Create a More Equitable Academic Search Process Using an Inclusion Advocates Program



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Bring credibility and equity in your search process by identifying and training the right people to serve as inclusion advocates.


Academic search committees have a clear purpose to interview and hire the most qualified candidate for their vacant position. However, they also have the responsibility to ensure the search process is fair, inclusive, and equitable for all. Unfortunately, many search committees have not identified nor properly trained someone to serve as an inclusion advocate in order to help mitigate personal bias and maintain a credible process. Instead, BIPOC faculty are often asked to informally serve in these roles, which places undue responsibility on them to lead all inclusion efforts during the search process.

Join us online to learn about a program that helps ensure more accountability in your academic search process. This virtual event is designed to offer you tips and strategies to launch your own Inclusion Advocates program based on the successes instituted at Towson University. During the event, you will explore the following questions:

  1. How do I make a case for Inclusion Advocates at my institution?
  2. How do I identify and recruit the right mix of Inclusion Advocates for my campus?
  3. What are the critical professional development topics and resources that our Inclusion Advocates need to have to be effective in this role?


Who Should Attend

Academic search committee chairs and other academic leaders, including provosts, deans, and department chairs, will benefit most from participating in this training, particularly if they are interested in implementing a process to identify, recruit, and train Inclusion Advocates.


Limited Attendance

In order to ensure a high-quality learning experience, we have intentionally designed this Virtual Training to have a limited number of total attendees. To ensure access from both paying participants and also from those who have an All-Inclusive membership, when the membership cap is reached, only paying participants can register after that point (while spaces are still available). If you have questions about whether this program is right for you, please contact us.

The Academic Impressions Online Learning Experience

Intentionally Designed
Online Learning

Our virtual trainings go far beyond just replicating PowerPoint presentations online: these experiences are intentionally designed to give you the kind of robust and dynamic learning experience you’ve come to expect from Academic Impressions. These trainings provide you with an active learning environment and an online space where you can explore ideas, get inspired by what your peers are doing, and understand the range of possibilities around a certain topic. You will leave these sessions with practical solutions that you can take back to your team or task force.

What you will get:

  • A dynamic, interactive, and high-touch virtual learning experience designed to engage and set you up for growth
  • Seamless online face-time, networking, group work, and Q&A opportunities from the comfort of your own workspace
  • Practical takeaways and hands-on knowledge
  • Guidance from vetted subject matter experts
  • Unlimited access to all recorded online sessions


May 13, 2021

1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Eastern

You will be introduced to Towson University’s Inclusion Advocates model, adapted from Oregon State University. During this overview, you’ll discover what the program is, how it was implemented, and who is involved.

Our expert faculty will also spend time answering the following questions to learn the critical considerations in launching your own program:


Question #1: How do I make a case for Inclusion Advocates at my institution?

Learn how to:

  • Gather and share data that demonstrates how this role is often informally actualized and disproportionately delegated to BIPOC faculty.
  • Formalize diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work by utilizing Inclusion Advocates’ lived experiences and professional skillsets that DEI relies upon to be successful.
  • Demonstrate how having a formal process in place can mitigate reports of discriminatory search practices, including actual or perceived bias.



Question #2: How do I identify and recruit the right mix of Inclusion Advocates for my campus?

Discuss how to:

  • Set the tone for the inaugural cohort who must be highly respected, have a demonstrated track record of equity and inclusion in their work, and foster inclusive communication strategies.
  • Give voice and credibility to search committee decisions by selecting tenured or full professors to serve in this formal role.
  • Share the workload and high demand for Inclusion Advocates during multiple search processes.



Question #3: What are the critical professional development topics and resources that Inclusion Advocates need to have to be effective in this role?

Walk away with tips for how to:

  • Identify and discuss topics such as critical dialogue and accountability skills, multiple identities and intersectionality, equity and inclusive language, and hiring protocols, etc.
  • Identify internal resources and instructors who already provide instruction on critical topics.
  • Develop a first draft of your professional development or seminar-style structure.


Portrait of Leah Cox

Dr. Leah Cox

Vice President for Inclusion and Institutional Equity at Towson University

Leah provides the leadership and vision for creating a more inclusive campus for students, faculty, and staff, who works collaboratively with all members of the campus and surrounding community. She is a recognized leader and popular keynote speaker who has created innovative programs and initiatives, led policy development and strategic planning efforts and has designed and led a variety of different DEI training programs.

Read Speaker's Full Bio.

Portrait of Shaunna Payne Gold

Dr. Shaunna Payne Gold

Assistant Provost for Diversity & Inclusion at Towson University

Shaunna (she/her/hers) is an educator, higher education administrator, ordained minister, and highly sought-after consultant in the equity and inclusion marketplace. Her primary goal is to support the Division of Academic Affairs by attracting, advancing, and retaining diverse staff, faculty, and librarians.

Read Speaker's Full Bio.


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