Unconscious Bias and Assumptions in Hiring, Promotion, and Tenure

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Virginia Tech

Even when we are committed to promoting diversity in the workplace, research indicates that we bring our personal experiences and cultural histories into the hiring and employment process. How is it that women are now nearly half of all doctoral recipients, but only 37% of the faculty at research intensive institutions in 2011, and 29% of tenured and tenure-track faculty at Virginia Tech in 2014? How is it that the progress in hiring ethnic minority faculty has been so slow and difficult, and gains are so quickly eroded when retention fails? The reasons are subtle and often not visible to those in the majority culture. Unrecognized biases and assumptions play a powerful role in maintaining the status quo.