Diversity statements can determine who gets hired at universities

A 2021 study found that diversity statement requirements for applicants seeking university faculty jobs are common and on the rise.

Campus Reform analyzed faculty job postings to evaluate their frequency.

According to a 2021 study, approximately one-fifth of university job postings require applicants to expound their dedication to diversity by submitting a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) statement with their application materials

The study conducted by the American Enterprise Institute estimated the prevalence of requisite diversity statements in public higher education job postings. After analyzing 999 job postings, the study found that 19% required applicants to submit a diversity statement in the job application materials alongside the traditional requirements such as a resume and cover letter.

“We believe our coding schemes are conservative and, if anything, likely underestimate the prevalence of DEI statements,” researchers James Paul and Robert Maranto conjecture.

[RELATED: Promotions at University of Illinois might depend on professors' devotion to DEI]

As a surprise to the researchers, STEM jobs were found to be just as likely to require a diversity statement from applicants as social science jobs.

“The most surprising finding of the paper is that these requirements are not just limited to the softer humanities. I would have expected these statements to be less common in math and engineering, but they're not,” Paul told the Washington Free Beacon

Offering an example, the study cites UC Berkeley’s 2018-2019 Initiative to Advance Faculty Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Life Science Year End Summary Report. The report reveals that of the 893 job applicants who met basic qualifications, only 214 were able to advance to the subsequent round due to “contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion.”  

[RELATED: University is hiring a 'Director of Social Justice Education' to create 'university-wide culture shifts']

Paul and Maranto believe that DEI requirements have “grown rapidly in recent years” and will continue to become more prevalent in the future. 

“If policymakers do not intervene, DEI requirements are likely to grow substantially in the years to come,” the authors state. 

Campus Reform analyzed several universities’ job advertisements finding that diversity statements are, in fact, prevalent.


Davidson College

Davidson College requires three documents when applying for its biochemistry/molecular biology visiting assistant professor position: a cover letter, a CV, and a “statement of the candidate’s potential contributions to Davidson’s institutional commitment to diversity and inclusion.”

The diversity statement must address the three given prompts:

“The initial screening of candidates will be based on an evaluation of just the candidates’ statement of potential contributions to Davidson’s commitment to diversity and inclusive pedagogy,” the job advertisement states.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University is seeking a physics lecturer who preferably displays a “strong commitment to promoting the participation of women and underrepresented minorities.” 

Required in the job application is a “brief statement addressing how your past and/or potential teaching contributions to diversity and inclusion will advance ASU’s commitment to inclusive excellence.” 

University of California, San Diego

Psychiatrist applicants hoping to become UC San Diego’s next director of training for its residency program must submit a “Statement of Contributions to Diversity” as the psychology department is “firmly committed to social justice, diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism within all areas of academic medicine and patient care.”

University of Denver

In order to apply for the University of Denver’s program coordinator for student engagement position, applicants are required to show a “demonstrated commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity with the ability to utilize cultural competency principles to effectively reach diverse audiences.”

Nebraska Wesleyan University

Applicants interested in the visiting assistant professor of business position at Nebraska Wesleyan University must submit a diversity statement in order to show how he/she is committed to the university’s core value of diversity. 

University of Massachusetts Boston

The University of Massachusetts Boston requires a diversity statement alongside other application materials such as a cover letter and teaching statement for applicants vying for its open position as professor and department chair for the Department of Engineering in the College of Science and Mathematics.

AEI and the mentioned universities did not respond to Campus Reform’s request for comment in time for publication.