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Search Committee Outreach and Recruitment

Search committees can no longer rely on usual practices (i.e., “post and pray”) if they want to diversify their candidate pools. All committee members must become part of “the recruitment team” and reach out to prospective candidates sourced from conferences, journals, associations, listservs, etc., particularly those that serve diverse and underrepresented candidates. While posting job ads in these sources is a good start, research indicates that it may not necessarily increase the diversity of your pool. Instead, committees must proactively reach out to recommenders and directly engage with prospects if they expect to see tangible change.

Places To Meet Potential Candidates Heading link

  • Conferences
  • Academic events
  • Fellowship events
  • Networking events
  • Association meeting
  • Annual grant meetings

Sources/Events Focused on Underrepresented Populations Heading link

  • Departmental websites, including those at HBCUs, HSIs, and MSIs
  • Lists of grant recipients (generally as well as related to the field of interest)
  • Lists of post-docs and other fellows
  • Conferences attended by large groups of professionals/academics who are underrepresented or of color (e.g., National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in Higher Education, National Women’s Studies Association)
  • Proceedings from conferences, meetings, and events that are focused on issues of access, belonging, diversity, equity, inclusion, or justice (ABDEIJ)
  • Academic journals focused on ABDEIJ-related research and research produced by academics underrepresented in their field

Data on Production, Programs, and People Heading link

  • Seek out annual data on the rate of Ph.D. attainment by underrepresented groups in your field as well as those adjacent to your field over the past five years
  • Find out the top 10 institutions producing underrepresented candidates in your field and collect the email addresses of the program coordinators and department chairs at those institutions
  • Ask new post-docs, graduate students, and faculty in your department how they learned of the position they applied for at UIC

Sample Outreach Email Heading link

Dear [prospective applicant’s name],

My name is [your name], and I am a/the [your position at UIC] at the University of Illinois Chicago. We are currently seeking candidates for [open position name]. I want to invite you to apply.

I came across your name when [cite the time you came across their name]. Or I was referred to you by a mutual colleague.

If you are interested in applying, you can find the application at

If you would like to learn more about our university and community, you can visit

If you have any questions about the position, you are welcome to contact the search committee chair/committee contact, [name of committee chair or member].

I would be happy to answer any questions you may have about living in Chicago or working at UIC.


Kind regards,

Search Team Member