The transformative role of EDI in promotion and tenure decisions

An engineer wearing a white lab coat reaches up to a large piece of equipment in a high-tech lab

In 2015, Oregon State University’s Faculty Senate adopted the policy that contributions to equity, diversity, and inclusion should be taken into account during all academic faculty promotion and tenure decisions, stating that “such contributions can be part of teaching, advising, research, extension, and/or service. They can be, but do not have to be, part of scholarly work.”

The 2020 collective bargaining agreement between the university and United Academics of OSU (the union representing teaching and research faculty) requires that “position descriptions shall clearly identify expected contributions to equity, inclusion, and diversity.” That condition was fully realized in the College of Engineering by the spring of 2022, according to Glencora Borradaile, professor of computer science and interim associate dean for faculty and staff advancement.

“These important developments make it clear that EDI is an integral part of every faculty member’s job, and that those expectations are more uniform, since they apply to everyone equally,” Borradaile said. “It’s a big step in moving EDI to the forefront in how we think about our work.”

Borradaile, who has sat on both school and college promotion and tenure committees, says benchmarks considered when evaluating a faculty member’s EDI contributions include:

  • How has the faculty member educated themselves about EDI in the classroom and in their research through, for instance, seminars and training?
  • How have they articulated their planned adoption of EDI practices?
  • What steps have they taken to create a welcoming atmosphere in their classes and labs?
  • How have they tried to effect change and make and an impact beyond the university and into their professional sphere and broader community?

“The progress the university has made in the realm of EDI provides justification for faculty and staff to spend time exploring these ideas and, in turn, improving the culture of the College of Engineering,” Borradaile said.

April 12, 2024