of the position advertisement, and to remain actively involved until the final candidate slate is sent to the Dean.

To request an Equity Advocate or to inquire about the program, please email the Associate Director, Dr. Julia Elsky, at jelsky@luc.edu.

For more information on DEIL program, please click here.

Faculty Diversity = Institutional Excellence

The Office of the Provost maintains a firm commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Faculty Affairs is driven by the imperative to improve the quality of faculty life at LUC, including enhancing the diversity of our faculty body and building a stronger culture of equity and inclusion.

A diverse faculty enhances the intellectual rigor of our scholarship and teaching, exposes students to a broader range of scholarly ideas and approaches, offers students diverse role models and mentors, and contributes directly to yielding better educational outcomes for all students. Importantly, prioritizing racial and ethnic diversity in hiring is not and should not be viewed as contradictory and/or antithetical to hiring for academic excellence and institutional mission.

How can we build our institutions' capacity to be effective, high-performing places where diversity thrives?

"Reframing Diversity as an Institutional Capacity" - Daryl K. Smith

1. Faculty diversity--in both hiring and retention--represents the institution's values concerning equity. Any institution that describes itself as committed to diversity while having a faculty demographic that suggests otherwise should be seen as disingenuous and hypocritical.


2. Faculty diversity is central to the academy's ability to develop diverse forms of knowledge. A diverse faculty brings diversity themes to scholarship, increases diversity in the curriculum, and introduces different forms of pedagogy, including those that better engage students.


3. Faculty diversity helps the institution develop vital relationships with diverse communities outside and across campuses.


4. Faculty diversity is essential to the institution's capacity to make fully informed decisions at all levels. When faculty members from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds participate in decision making, their decisions are not only more informed and credible, they are also more likely to address power inequities.


5. Faculty diversity is essential for creating an environment that will attract persons from diverse backgrounds. Until sufficient diversity exists in campus departments and divisions, members of underrepresented groups will struggle to be seen as individuals and not as tokens.


6. Faculty diversity supports future leadership diversity. Since most academic administrators come from faculty ranks, a relatively homogenized faculty limits the future development of diverse leadership.


7. Faculty diversity provides role models for all. Undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, and faculty members must be able to envision themselves in the roles to which they aspire. The absence of diversity in so many departments and fields sends strong signals about the degree to which those fields value diverse talents.


Retaining Historically Underrepresented Faculty: A Few Strategies

Create an inclusive culture within the University and within the academic unit

  • Make sure that department/school-wide service is equitably distributed among faculty - *note faculty of color and women tend to perform more institutional service than their white, male counterparts
  • Recognize and celebrate diverse scholarship and knowledge areas by inviting guest speakers from historically underrepresented groups throughout the academic year (as opposed to limiting such events to Black History month, for example)

Provide mentoring and sponsorship opportunities

  • Offer access to opportunities for new faculty, especially publication and collaboration
  • Budget for one or two early career women or faculty of color to attend a national professional development conference
  • Normalize sharing successful grant proposals, promotion and tenure documents, etc.

Create a culture of social and intellectual connection

  • Encourage faculty of color to participate in faculty writing groups peer mentoring and events for underrepresented faculty at the Center for Faculty Development and Scholarly Excellence
  • Organize "brown bag" seminars within your department/school

Recognize and celebrate faculty achievements

  • Use your dept/school social media to amplify contributions by underrepresented faculty
  • Contact the Office of Faculty Affairs and/or University Marketing and Communication to share faculty accomplishments