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Search Advocate Pilot Program

About the Search Advocate Program

The Search Advocate Pilot Program is a two-year pilot program designed to support the search and hire process for academic and administrative units. The advocate program has three priorities:

  1. Increase the diversity of candidate pools.
  2. Ensure equitable practices and treatment of all parties participating in the search process.
  3. Collaborate with the Human Resources team and the Title IX/Office of Equal Employment Opportunity to ensure that university search and hire policies and procedures are in compliance.

UNLV’s Search Advocate Pilot Program is modeled after Oregon State University’s (OSU) Search Advocate Program. UNLV has partnered with OSU to train search advocates and consult on the program’s development and implementation.

UNLV is seeking a diverse group of academic and administrative faculty to serve as search advocates for faculty searches taking place during 2021-2023. Search advocates will undergo training and serve annually as ex-officio members of 1-2 faculty searches occurring outside of their home unit. (Advocates can serve on academic and/or administrative faculty search committees.)

The UNLV Search Advocate Pilot Program will coordinate two cohorts of advocates. Selected faculty will serve in the capacity of a search advocate for 12 months.

  • Cohort 1: The call for applications will take place during Spring 2021. Selected candidates will serve on faculty searches during the 2021-2022 academic year.
  • Cohort 2: The call for applications will take place in Spring 2022. Selected candidates will serve on faculty searches during the 2022-2023 academic year.

What is a Search Advocate?

A search advocate “is a consultant/participant who advances inclusive excellence by asking questions to help committee members test their thinking, identifying and promoting practices that advance diversity and social justice, and minimizing the impacts of cognitive and structural biases. As external committee members, advocates are able to explore assumptions, norms, and practices that an internal member might not question. The search advocate plays a vital role in position development, recruitment, screening, interviews, references, evaluation, and integration of the new faculty or staff member into the institution. In partnership with the search chair, search committee members, and hiring official, the search advocate affirms a commitment to inclusive excellence.”
Oregon State University Search Advocate Program

Characteristics of a Search Advocate

According to the Oregon State University’s Search Advocate Handbook, to be effective, search advocates bring important strengths to their work with search committees. In addition to training and experience, the best search advocates are:

  • Committed to equity, inclusion, diversity, and justice;
  • Fair and open‐minded with good judgment;
  • Curious, thoughtful, persistent, and respectful;
  • Experienced collaborators, strong communicators, and skillful facilitators;
  • Able to cultivate a blame‐free environment to discuss implicit bias;
  • Respected and trusted by colleagues/peers;
  • Experienced in search and selection;
  • Able to set aside personal interests to work for the good of the college/unit and the university;
  • Available/willing to devote the necessary time to learning, committee participation, and consultation for approximately 1-2 searches each year; and
  • Able to maintain confidentiality throughout the search process.

Advisory Committee

The Search Advocate Pilot Program is guided by an advisory committee including faculty, staff, and administrators. The committee assists with the program’s development, reviews applications and selects advocates, and provides feedback on program evaluation reports. Members include:

  • Savannah Baltera, Chair, Administrative Faculty Committee
  • Harriet Barlow, Executive Director, The Intersection, Office of Diversity Initiatives
  • Lori Ciconne, Executive Director, Sponsored Programs
  • Janet Dufek, Vice Provost of Faculty Affairs, Provost’s Office
  • Tod Fitzpatrick, Associate Dean, College of Fine Arts
  • Rimi Marwah, Chair, President’s Advisory Council
  • Tarryn McGhie, Co-Chair, Administrative Faculty & Classified Staff Subcommittee of the Anti-Black Racism Task Force
  • Vicki Rosser, Chair, Faculty Senate
  • Michelle Sposito, Director of Title IX & Compliance

Program Evaluation

Participants, including search advocates, search committee members, unit leaders, and administrators, will engage in focus groups and online surveys to understand their experiences and perceptions, and measure the impact of the pilot program.


UNLV’s Search Advocate Pilot Program is coordinated by the Offices of Faculty Affairs and Human Resources. For more information, contact