Search Advocates are trained, external search committee members who promote equity, validity, and diversity on WWCC searches.
In 2017, WWCC invited Oregon State University’s Anne Gillies to train WWCC faculty and staff to be Search Advocates (search and selection process advisors). The program is designed to enhance equity, validity, and diversity in hiring. Search Advocate preparation includes a two-part workshop series addressing current research about implicit bias, diversity, the changing legal landscape in hiring, inclusive employment principles, practical strategies for each stage of the search process, and effective ways to be an advocate on a search committee.
Each Search Advocate is a consultant/participant who advances inclusive excellence by asking questions to help committee members test their thinking, identifying and promoting practices that advance diversity and social justice, and minimizing the impacts of cognitive and structural biases. As external committee members, advocates are able to explore assumptions, norms, and practices that an internal member might not question. The search advocate plays a vital role in position description development, recruitment, screening, interviews, references, evaluation, and integration of the new faculty or staff member into the institution. In partnership with the search chair, search committee members, and hiring official, the search advocate affirms WWCC’s commitment to inclusion.