FAQ: Cluster Hiring Initiative for Indigenous Faculty and Black Faculty

What is the University doing?

The University of Waterloo is launching two cluster hiring initiatives that include one cluster of 10 tenure track/tenured positions restricted to Indigenous (i.e., status and non-status First Nations, Inuit/Inuk, Métis and those from tribal nations and Indigenous communities across Turtle Island) faculty and one cluster of 10 tenure track/tenured positions restricted to Black faculty, for a total of 20 positions.

Is it legal to restrict positions to certain groups of people?

Yes. As restricted hiring opportunities, the cluster hiring initiatives follow the provisions for a special program as described by the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Waterloo’s current representation of Indigenous and Black faculty is consistent with this approach.  

When will these positions be hired?

Recruitment is open now and will continue until all positions are successfully filled. There is no set timeline for the initiative (meaning that the positions will not happen over a set timeline. If candidates are found immediately, the cluster will be hired immediately).

What type of positions will be offered?

Positions are open at the assistant professor/associate professor/professor levels, with the intention to recruit faculty at a range of career stages. At least half of the positions will occur at the assistant professor rank.

Why are these positions being offered?

These cluster hiring initiatives are two among many intended to accelerate the representation of Indigenous and Black faculty across the University. These cluster hires are not meant to replace other opportunities.

How will these positions be funded?

Each position will be centrally funded for an initial period of three years from the start date for each hire by the Provost’s Office and transitioned thereafter to the Faculties. A centrally provided fund will also be offered to each candidate to ensure a consistent and minimal level of support for onboarding, in addition to the start-up costs that each Faculty will provide.

Will the positions be focused on Black Studies and Indigenous Studies specifically?

No. The fundamental purpose of the cluster hiring initiatives is to increase representation of Black and Indigenous faculty across the spectrum of Waterloo’s teaching and scholarship activities; while there may be some natural synergies with the current development of academic programming in the areas of Black Studies and Indigenous Studies, the cluster initiatives are not intended to recruit solely/primarily for these areas.

Deans have been engaged to identify a broad range of opportunities and research areas. The positions will not be a direct replacement of research areas for retiring faculty. Waterloo will seek excellent candidates whose experience and/or potential in research and teaching can contribute to Waterloo’s mission.

How will you ensure that the hiring is done fairly?

The Provost’s Office is committed to engaging with a variety of key stakeholders who have views and expertise that must be respected in increasing the representation of Black and Indigenous faculty to ensure effective recruitment, selection, and onboarding of new faculty.

Waterloo is engaging with a recruitment firm with demonstrated expertise in the recruitment of Black and Indigenous candidates to support elements of the recruitment process.

The hiring of faculty through the cluster hiring initiative will align to required elements of standard faculty hiring processes, including having a selection committee for each of the faculty members hired that is composed of faculty.

Each selection committee will be supported in competency and capacity building, including training for equitable faculty recruitment and selection, Indigenous ways of knowing, anti-oppression, and anti-Black racism. It is anticipated that training will support selection committee members in developing criteria and ensuring an equitable, anti-oppressive and anti-racist recruitment process.

All selection committees will include an equity champion and complete a selection committee report that includes specific consideration given to an equitable and inclusive process.

Are these positions all considered to be tenured/tenure track?

Yes. Non-tenured/tenure track positions are not eligible as part of the cluster hire initiative.

How will the University of Waterloo address the identification process for applicants?

As applicable, applicants who self-identify as Indigenous or Black must provide a written attestation in the cover letter that they identify as belonging to the Indigenous community (i.e., status and non-status First Nations, Inuit/Inuk, Métis and those from tribal nations and Indigenous communities across Turtle Island) or identify as a member of the Black community.

If attesting to the above, Indigenous applicants are also invited to submit an optional letter or oral statement of support from the individual’s community that describes the individual’s involvement/role within the community, or a statement of lived experience. This statement will be reviewed by members of Waterloo’s Indigenous community for inclusion in the evaluation of Indigenous applicants.

Who can I ask if I have further questions about the cluster hiring initiatives? How do I apply for one of these positions?

Applications or questions about the initiative are to be submitted to: Recruitment.Provost@uwaterloo.ca.

Who can I ask if I have questions about other work being done at Waterloo to facilitate understanding and address systemic barriers to equity, inclusion, and decolonization?

Questions can be directed to: Jean Becker, Senior Director, Indigenous Initiatives (Operating as Interim AVP, Human Rights, Equity & Inclusion), j2becker@uwaterloo.ca.