Calif. math prof applicants better have 'diversity contributions' on their resumes

UC campuses are requiring math professor applicants to provide diversity statements.

Both former and current academics have said that such requirements 'trivialize' diversity.

Applicants looking to teach mathematics at the University of California campuses are evaluated based on their past contributions to “diversity.”

According to the current job postings for these positions, applications must include a “diversity statement” detailing the applicants’ “past and/or potential contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Several listings for tenure-track or tenured mathematics professor positions at University of California campuses included the stipulation, including listings for positions at UCLA, UC San Diego, and UC Irvine.  

[RELATED: UC requiring all new hires to prove commitment to diversity]

The University of California San Diego offers applicants a detailed explanation of how to construct such a statement, noting that the document should be one to two pages, and encouraging applicants “to provide specific information on the motivation, duration, and impact of their outreach and mentoring activities.”

“The purpose of the statement is to identify candidates who have the professional skills, experience, and/or willingness to engage in activities that will advance our campus equity, diversity and inclusion goals,” the university explains.

A detailed explanation of the evaluation process for these statements is also available from UCSD.  This document notes the purpose of the diversity statement as a method of evaluating a candidate’s “awareness of the barriers that exist for groups historically under-represented in math and science, “past efforts in diversity and outreach activities; and “future plans for diversity and outreach activities.”

[RELATED: Better promote ‘diversity,’ ‘inclusion’ if you want tenure at this Ohio college]

The university notes that of these considerations, “past efforts are given far greater weight than merely showing awareness of barriers or stating future plans.”

As Campus Reform previously reported, diversity statement requirements have come under fire even by academic, current and former. 

N.D.B. Connolly, associate professor at Johns Hopkins University, told The Chronicle of Higher Education that doing so “kind of waters down what gets to count” as work that promotes diversity. Former Harvard University medical school dean Jeffrey Flier also tweeted that such statements were “an affront to academic freedom,” adding that such requirements “trivializ[e]” diversity and inclusion. 

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