Cluster hiring is the promising practice of recruiting and hiring professors in groups or cohorts. Across the Canadian postsecondary sector, clusters of professors have been hired within departments, across faculties, and/or within research and teaching areas. There are many benefits to this practice, including cultivating epistemic pluralism, cognitive justice, and ecologies of knowledge. Cluster hiring of professors creates social webs that link together professors who, in concert, can ignite curriculum innovations, transdisciplinary teaching, research and scholarship and expand Indigenous knowledge, languages, and ways of knowing. The social diversity of researchers, teachers, mentors, and role models also can fuel ingenuity, creativity, and innovation. These, in turn, enhance the student, faculty and staff experience. Cluster hiring enables the university to take steps towards a more equitable, diverse, inclusive, and accessible campus, which better reflects the student body and our greater community.
Over 30 years ago, UCalgary, “committed to achieve and maintain a fair and representative workforce” (Employment Equity Policy, February 16, 1989). Then, as now, our students and the wider community are demanding change, including that the professoriate reflect the diversity of the student body and wider Calgary community, which is Canada’s third most diverse city. While we have made some progress, our analysis of hiring trends has shown that the hiring gaps and underrepresentation of members of equity-deserving groups persist overall and by rank (see our Inclusive Excellence Cluster Hiring Initiative EDI Data Report, October 2022). We are committed to transformative changes in policies, practices, systems, and structures that have historically prevented equitable pathways for the advancement of women, racialized/visible minority persons, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQ2S+ persons and that have blocked parallel paths for Indigenous peoples on our campuses.