Human Resources’ program seeks to ensure equitable practices are centered at the inception of University job searches.

Illinois State University’s Search Advocate Program, launched in September of 2021, is designed to support faculty and staff searches across campus. A summer workshop series for those interested in earning the Search Advocate certification will be held on four afternoons in June.

“As an institution, we want to ensure equitable and inclusive processes throughout the recruitment and selection cycle,” said Director of Executive Search Services and Learning and Development Lisa Mason. “The goal is to not only increase the diversity of candidate pools, but to also remove bias and other barriers that may prevent diverse candidates from advancing through the selection process.”

Modeled after Oregon State University’s program, search advocates are external, non-voting search committee members serving as consultants who play a vital role in position description development, recruitment, screening, interviews, evaluation, and integration of the new faculty or staff member into the institution. “Search Advocates are able to explore assumptions, norms, and practices that an internal member might not question,” said Mason. “They can help minimize the impacts of cognitive and structural biases throughout the search and selection processes.”

Mason worked with Oregon State for nearly two years to adapt the program to Illinois State. “This program reflects the expectation set down by our strategic plan and task forces that equity practices are integrated into the framework across campus,” said Mason. 

Those interested in earning Search Advocate certification will take part in a 16-hour training, consisting of four workshops. The workshop sessions will be conducted via Zoom by Anne Gillies, director of the Search Advocate Program at Oregon State University. 

The summer workshop series will be conducted via Zoom from 12:30-4:30 p.m. on each of the following days:

  • Monday, June 20
  • Tuesday, June 21
  • Wednesday, June 22
  • Thursday, June 23

Attendance at all four sessions is required to be certified. Advance registration is required, and space is limited.  Register here.

Those with questions about the Search Advocate Program or certification can contact Mason at Those interested in adding an advocate to a future search should contact Mason as well. Find more information on the program on the Human Resources website.