The College’s professors reaffirmed their commitment to a diverse faculty on Monday, voting to reauthorize the Committee on Faculty Diversity (CFD) through the 2019-2020 academic year. The CFD was created in May 2009 to “promote the hiring and retention of a diverse faculty at Bowdoin,” according to a report distributed at the March faculty meeting.

Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd said that a diverse faculty has immense value for the College.

“The value is about creating the richest educational environment that we can, about bringing a variety of life and intellectual perspectives to bear on what we do,” she said. “The value is about making sure as an institution that we represent the broad diversity that is our country and is our world.”

Members of the CFD sit on tenure-track search committees, helping to ensure that those committees consider diversity appropriately at every stage of the search process.

“The faculty search process, over the years we’ve made that a more extended process, so we begin by building pools of candidates; we begin by figuring out what the outreach is; we look at how best to define a position so that we can bring in the widest pool of applicants, and a member of that committee served on the search committee,” said Judd.

Judd said that the CFD works toward diversity in its broadest sense, considering not only the race and ethnicity of candidates, but also their gender, socioeconomic background and country of origin, and the undergraduate and graduate institutions from which they graduated. In recent years the College has achieved a near perfect gender balance among its faculty, and it currently employs professors from 21 countries.

When the CFD was formed, the faculty included a five-year sunset clause so that they could evaluate whether it should continue to exist and how it could be improved. A working group formed last October, chaired by Peter M. Small Associate Professor of Art History Stephen Perkinson, reported that “the Committee has been able to play a helpful role in searches…and that the ultimate goal of embedding best practices in the faculty as a whole is broadly supported. These factors strongly suggest that the Committee should be reauthorized.”

The working group also identified ways that the CFD could be improved, recommending that its “members receive professional training in best practices regarding inclusive recruitment and hiring,” that they join the search process earlier, and that they serve two-year terms “to allow for full training and the presence of experienced members on search committees.” The faculty voted to implement all of these changes on Monday.

Romney Associates, a professional development company, is currently helping the College design four training workshops that will teach CFD members how to prepare for searches, how to read dossiers and deal with unconscious bias, how to structure campus visits for prospective hires, and how to ensure the success of faculty members once they are hired. The first workshop will take place in May.

Judd said the purpose of the CFD is not simply to increase the number of faculty members from diverse backgrounds, but also to change the way that Bowdoin understands diversity as an institution.

“It’s something that we have worked very hard on, and we’re not there yet, and we’re never going to be there yet,” she said. “It’s not a numbers game. It’s a way of being.”

—Marina Affo contributed to this report.