Building on Inclusive Excellence (BIE)
The Building on Inclusive Excellence (BIE) faculty hiring program strives to support the success of students from historically underrepresented communities by focusing tenure-track faculty searches on candidates who meet criteria aligned with SDSU’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. In Spring 2020, the original BIE program (see History of the Program below) was expanded so that the BIE criteria must be used in all tenured and tenure-track faculty searches. For the most up-to-date information on the process for faculty searches, see the Office of Faculty Advancement's website.
For the purposes of the BIE, underrepresented populations refer to the following groups: African-American, Latinx, Native American, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander, groups of varying abilities, women in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or any other group that has been documented as underrepresented in the candidate’s academic discipline. The criteria do not require the candidate to identify as part of an underrepresented population. Instead the criteria are designed to assess the candidate’s demonstrated commitment to serving and/or addressing issues related to underrepresented populations.
At the May 2020 meeting, the University Senate approved policy that says the BIE criteria "shall govern all tenured and tenure-track faculty searches. Successful candidates for all such searches must satisfy two or more of the following BIE criteria, and these criteria shall be explicitly included in any and all search advertisements."
- Is committed to engaging in service with underrepresented populations within the discipline
- Has demonstrated knowledge of barriers for underrepresented students and faculty within the discipline
- Has experience or has demonstrated commitment to teaching and mentoring underrepresented students
- Has experience or has demonstrated commitment to integrating understanding of underrepresented populations and communities into research
- Has experience in or has demonstrated commitment to extending knowledge of opportunities and challenges in achieving artistic/scholarly success to members of an underrepresented group
- Has experience in or has demonstrated commitment to research that engages underrepresented communities
- Has expertise or demonstrated commitment to developing expertise in cross-cultural communication and collaboration
- Has research interests that contribute to diversity and equal opportunity in higher education
This BIE criteria document has guidance for departments with examples of appropriate evidence.
While a recent graduate will likely have less experience, EVERY candidate has had opportunities to engage in activities that indicate a commitment to equity and inclusion; the question is whether they have taken advantage of those opportunities or not. For example, most universities offer workshops and other trainings on pedagogy for graduate students, whether or not they are teaching; most professional associations have sub-committees or SIGs that organize conference sessions and other activities related to equity and inclusion; every campus has opportunities for people to learn about diverse communities through presentations, seminars, etc. In many fields, a candidate would be considered somewhat more desirable if they have been proactive about presenting their research at conferences and other settings (which even graduate students can do); the BIE similarly asks us to consider candidates as more desirable if they have proactively engaged in activities that reflect they value equity and inclusion.
Once departments have selected their finalists for campus interviews, a review committee will evaluate each candidate to ensure they meet the required qualifications and criteria. The BIE Review Committee is comprised of members of the Senate Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, the Senate Tenure-Track Planning Committee, and representatives appointed by the Provost and by the Chief Diversity Officer.
The review process is outlined in the Faculty Hiring Handbook and consists of the following steps:
- Department completes the BIE form, uploads into Interfolio and notifies Faculty Advancement.
- Faculty Advancement notifies the BIE reviewers who access all materials in Interfolio and tag candidates with ‘BIE approved’ or ‘BIE not met’.
- The AVP for Faculty and Staff Diversity will notify the department once three reviewers have approved candidates. Importantly, a candidate cannot be invited to campus until approval has been received.
- If a candidate is not approved, the department may be asked to provide additional information, or can replace that candidate with another.
The original BIE program was developed by the strategic plan working group on the Recruitment and Retention of Underrepresented Faculty, reviewed and approved by the Senate committees on Faculty Affairs, Diversity, Equity, and Outreach (now Diversity, Equity and Inclusion), Academic Policy and Planning, and Academic Resources and Planning, and authorized by the Provost. Modifications to this process were made in response to findings from the BIE self-study from the Recruitment and Retention of Underrepresented Faculty and from the Academic Dean’s Council. Subsequent changes were reviewed and approved by the Senate committee on Diversity, Equity, and Outreach.
Under the original program, a small pool of tenure-track faculty lines were set aside each year. Departments conducting regular faculty searches could then apply for one of those additional lines if they had qualified finalists who met two or more BIE program criteria.
In Fall 2019, the original BIE program was suspended and the original criteria were used in a process for a special cohort of accreditation-related searches approved to begin in December 2019.
In May 2020, the University Senate voted to extend that process to all faculty hires going forward.