William H. McRaven, chancellor of the University of Texas System, recently introduced a “Rooney Rule” for high-level hiring searches throughout the state’s higher education system.
The announcement was made during McRaven’s presentation of his comprehensive vision for the 14-school system to the Board of Regents on Nov. 5.
“When I took this job in January, my early vision for the UT System focused primarily on improving the quality of our institutions,” McRaven said in a statement. “But what I came to realize was that our institutions must focus on the quality of our service to the state of Texas. It is not about us. It is about Texas — about improving the human condition in every town, every city, for every man, woman and child. That’s what great institutions must do for their state.”
Part of that mission, McRaven posited, is driving equal opportunity and fairness in hiring and promotion.
“We are not doing the job we ought to be doing in driving equal opportunity and fairness in our hiring and promotion processes. this is particularly disappointing because education is all about opportunity,” McRaven said, according to a copy of his remarks.
To that end, the system will implement a “Rooney Rule,” similar to that in the National Football League, which requires that at least one minority candidate be interviewed for head-coaching and other senior operation vacancies. Under the University of Texas rule, at least one woman and one minority candidate must be among the finalists in administrative searches for deans and higher posts.
“While this will not guarantee women or minority hires – nor should it if a candidate is not qualified – it will put more women and minorities in a position for the selection committee to recognize the great talents that may have heretofore gone unnoticed,” McRaven said. He added, “Making sure our faculty and staff reflect the changing look of Texas is not just about fairness. It is also about effectiveness. We need faculty, administrators, and campus leaders who understand the people they’re serving, who come from the same kinds of places.”
Additionally, according to a summary of McRaven’s vision, the chancellor will address gender equality by requiring each campus to submit a plan to close the gap in compensation between male and female employees within five years. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, in 2014, there was a 21 percent gender wage gap. That means that for every $1 earned by male full-time workers, their female peers earned only 79 cents.
McRaven concluded: “This is an opportunity to not only do the right thing, but to show the world that Texas is prepared to lead on every issue that matters.”