Search Advocate

Become a Search Advocate

There are more search advocates than pictured above. For information on the full list of search advocates, please contact Valerie Hayes at

Become a Search Advocate

Stockton University has a long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion. In collaboration with the Office of Human Resources (OHR), the Office of Diversity and Inclusion actively oversees the faculty and managerial search and selection process to ensure that searches comport with the Policy Prohibiting Discrimination in the Workplace. 

Search advocates learn principles and strategies to advance Stockton’s strategic diversity goals, equal opportunity principles, and diversity and inclusion values to enhance the integrity and effectiveness of the search and selection process.

The Search Advocate works collaboratively with the school dean or hiring manager, the search chair, and the search committee.

A search advocate is highly recommended for every search subject to the availability of trained personnel.

Find a Search Advocate

For more information, contact:

Valerie Hayes
Chief Officer for Diversity and Inclusion

The Role of Search Advocate

While serving as a full member of the search committee, Search Advocates fulfill the following responsibilities:

  • Assist in conducting fair, equitable and inclusive searches in accordance with university policies and procedures
  • Work closely with the Search Chair and the Search Committee to assist in drafting the position description, qualifications, and screening criteria
  • Assist with identifying outreach and recruitment strategies, screening applicants, completing preliminary and on-campus interviews, and deliberations, and may complete final evaluations (goldenrods)
  • Include diverse perspectives at every stage of the search process
  • Support Search Committee activities, including assisting the Search Committee to identify and eliminate unconscious, unintentional biases
  • Share information and recommend inclusive and equity-minded strategies
  • Provide information that helps to reduce bias in thinking, decision making, and behavior
  • Consult with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion as needed

Search advocates participate throughout the search and selection process from position description to the end of the search process.

At every stage, their role is to advocate for the search process itself and to assist committees in efforts to avoid unconscious, unintentional biases. Search advocates actively promote diversity and affirmative action principles by sharing information, recommending inclusive/affirmative strategies, supporting full committee and stakeholder participation, and consulting with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion as needed.

In collaboration with search chairs, search committees, and school deans or hiring managers, they affirm Stockton’s high standard of excellence and inclusive search/selection practices.

2020 Strategic Plan Diversity & Inclusion

Search committees must attend to broader institutional considerations including diversity, equity, affirmative action principles of equal opportunity, and institutional strategic priorities relative to diversity and inclusion. Search advocates provide expertise in review and selection, including an understanding of the challenging and sometimes invisible obstacles that hinder our efforts. In service to the university, Search Advocates support and assist with Diversity & Inclusion Implementation Goal 2.2.

Enhance Faculty and Staff Diversity: Build and cultivate a base of institutions (starting with minority-serving institutions) and disciplinary association caucuses to promote diversity in Stockton’s faculty, managerial, and professional staff appointments.

Goal 2 – Develop and promote ways to infuse diversity, equity, and inclusion principles into all aspects of the search and hiring processes.


Confidentiality is required of Search Committee members participating in an active search. Candidate names, deliberations and personal background information may not be shared with non-committee members. Informal reference checks of job are not permitted.

Characteristics of Search Advocates

To be effective in these complex roles, search advocates bring important strengths to their work with search committees.

Advocates are faculty or staff members who should not be a member of the academic program or the administrative office seeking to fill a position, and they are trained to identify and eliminate bias risks at all stages of the hiring process.

In addition to their training and experience, search advocates are:

  • Committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as to affirmative steps to remedy the effects of implicit bias in the search process.
  • Fair and open-minded with good judgment.
  • Curious and persistent when needed, yet always respectful.
  • Experienced collaborators, strong communicators, and skillful facilitators.
  • Able to cultivate a blame-free environment to discuss unconscious bias.
  • Respected by colleagues/peers for their past and current professional accomplishments (which include teaching, research, and service, as well as mentorship, leadership, shared governance, etc.).
  • Have served on at least one search committee, either as a search chair or search committee member.
  • Able to set aside personal interests to work for the good of the academic program, school, and university.
  • Available/willing to devote the necessary time to learning, to search committee participation, and to consultation for at least one (1) SFT faculty or SFT professional search per academic year or one (1) managerial search per calendar year.

How Do I Become A Search Advocate?

The role of Search Advocate is complex and requires appropriate preparation; therefore, completion of either a full one-day workshop co-facilitated by the Office of Diversity & inclusion and the Office of Human Resources offered during the year or a two-day/half day workshop co-facilitated by two faculty Search Advocates and offered as a Search Advocate Summer Institute in May. Completion of a Search Advocate Workshop is a prerequisite to serving as a Search Advocate. Both highly interactive workshops are offered to a minimum of 15-20 employees per workshop. Search Advocates and the Search Advocate Program is open to Stockton University faculty and staff, including managers, who participate on search committees.

Policies & Procedures



The answer to this question depends on two factors (1) the number of trained search advocates available, and (2) the number of faculty and managerial searches in a year. In general, search advocates may be called upon at least once perhaps twice to serve on search committees.

The Search Advocate is treated as a full member of the search committee. The amount of time depends on the search and how it progresses to the end with a successful candidate. Generally, faculty searches tend to begin in the fall with some exceptions that occur during the academic year. Managerial searches can occur anytime of the year.

Generally, there is only one Search Advocate assigned to a search; however, first time Search Advocates may request the presence of another Search Advocate who has more experience in the role to join them.

Only one search advocate formally serves in that role but that does not preclude other individuals who have completed the two-day search advocate training from being part of the search committee. In fact, we welcome that!

Search Advocates are vital to Stockton’s search/selection process. As such, Search Advocates are treated as full committee members from creation of job advertisement to selection. If a Search Advocate is excluded from any part of the search process, the Chief Officer for Diversity and Inclusion should be notified immediately. In collaboration with the hiring manager and divisional executive, the Chief Officer for Diversity & Inclusion may fail the search.