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Good Questions Deserve Good - Answers: Screening to Increase Diversity
Diversity, what a concept! In the effort to seek cultural competence and equity in faculty ranks, the Academic Senate’s Equity and Diversity Action Committee (EDAC) has compiled various screening questions concerning diversity for your consideration. The questions might be used as a mainstay on hiring committees statewide for the purpose of increasing and recognizing diversity within the California Community College system. EDAC hopes to alleviate the anxiety of creating usable questions and understanding good answers to such questions by providing these examples. Some things to avoid:
- Asking questions for which your department or area has not agreed on an acceptable and scorable answer.
- Asking a question about commitment to diversity that is too vague. These types of questions typically receive vague answers that downplay the real importance of embracing diverse students and colleagues.
- Asking how someone “managed” diversity puts the emphasis on diversity as something that is problematic and needs managing.
- Look for answers that include multiple representations of diversity today (cultural, Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender (LGBT), disabilities, gender, age, religion, immigrants, socio-economic, etc.)
- Look for answers that demonstrate the applicant’s actual and direct experiences with diverse groups. Look for an investment in diversity rather than simply “supervised someone who” or “attended xxxx event.” Look for direct involvement and for experiences rather than exposure.
- Look for answers that demonstrate an applicant’s knowledge of their own culture and the cultures of others.
- Rather than use a question for screening applicants on their knowledge of diversity, try using role play and scenarios where applicants can respond to issues of diversity “on the spot.”
- Examine college materials that an applicant might review before coming to an interview (web site, catalog, campus buildings/signs/etc.) and see if these materials communicate the college’s value of diversity. This will help applicants know that these questions are serious and require well-constructed answers rather than rhetoric.
- Be sure that departments, disciplines or areas determine ahead of time what an appropriate response to the diversity question looks and sounds like. This may already be done with content specific questions, so it should be true for questions asked about commitment to diverse students and colleagues.