From now on, all search committee members reviewing applications for teaching, research, and faculty positions at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University will be required to complete an online diversity training course. Search committees at Virginia Tech typically consist of four to six people who review applications for an open position and narrow the candidate pool. They play a key role in determining which candidates are referred to the department’s faculty and invited for an interview.
Menah Pratt-Clarke, Virginia Tech’s vice president for strategic affairs and vice provost for diversity, explained that “this is about building a community of colleagues that are committed to thinking about, talking about and doing the work of diversity with others. It’s about a first start, sharing tools, ideas and then going back into the departments with others to talk more and develop strategies for change.”
In explaining her reasoning for implementing the new training program. Pratt-Clarke said that “the vision that guides my work at Virginia Tech is one of sustainable transformation. How quickly can we strategically and systematically review, revise, realign our policies, practices, processes, procedures, and ways of conducting business to create institutional transformation around diversity and inclusion.”
Dr. Pratt-Clarke earned a master’s degree in English from the University of Iowa. She holds a second master’s degree in sociology, a Ph.D., and a law degree, all from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.