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Stanford works hard to retain faculty members who bring excellence and add diversity (broadly defined) to the university. The following retention practices are offered as guidelines to assist Stanford schools and departments in supporting and retaining their faculty. Stanford University recognizes that the commitment to increasing faculty diversity does not end upon the appointment of a new faculty member. Advancing and retaining our current faculty, including those who add diversity to our campus, is just as important to enhancing the quality and diversity of our faculty as is recruiting them. It should also be recognized that success – or the lack of it – in retaining and promoting outstanding and diverse faculty affects the university’s attractiveness to faculty it wishes to recruit.

Among the factors that contribute to the advancement and retention of faculty is a climate within the department, school, and university as a whole that is collegial, values and supports the professional development of faculty, and respects the contributions of each faculty member. Achieving the goals of recruitment, retention, and advancement requires the involvement and leadership of university officers, school deans, department chairs, and faculty. While policies on retention are difficult to formalize, the following practices are offered as guidelines to assist schools and departments in advancing and retaining a diverse and excellent faculty.


  1. The university should continue its current practice of examining data on faculty transactions (such as appointments, promotions, and resignations) by gender and race/ethnicity and, together with the relevant school and department, should continue to make good faith efforts to evaluate and address any apparent race/ethnicity- or gender-associated disparities.
  2. The university should continue to periodically assess faculty quality of life through surveys and/or focus groups, examining results by gender and race/ethnicity and by school, division, and department.
  3. Department chairs and deans should be vigilant in identifying potential retention risks, such as circumstances and issues that may lead to the departure of valued faculty, including those who contribute to faculty diversity.
  4. It should be recognized that faculty from underrepresented groups, including minorities and women, may face special hurdles. They may be overburdened by well-intentioned invitations to serve on committees and to participate in events and by students’ requests that they serve as advisors or mentors. At the same time, they may feel that they are treated differently, perhaps including being left out of informal department activities. Department chairs and faculty should be welcoming, supportive, and sensitive to the different experiences of faculty from underrepresented groups.
  5. Departments, schools, and the university should provide appropriate support and recognition of individual faculty members. Outstanding performance should be recognized through salary and other forms of compensation and, as appropriate, through opportunities for leadership or for initiatives of special interest to the faculty member and the institution.
  6. Schools should reward faculty members appropriately for their productivity and contributions regardless of their mobility or their interest in pursuing outside offers. Schools should strive to ensure that professors feel appropriately valued and to dispel perceptions that outside offers are the only way to gain rewards.
  7. Schools should conduct periodic salary reviews so that faculty compensation levels are merit-based and not associated with attributes such as gender or race/ethnicity. If disparities or potential inequities are identified, individual cases should be investigated to ensure that salary levels are based on appropriate factors and legitimate, documented academic considerations. If a problem area is identified, appropriate resolution/action should be taken.
  8. Similarly, non-salary forms of compensation and support should be monitored periodically for appropriateness and equity.
  9. Senior as well as junior faculty should have opportunities to voice concerns and receive feedback through annual or bi-annual meetings with their department chair or the dean or his/her designee.
  10. The university and schools should periodically provide to faculty information and guidance about benefits and policies (e.g., policies for new faculty parents, housing assistance programs, research support, and teaching buy-out-opportunities), especially those that either may not always be clear in their application in particular circumstances or that may be subject to deans’ or chairs’ discretion.
  11. Deans and department chairs should be knowledgeable about the university’s policies concerning leaves, accommodations for faculty with parenting responsibilities, childcare, and maternity or disability-related needs — and the administrative offices and resources with special expertise in those areas to whom faculty can be referred.