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I have(am) applied(ying) for a junior faculty position (i.e. tenure track assistant professor level) at research-intensive US universities from this fall. One of the opening announcements I recently came across is asking to submit "Statement of Contributions to Diversity - Statement addressing past and/or potential contributions to diversity through research, teaching, and/or service. (Optional)" in addition to standard documents. Does anyone have any experiences with this document? Since it is optional, I am not sure how important this document is to be submitted. If I submit it, will it strengthen my application?

  • @aparente001 Unless a question about diversity specifically asks about diversity with respect to ability, the disability tag is inappropriate. (Similarly, the tags gender, religious-issues, and international-students would also be inappropriate, even though those are related to diversity, because this question does not ask about any specific kind of diversity.) – ff524 Nov 22 '15 at 17:09
  • So you want to make a "disability-statement" tag? It would be nice to be able to find other posts on this topic! – aparente001 Nov 22 '15 at 17:14
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If you submit a strong statement of contribution to diversity, it will help your application in the sense that if you are clearly qualified for the job, this statement would be a plus and would get people excited about your application. On the other hand, if there are reservations as to whether you are really qualified for the job, in terms of academic merit, teaching experience -- basic stuff -- then a strong diversity stance will not help you.

If you have no previous or well thought out contributions to diversity to speak of, then submitting an anemic diversity statement might hurt you more than not submitting one at all would.

If you are someone who has never given it much thought, then I would advise you not to submit a statement for this particular application; but at the same time, I would encourage you to start doing some thinking about the special challenges diverse students can face getting started, continuing with, and finishing their studies, and what you could contribute to lessening the difficulties.

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