Equity Advocate Program

Our institutional commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is of the utmost importance to making structural change to address systemic inequity. Cal Poly Humboldt serves as a model for cross-disciplinary DEI programs and initiatives which attest to the commitment of our individual and collective community members. Your participation as an Equity Advocate contributes to the great strides our institution is making in engaging critical social consciousness, elevating our institutional capacity and commitment to fostering a community climate of diversity, and equitable and inclusive belonging, success, and well-being.

What is an Equity Advocate and what is their purpose?

An Equity Advocate is a volunteer faculty or staff member who serves on a department’s search committee to be a presence and resource that encourages equitable consideration of all candidates across identity markers. The Equity Advocate adds a layer of awareness and consistency to the search and deliberative process that allows the search committee to focus on content expertise while minimizing the cognitive and structural impact of implicit bias.

What is Implicit Bias and why does it matter in the search process? 

Implicit bias is a characteristic of our human brains to create automatic associations between what are learned portrayals or perceptions of cultural or racial norms and which lead to the unconscious acceptance of stereotypes. Stereotyping reinforces what is considered acceptable and normal, or not acceptable or deviant from the norm. At predominantly white institutions, “normal” is often centered around valuing characteristics of whiteness and white-culture. These judgements, based on stereotypes, informed by bias, lead to systemic barriers for candidates whose demographic characteristics fall outside of the perceived norm and limit the perceptions of qualifications of minoritized candidates. Implicit bias allows subjective assumptions to influence decision-making by subconsciously favoring applicants whose experience, affiliations, and personalities match the search committee member’s own.

How does an Equity Advocate participate on the search committee? 

The presence of an Equity Advocate on the search committee promotes equity by bringing awareness to biased judgements and practices that unfairly disadvantage minoritized groups. The search committee chair and Equity Advocate intentionally open up a lane of communication, where feedback can be provided to the search committee chair to use at their discretion. 


Are you interested in volunteering to be an Equity Advocate on a search committee?

The ODEI will issue a call for volunteer Equity Advocates each Spring semester and prepare them to serve on faculty and staff search committees for the following Academic Year. 

If you are interested in becoming an Equity Advocate, please reach out to diversity@
humboldt.edu to indicate your interest and schedule an orientation.