Do SC members (and administrators) consider being gay as contributing to diversity?
Date: 27 Oct 2015 01:06
Number of posts: 13
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Yes…But, it does depend on the culture of the University as well as other contextual factors.
yes, definitely… you could/should discuss in your cover letter — how it has informed your teaching/research/scholarship/mentorship.
Very dependent on the institution and state if a state school… Don't forget, in some states this is still a fire-able offense; they're not as likely to use it as a reason TO hire you.
I'm on an SC now. The ONLY demographic categories our university (private R1) considers as contributing to diversity are women (they mean sex, not gender) and racial/ethnic minorities. This probably has something to do with federal guidelines or something.
I vehemently disagree with this and said so during visits from the "diversity officers" at one SC meeting. They didn't care.
In my opinion conceptualizations of diversity need to be expanded at the institutional level. The other side of the argument is where do you stop? Since ~80% of academics are liberals, would a conservative applicant be seen as increasing diversity (btw I'd say no, but I've heard people make this argument)?
Agreed with Mixed. I have heard places (in one southern huge state) that are extremely conservative. People may treat you nastily because of your sexual orientation.
Also I will add that your sexual orientation, racial/ethnic background, or really any other demographic factor (except maybe spousal status if it's a "two body" situation) won't matter much at all in the final hiring decision.
Of course we are cognizant (as we should be) about increasing diversity in our departments, and I have seen diversity interests influence who is added to long/short lists and invited for interviews. BUT once you get to the interview stage the department will hire the best candidate regardless of background.
Something I learned the hard way - double check the school's mission statement/equal hiring practices does not conspicuously avoid "sexual orientation" in the "we do not discriminate on the basis of…".
Some institutions - particularly religious institutions - will allow homosexuality in their students (and may even encourage LGBT issues to be discussed on campus, or help support LGBT student groups) but do not tolerate it in their faculty. One institution at which I interviewed last year had an active LGBT student union (which is part of why I applied) but required the faculty to sign a pledge that, among other things, gave the university grounds to fire them should it be found they have ever engaged in any form of homosexual behavior. Faced with the prospect of living in the closet at work, I terminated the application.
Learn from my mistake - do your research well beyond the university website. Ask colleagues who have direct connections to the institution, and ask the SC upfront early on if the University considers LGBT-spectrum faculty to be a boon or a liability. The places you'd be happy ending up at will consider you a resource and will be happy to know about it. Those that don't, well, you really don't want to be there.
I agree with Name and have also argued with my supervisors etc. about the weirdness that basically at my university only African Americans, Latino/a Americans, and Indigenous Americans are considered "diverse". A lesbian, Jewish, African woman with one leg born in China would not be considered diverse at my uni. The reason is that such a person is already "over represented" in academia, even though such a person is not over-represented at my actual university.