Keys to Being an Effective Faculty Excellence Advocate (FEA)

Keys to Being an Effective Faculty Excellence Advocate [FEA]

The ADAPP-ADVANCE initiative is designed to help Michigan State University improve its ability to recruit, retain and advance a diverse faculty workforce, as well as create a positive and supportive work climate for all.  Effective FEAs need to zealously promote and support MSU’s commitment to a high quality and diverse faculty and have a clear understanding of MSU’s/ADAPP’s approach to fulfilling such a commitment. This approach includes applying six guiding principles [quality, inclusiveness, alignment, objectivity, consistency, and transparency] to six targeted areas [recruitment/selection, annual review, promotion/tenure, mentoring, leadership and the work environment] including their structure and associated policies and practices. The approach is supported by theory and a large body of research demonstrating that increasing the structure and alignment of policies and  practices will promote a high quality and inclusive workforce  (Arthur and Doverspike, 2005; Ericksen & Dyer, 2005; Evans, Puckik, & Barsoux, 2002; Gratton & Truss, 2003).

This document outlines broad ideas on how FEAs can be most effective in their role and includes several concrete examples. The attached document provides detailed recommended interventions that further clarify ways in which the FEAs can be effective agents in promoting change, by working with chairs to implement best practices. The position requires a close alliance with the college Dean who is ultimately responsible to the Provost for the college’s performance on measures of diversity, quality and climate. It is expected that the FEAs will work with chairs and deans in achieving exemplary practices in these areas. 


Effective FEAs:

  • Are aware of the key “drivers” of faculty quality and diversity and the associated issues [in general and those specific to your college].  This requires, for example, a thorough understanding of implicit bias (e.g., how an individual can be unaware of the extent to which ones hidden preferences influence the evaluation of candidates for employment and advancement). Attend additional FEA training sessions on such topics as implicit bias and effective searches.  
  • Are aware of available data including academic human resource data that can be used to identify challenges/needs within the college.  These data include:
    • a university wide survey conducted on faculty perceptions of their work environment;
    • a university survey related to leadership development; and
    • data available in central databases such as HR, space and financial data sets.
  • Use available data to:
    • identify needs/challenges to both administrators and faculty and communicate these needs/challenges to both administrators and faculty
    • help track the college’s progress toward achieving MSU goals of enhancing faculty quality and diversity.
  • Utilize other toolsto assist in collecting data from college units as needed. These tools include:
    • Inventoriesfor completion by chairs to collect baseline data on current policies and practices related to recruitment, annual review, promotion and tenure, mentoring and leadership.
    • An on-line Faculty Information Tool (being designed to serve as a secure central database of academic human resource information on individual faculty).
  • Have a basic understanding of MSU academic HR policies, practices, andresources and know how to obtain additional, more specific information when needed.
    • Read and be familiar with the MSU faculty handbooks (university, college and department).
    • Become aware of university resources provided by ADAPP & Academic Human Resources (e.g., ADAPP Resource Guides on human resource processes), the Women’s Resource Center, the Family Resource Center, Faculty and Organizational Development, and the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives.
  • Assist units in assessing the extent to which their academic HR policies, practices, andresources are aligned with those of MSU and the college , and are well integrated, readily accessible to faculty, and consistently applied.
    • Understand the concept of “alignment” and be able to explain it (in basic terms) to faculty.
    • Encourage college units to assess the alignment of their academic HR policies, practices, and resources with MSU and college goals as well as the integration, consistency and accessibility of policies and practices.  Also encourage the use of resources provided by ADAPP to assist units in conducting these assessments.  
  • Are available and approachable to faculty within the college.
    • Introduce yourself to faculty.
    • Provide information about the goals, your role, and how you can be reached. 
    • Send regular communications (e.g. consider having a regular column in the college newsletter).
    • Add an ADAPP link to college and unit websites.  
    • Include information in handbooks and orientation packets.
  • Facilitate communicationbetween faculty and chairs  and the college as well as Academic HR/ADAAP.
    • Proactively seek input on quality and diversity issues from faculty.  Communicate their ideas and concerns to the Academic Human Resources and ADAPP team as appropriate.
    • Inform college faculty and administrators of important ADAPP activities, relevant MSU policy or practice changes (or contemplated changes), and training and other opportunities.

The FEAs are key agents of the Deans in promoting change in the college.  MSU needs FEAs who are passionate champions for building and supporting an excellent and diverse faculty who work in the most supportive environment possible.



Arthur, W.& Doverspike, D. (2005). Achieving diversity and reducing discrimination in the workplace through human resource management practices: Implications for research and the theory for staffing, training, and rewarding performance. In Dipboye, R.L. & Colella, A. (Eds.), Discrimination at Work, pp. 305-327. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates, Inc.

Ericksen, J., & Dyer, L. (2005). Toward a strategic human resource management model of high
reliability organization performance. The International Journal of Human Resource
Management, 16(6), 907-928.

Evans, P., Pucik, V., Barsoux, J.L. (2002). The global challenge, frameworks for international
human resource management.
New York: McGraw-Hill

Gratton, L., and Truss, C. (2003). The three-dimensional people strategy: Putting human resources policies into action. Academy of Management Executive, 17(3), 74-86.

 Schneider,B., Godfry, E.G., Hayes, S.C., Huang, M., Lim, B., Nishii, L.H., Raver, J.L., & Ziegert,
J.C. (2003). Employee experiences of strategic alignment in a service organization.
Organizational Dynamics, 32(2), 122-141.


Web Update: November 9, 2010