A Deaf & Hard of Hearing person applies for a full-time academic teaching position in a public institution that is listed nationally across multiple job boards. The offering institution is one that is mainly consisting of individuals that have a 1% population of Deaf & Hard of Hearing faculty, students, administrators and staff members. The person applying for the position is highly qualified and displays an extensive resume and history of service and accomplishments in the field in which they are applying. (The information about the applicant is highly transparent on the Internet at large) When applying, the applicant checks the “YES, I have a disability box” on the institutions application and contacts the human resources department directly to let them know that they are applying with a disability, as a Deaf and Hard of Hearing person specifically. In the event of an interview being offered for the position, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing applicant rightfully requests accommodations to meet in person for accessibility purposes rather than a conference telephone call with the search committee. The Human Resources department at the institution is fully aware that this particular applicant is Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The applicant is hopeful that the HR department communicates with the department offering the position to see what percentage of their current full-time faculty is also Deaf and Hard of Hearing. This will ensure that they are presenting an equal opportunity for employment for those applying with disabilities. The applicant does some investigative research to discover that the offering department currently has not 1 Deaf or hard of hearing member of their faculty, both full-time and adjunct.

Does this communication between the HR department and the offering department actually happen? Do they send a memo making the department aware? Do they make a phone call or make a visit in person to bring this news?

Hmmm, Let’s say that it does in this case..

When the offering department’s search committee learns that one of the applicants is Deaf and Hard of Hearing how do they respond? Are they experienced in the process of interviewing a Deaf and Hard of Hearing person? How many prior experiences have they had in the past? How many of those previous Deaf and Hard of Hearing applicants were given an interview, made it to the second or third round of the process and hired full time? Where are these statistics to show that equal opportunities are being given? This is public information. Let’s dig some of these files up shall we? (Don’t worry, I already am).

When the search committee learns of the applicants request to meet in person for an interview because they are Deaf and Hard of Hearing how aware and educated are the search committees’ members of Deaf culture and what it means to be Deaf and Hard of Hearing? How aware are they of what it means to be Deaf and Hard of Hearing as a person teaching in a mainly all hearing environment? Do they know the benefits of having a Deaf and Hard of Hearing person as a part of their full-time or part-time faculty? What evidence is there within the departments current publishing, seminars, exhibitions, faculty development and outreach that display this information? This is also public information. Let’s dig up some of these files too shall we? (Don’t worry, I already am).

How is an academic faculty search committee with-out any of their members being Deaf or Hard of Hearing equipped, skilled and understanding enough to interview a Deaf and Hard of Hearing candidate? Especially in context to the numerous other applicants who do not have any hearing disabilities at all in a department that does not have one single Deaf or Hard of Hearing person?

Guess who did not get the job?

Who would like to speak with me about thiHave you ever been a on a faculty search committee where a Deaf and Hard of Hearing person applied? If so, did that person receive the position? If not, would you like to share your experience?

It’s time to fix this.