MB&B completes anonymized search for faculty positions

MB&B Together
May 3, 2021

The MB&B department recently completed an anonymized search for a tenure-track Assistant Professor position, resulting in two pending offers from 188 applications. For the first time, applications were submitted without names, places, funding agencies, or journals disclosed.

Anonymized applications were implemented this year in order to increase diversity and avoid bias in the hiring process. The recruiting committee reviewed materials based upon candidates’ descriptions of their science, teaching, and plans to contribute to the diversity of the department.

 The search committee comprised Andrew Miranker, Wendy Gilbert, Donald Engelman and Franziska Bleichert. In an effort to decrease subjectivity, the group implemented a rubric to evaluate candidates. The committee read only applicants’ research statements in the first round of selection. The 32 candidates selected from this fully anonymized step included 17 men and 15 women. Following additional rounds of partially anonymized selection, 14 candidates were invited to interview, seven of which were people of color.

The MB&B department has historically had limited diversity in faculty positions. Until recently, Professor and Department Chair Enrique De La Cruz – a faculty member for 20 years – was the only member of an underrepresented community.

In an interview with Yale Daily News, De La Cruz said that “Institutions such as ours are not viewed as friendly, welcoming places for people of underrepresented groups.”

The new hiring process will likely undergo modifications in future rounds of hiring, such as separating diversity statements from other materials and allowing the inclusion of personal details. The department intends to maintain a commitment to increasing faculty diversity and promoting an inclusive environment reflected by anonymized hiring practices.

By: Brigitte Naughton