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Recruiting & Hiring Diverse Faculty Guidelines

Equity, diversity and inclusion are key to our success at Toronto Metropolitan University for many reasons. Our students are best served by faculty and staff who reflect their diversity and diverse faculty are fundamental to innovation, teaching, scholarship and creative activities at the university. 

We want all people on campus—faculty, staff and students—to feel they are a part of an inclusive, welcoming academic space. 

Research has shown that diverse groups offer better outcomes, including that they focus more on facts, they process those facts more carefully and they are more innovative. This is why Department Hiring Committees (DHCs) need to include equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) when recruiting and selecting new faculty with different perspectives, experiences and knowledges. This guide provides EDI best practices for committees to incorporate into their processes.

“Our values place equity, diversity and inclusion at the foundation of university life.”

President Mohamed Lachemi

What is equity, diversity and inclusion at Toronto Metropolitan University?


We value the fair and just treatment of all community members through the creation of opportunities and the removal of barriers to address historic and current disadvantages for under-represented and marginalized groups.


We value and respect diversity of knowledge, worldviews and experiences that come from membership in different groups, and the contribution that diversity makes to the learning, teaching, research and work environment. 


We value the equitable, intentional and ongoing engagement of diversity within every facet of university life. It is the shared responsibility of all community members to foster a welcoming, supportive and respectful learning, teaching, research and work environment. 

Our time to lead: The case for equity, diversity and inclusion

Research has shown that diverse groups offer better outcomes, including that they focus more on facts, they process those facts more carefully and they are more innovative (external link) .

Leading in the equity, diversity and inclusion space

We say that it is our time to lead and it is time for us to be leaders in the EDI space for our students and for our faculty. Our academic plan highlights our commitment to inclusion and community—respect for Indigenous perspectives, diversity, inclusion and equity—so, creating a more diverse and inclusive environment is not just a good thing to do, it is crucial to our growth and success. 

Who are we?

The Office of the Vice President, Equity and Community Inclusion (OVPECI) provides leadership, advocacy, and coordination to address equity, diversity, and inclusion throughout the entire university community. OVPECI’s goal is to help you find, attract and hire diverse faculty.

Before starting your diverse hiring process, it is essential for you to think about representation of diversity on the Department Hiring Committee. 

What can you do? Why
Create a hiring committee with a diversity of knowledges, worldviews and experiences.  Diverse hiring committees are more likely to identify excellence in different forms and can support the DHCs by eliminating or reducing bias and stereotyping in the hiring process. Evidence indicates that a diverse panel is more likely to hire a candidate from an under-represented group. 
Consider engaging a senior committee member, who is knowledgeable about and appreciates the importance of diverse knowledge, worldviews and experiences, as the committee’s equity representative. This person will help guide an inclusive process and can liaise with OVPECI for advice to bring back to the hiring committee. 
Try to have representation from TMU’s five equity groups: women, racialized people, Indigenous Peoples, Black people, persons with disabilities and 2SLGBTQ+ people. Review provisions in the  (PDF file) TMU Faculty Agreement that can assist with including faculty from equity groups on the hiring committee. Contact your HR consultant for more information Some innovative and exciting work may be overlooked if you assume that the best work is only done at Harvard, Stanford, McGill and similar world-renowned institutions. 
Go beyond your networks to identify influencers and engage in Active Recruitment by tapping into the many programs across the country for actively reaching those who are just beginning their academic career.  This will show diverse candidates that TMU is a welcoming and inclusive campus. 

Creating a diverse, inclusive environment doesn’t happen by chance. To create space that includes a diverse group of people, it is necessary that we are intentional and plan for diversity. DHC members should examine and challenge their attitudes, beliefs and practices.

Take the time to review your school/department in terms of representation of Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, visible minorities, people who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Two-Spirit, Intersex (2SLGBTQ+), women and men.

What can you do? Why?

Reflect on the diversity of the current faculty in the school or department: How well does the faculty reflect the student population?

  • Who’s included and who is missing?
  • What are the university priorities? (e.g. Truth and Reconciliation commitment to increasing Indigenous faculty.)
  • Are there any Black faculty?
  • Are there faculty with disabilities or 2SLGBTQ+ faculty?

Need help? Contact OVPECI for diversity data on the representation of equity groups in your department or school and for students in your Faculty. 

To create an inclusive hiring process, you need to develop targeted strategies. 

Identify and incorporate equity, diversity and inclusion selection criteria into every phase of the hiring process, including the job posting, interview questions and other assessments and/or measures of excellence, including:

  • Demonstrated ability to provide expertise, support and advice on inclusive curriculum and pedagogy, including Universal Design for Learning (UDL), critical perspectives, decolonizing the classroom and more.
  • Demonstrated ability to engage and make learning accessible and inclusive for undergraduate and graduate students of different genders and races; with different cultures and religions; gender identities and sexual orientations; and mobility, mental health, learning, sensory and other disabilities.
  • Demonstrated ability to include diverse perspectives and experiences, and work with diverse communities, related to scholarly research and creative activities.
  • Demonstrated experience creating opportunities, such as teaching or research assistant positions for students from under-represented groups and amplifying the voices of scholars from under-represented groups in the field.
It’s not just about hiring someone who identifies as part of an equity seeking group. The goal is to find a candidate who brings fresh perspectives, knowledge and experiences to enrich the work in the department or school. Candidates also need to have the skills to teach a diverse student population. 

To do that goes beyond advertising in different places—you need to seek out the talent. You also have to create that special story to convince candidates that they should consider joining TMU. You cannot hire high-quality, diverse faculty without first sourcing diverse groups of excellent candidates. 

What can you do? Why?
Use hiring committee and other school/ department networks—and university groups such as TMU Community Networks—to invite candidates from under-represented groups to apply These groups can help identify candidates from equity groups who are doing remarkable, ground-breaking work. 
Advertise in publications targeted to scholars from equity seeking groups, e.g. women in STEM, Black scholars, etc. Your HR consultant and the  Indigenous Human Resources Lead can help to identify these publications to reach Indigenous candidates.  Scholars from equity groups may not see ads in mainstream publications. Additionally, by posting in targeted publications you are showing diverse and Indigenous candidates that you want to include them. 
Look for diverse faculty at smaller, lesser known institutions who are doing exciting work and for rising stars, with diverse perspectives and thought, who can fully realize their potential at TMU, and encourage them to apply.  Some innovative and exciting work may be overlooked if you assume that the best work is only done at Harvard, Stanford, McGill and similar worldrenowned institutions. 
Go beyond your networks to identify influencers and engage in Active Recruitment by tapping into the many programs across the country for actively reaching those who are just beginning their academic career.  Leaders doing ground breaking work may know of PhD students and PostDoctoral Fellows who would be strong candidates. 

Find the best candidates and offer equitable opportunities to all applicants by being aware of the biases and barriers and scoring EDI selection criteria.

What can you do? Why?
Explore the Harvard Implicit Association tests (external link)  and review the OVPECI resource on identifying and counteracting implicit biases. It is necessary to understand your biases and how they can affect your assessments without you being aware of it.
Use a structured method for assessing and rating candidates. Consider removing names of candidates and/or names of institutions at which they worked. Use the inclusive rubric that OVPECI has developed. To be consistent and remove implicit bias from the screening process.

Recognize and value different forms of scholarly work and not just the number of publications and citation indices, but consider work such as conference presentations, public policy contributions and creative works. There should be an understanding of scholarship for specific equity seeking groups. For example, for Indigenous scholars the most relevant journals for publication may not be peer reviewed, e.g. Native journals. 

Consult with OVPECI and TMU’s IIndigenous Human Resources Lead to learn more.

There are a number of ways to create and disseminate knowledge, such as public policy consultation. The number of publications, citations and where the candidate was published are only proxies for excellence. Our best practice is to review publications and other forms of dissemination to assess research quality and contribution to the body of knowledge, rather than relying on proxies.  

Look at a variety of indicators of teaching excellence, including peer assessments, awards, teaching statement, updated pedagogical techniques and incorporation of Universal Design for Learning. Do not use student evaluations to assess teaching effectiveness. Student teaching evaluations can reflect biases so it is important to look at a variety of indicators of teaching skill and currency.
Think about assessment criteria that values different career paths and experiences. Don’t focus on a typical, linear and uninterrupted career, but consider what non-academic, volunteer and other work can bring to teaching and SRC at the university, and look at the candidate’s experience in terms of blocks that contributed to their overall expertise. Different paths can bring innovative ideas to the university.

Often the best candidates have many opportunities available to them, so it is important to demonstrate that TMU is the place where they will be valued and included, and can achieve their potential. We are not only assessing applicants, they are assessing us.

What can you do? Why?
Ask about and provide accommodations and preferences requested by the candidate. In most cases, this is required by law under the Ontario Human Rights Code, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. It is the law and more importantly, the right thing to do. It is not enough to say we are open and inclusive, we need to show it at every stage of the hiring process.
Consider how individual and cultural differences can affect first impressions of candidates and trigger biases. Hiring committees sometimes assess candidates based on what they see as self-confidence, enthusiasm, leadership and more, but those qualities may not be as apparent in people who are more reserved or who have different cultural values and norms, e.g. different views of what constitutes good leadership. Remember not everyone is comfortable with large group meet and greet events.

Some ways to make candidates feel welcome on campus include:

  • Ask the candidate what they would need to feel comfortable.
  • Invite faculty and/or community members with similar backgrounds, lived experiences and scholarship to meet and greet events, job talks and other gatherings.
  • Offer a desk or workspace for the candidate to use while they are here.

These candidates likely have other options available. When they are on campus, they are assessing TMU, our faculty, staff and our environment to see if they want to work here.

What can you do? Why?
Ask questions about how their identity and/or experiences inform their teaching and research. This demonstrates TMU’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. It can make candidates feel as though their knowledges, perspectives and lived experiences will be valued at the university.
Develop questions based on selection criteria, including EDI criteria, included in the posting. Use OVPECI suggested interview questions. These questions will help you understand how the candidate’s diverse perspectives, knowledges and experience can add value to the department/school.

Suggested interview questions from the OVPECI

Equity, diversity and inclusion-related questions

  1. TMU is highly committed to equity, diversity and inclusion in all of our activities on campus. Equity, Diversity and Inclusion are also the core values of TMU’s Academic Plan. What specific strategies have you used to infuse equity, diversity and inclusion into your work? 
  2. Describe how you have created research and creative opportunities (graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research associates, research assistants, etc.) for people from under-represented groups, including women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, racialized people and people of all sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions? 

Research/creative activities 

  1. Could you comment on your research or creative collaborations? How do you plan to collaborate while at TMU? What role has diversity played in your research or creative collaborations? 
  2. Describe any ties that your research or creative activities have or may have with industry and/or community partners.
  3. Describe how you have organized and implemented your research or creative activity projects. How would you hire and supervise people to create a team that would bring diverse perspectives and experiences to the work. How would you include representation from under represented equity seeking groups and foster a culture of respect, equity and inclusion? 
  4. What strategies do you use to effectively balance a busy teaching, research and service load, and how do you build in time to stay current?


  1. What experience do you have teaching undergraduate and graduate courses? What courses would you like to teach at TMU? What experience do you have teaching students with diverse backgrounds, experiences and worldviews? 
  2. Describe your most difficult teaching experience. What happened? What was the impact of your actions on you and the students? 
  3. What experience do you have teaching students with diverse backgrounds, experiences and worldviews? 
  4. What is your experience in developing new programs and/or new courses? What obstacles did you overcome? What were the results? 


  1. What have you done recently, outside of research and   teaching, to contribute to your profession (organizing conferences, etc.)? What have you done recently, outside of research and teaching, to contribute to the community, both inside and outside of the university? 
  2. If hired, then what service contributions can you make to the Department and to TMU?

You’ve found one or two excellent candidates for the position. The final steps to hiring include reference checks, recommending a candidate to the Dean and refining your hiring process for the next cycle.

What can you do? Why?
Ask specific questions from referees that can be provided in writing or phone/in person discussion. Talking with referees allows for probing and supplementary questions that can provide a fuller understanding of candidates’ qualifications.  Evidence shows that unconscious biases are reflected in typical reference letters provided for candidates from equity seeking groups.
Take care in using student evaluations. Use other evidence of teaching expertise such as peer evaluations, awards and other evidence of teaching skills. Student evaluations should not be used to assess teaching effectiveness. When reviewing student evaluations, look at the frequency distribution and not just averages. Bias can also be found in student evaluations of lecturers from equity seeking groups and/or who challenge student worldviews.
Consider and value the diverse perspectives, knowledges and experiences that candidates can bring to enrich and build on the existing work of the department, school or Faculty and whether candidates reflect the student body. Recommend to the Dean, when relatively equal, offering the job to the candidate from an under-represented equity seeking group in the department/school (usually within 10%). Diversity and inclusion is tied to innovation, research excellence and student learning and success.
Ask interviewed candidates to provide feedback on the process and suggestions for improvement. There is always room to improve. Candidates will see areas where we can make things better for the next hiring round.

We know that as a DHC member your role is not about retention, but you have just participated in a process that will bring new colleagues to the university. The goal is to ensure the new candidate has a positive experience at TMU so they can contribute to the work of the school or department.

What can you do? Why?
Help your colleague to make connections with community members who may have similar backgrounds, experience and scholarship. After spending your time and effort finding the right candidate, you want them to succeed and that often depends on how included they feel and what connections they make with other faculty and community members. This will enhance collegiality in the department.
Think about collaborations for research and creative activities with the new faculty member. Enrich your SRC work by including the new perspectives, knowledges and experiences your new hire brings.
Let them know about the TMU Community Networks so they can connect with faculty and staff from their communities. This will help build a sense of community at the university and create long-lasting connections.