College implements first-of-its-kind equity adviser pilot program
First cohort recently certified to serve as inclusive hiring advocates
Oct. 11, 2022 — Since the unveiling of its comprehensive strategic plan, the UF College of Medicine has made the recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce one of its key priorities. To accelerate this effort, the college created a new equity adviser pilot program equipping faculty and staff with a wealth of resources to serve as advocates for inclusive hiring practices.
“Establishing a recruitment process that values diversity, equity and inclusion is an intentional effort that requires support,” said Gailine McCaslin, a senior project manager at the UF College of Medicine. “Amid a slew of hiring activities, there was a great opportunity to become more aware of what was happening during the search process and rethink the tools available for training equity advocates.”
As part of the diversity, inclusion and health care equity pillar of the college’s strategic plan, the equity adviser pilot program provides a structured course for faculty, staff and administrators to become certified in inclusive hiring best practices and serve their departments as consultants during the recruitment process.
“The formal launch of the strategic plan included the development of an inclusive hiring toolkit, and the idea of having an equity adviser component grew serendipitously from there,” McCaslin said. “We began contemplating what it would look like to have a team of trained individuals who were knowledgeable about inclusive hiring practices and could help champion and advise hiring authorities and search committees on those practices.”
These reflections led to a collaboration with UF Human Resources, which was simultaneously preparing to launch a universitywide Inclusive Hiring Hub that consisted of the Inclusive Hiring at UF training course, an Inclusive Hiring Toolkit and the Inclusive Hiring Badge program. These resources were designed to help faculty and staff gain the knowledge, skill and abilities needed to demonstrate inclusive practices during the hiring process, identify and mitigate biases that can affect hiring decisions, and support a more equitable workforce and candidate experience.
“We wanted to empower our hiring teams with resources,” said Audrey Gainey, the director of talent acquisition and onboarding with UF HR. “The Inclusive Hiring Badge provides frameworks that help with building inclusive job profiles and job descriptions, identifying barriers that might exist and implementing best practices for overcoming those barriers.”
Building on the foundation set by the Inclusive Hiring Badge, the College of Medicine created an equity adviser curriculum, designed to prepare faculty and staff to serve on hiring committees as advocates of best recruitment practices. The pilot launched May 3 with an initial test cohort of 14 individuals from across the college.
The program is organized around seven core competencies: inclusive hiring, driving a more inclusive workforce, effective communication, decision making and critical thinking, conflict management, self-awareness and relationship dynamics. Within these units, specialized sections are devoted to considerations of neurodiversity and veteran populations. After demonstrating competency in all seven areas, participants receive their inclusive hiring credentials.
This first cohort was officially certified in September, and its members have already started serving on committees and creating a culture of inclusivity within the college.
“I am excited to take everything we learned and apply it to the positions we are currently recruiting,” said Jason Dugan, a human resource generalist for the department of ophthalmology. “Getting to know others through the program was wonderful. Now we can pick up the phone and bounce ideas off one another. And because we have access to the curriculum, all the tools and resources are at our fingertips at a moment’s notice.”
Moving forward, the college is exploring scaling up the program to include representatives from every department, so that all units can have equity advisers lending their expertise and understanding to the hiring process.
“The feedback we’ve heard has been overwhelmingly positive,” McCaslin said. “This was just a trial, but we are excited to create a community alongside inclusive hiring processes. Recruitment and onboarding are never-ending, so having these champions of best practices who want to develop in this area will really advance the college’s mission.”
2022 equity adviser cohort
- Amelia Baiden
- Jennifer Barghout
- Liliana Bell
- Jodian Blake
- Elizabeth Cowart
- Jason Dugan
- Richanne Lamb
- Gailine McCaslin
- Scott Mullen
- Jason Petho
- Jeremy Schmidt
- Jeffrey Scott
- Will Stephens
- Britney Vidal