Inclusion Advocates Program

Two people walking by Zumberge Pond on GVSU Allendale Campus

What Are Inclusion Advocates?

The Inclusion Advocate (“IA”) is a specialized role to search committees for faculty, AP Staff, and PSS/MGS/DPS employment searches. The IA is intended to facilitate dialogue around inclusive talent acquisition and ensure that faculty and AP staff searches are conducted in an equitable manner.

Equity and inclusion are essential to Grand Valley State University's mission to educate students to shape their lives, their professions, and their societies. We do this by creating an inclusive environment where differences are valued, allowing individuals to reach their highest plateaus of professional success. In this environment, social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion are institutional values that are woven into the fabric of the University. 

Why do we have inclusion advocates?

Seismic shifts in the global landscape are transforming the way we work, interact, and learn. Economic forces, changing talent needs, evolving demographic trends, increased competition, and demand for services are radically impacting the way organizations behave in virtually every industry all over the world.

  • By 2020, 5 generations will be working side-by-side in organizations
  • By 2025, Millennials and Generation X will comprise approximately 64% of the U.S. workforce
  • By 2025, it is projected that less than 60% is likely to self-identify as "white non-Hispanic"

As the workforce continues to evolve as it reflects global integration, so too must our approach to talent acquisition. In creating an inclusively diverse faculty and staff community, we can ensure our students receive a world-class education that will prepare them to be global citizens.


Virtual Inclusion Advocate Annual Convening

Thank you for joining us in October 2022 for our last meeting!

Please check back here in fall 2023 for our next session.

Learn more about the past session here

Please Note:

The Division of Inclusion and Equity has revised the requirements and responsibilities of Inclusion Advocates and search committees regarding the use of Inclusion Advocates. Updated information has been posted (as of November 1, 2016). Please contact [email protected] if you have questions.

Inclusion Advocates Program Criteria

View Flowchart Here

Criteria for participation and requirements for orientation and on-going learning have been developed for faculty and staff. At a minimum, Inclusion Advocates must:

  1. Attain tenure (faculty) or complete probationary status and 12 months of service (staff).
  2. Apply to be an Inclusion Advocate here. Once the Inclusion Advocate Application is submitted and approved, you will be notified via email.
  3. Complete the Inclusion & Equity: Inclusion Advocates module via Blackboard, if you have not already.
      1. Inform the Affirmative Action Office via email once you have completed the module:  [email protected]
  4. Each year, you will be required to attend the synchronous Inclusion Advocate Annual Convening on inclusive recruitment to stay eligible as an Inclusion Advocate and to receive updates on GVSU’s requirements for Affirmative Action/EEO.
  5. After steps 1-4 have been completed, you are officially an Inclusion Advocate! You will be given a certificate via intercampus mail, and added to the IA Directory.

To maintain membership, you also must: 

  1. Participate in the evaluation of the program.
  2. Annually attend the update meeting & training.

An Inclusion Advocate serves in a formal role on search committees, with specific responsibilities to help ensure inclusive hiring practices. At a minimum and in consultation with the search committee chair, Human Resources, and the Affirmative Action/EEO Office as appropriate, an Inclusion Advocate will:

  1. Serve on search committees for all positions.
  2. In most cases, be selected from outside the hiring department. A closely related department, even if within the same school or division, is encouraged. See for a list of Inclusion Advocates.
  3. Review and approve recruitment plans and job advertisements prior to the beginning of a search.
  4. Review availability and application pool data and, if necessary, suggest additional recruitment options and/or changes to the recruitment plan and/or search timeline.
  5. Provide a statement reviewing the search process, and assuring full inclusive practices were implemented during the search, and/or acknowledging concerns related to the search prior to the final hire is approved.

Appointing Officers may request exemptions from Inclusion Advocate and/or search committee responsibilities and employees may request exceptions to the criteria and requirements for becoming an Inclusion Advocate by contacting the Division of Inclusion and Equity. See

  • Departments/Units which do not demonstrate underutilization or do not have active Affirmative Action Plan goals related to placement and promotions, may request exemptions to requirements and use an alternative/expedited process. Written justification for the exemption and requested exemption(s) must be submitted to the Division of Inclusion and Equity.
  • Individuals with demonstrated expertise, education, and/or experience in inclusive hiring practices, Affirmative Action, social justice education, employment law, human resources, and other fields may request exceptions to all or individual criteria. A resume/CV, other relevant materials, written justification for the exception, and requested exception(s) must be submitted to the Division of Inclusion and Equity.
  • Appeals to requests that are denied may be submitted to the Assistant Vice President for Equity, Planning and Compliance then the Vice President of Inclusion and Equity, or designee. See
  • Requests for exemptions or exceptions made by hiring managers or employees in the Division of Inclusion and Equity will be approved by the Associate Vice President for Human Resources, or designee.

Inclusion Advocates play an important role in ensuring equitable and inclusive recruitment and hiring practices at GVSU. Work as an Inclusion Advocate should be recognized as vital service to the University in both personnel committees and staff evaluations. The Division of Inclusion and Equity will formally recognize the efforts and service of those who participate in the program.

The Division of Inclusion and Equity continues to implement mechanisms to assess the impact and effectiveness of the Inclusion Advocate Program. Inclusion Advocates, hiring committee chairs, and hiring managers/Appointing Officers are asked to be involved in the evaluation process. Feedback, suggestions and lessons-learned will be documented via web-based survey instruments, debriefing interviews and focus groups. Following the closing of each search, the Inclusion Advocate will receive an email with link to the evaluation form.  The input obtained will serve as an important source of information needed to make continuous improvements to the Inclusion Advocate Program. On-going feedback is always welcomed by contacting [email protected] or at the form below.

Visit the Inclusion Advocates Directory to browse all current Advocates and to search for Advocates by department or employee type.

As adopted by the Board of Trustees, Grand Valley State University is committed to inclusion and equity, and strives to establish a climate that welcomes and affirms the contributions of all students and employees. The University is guided by values for inclusiveness and community which are integral to our mission to educate students to shape their lives, their professions, and their societies, and to enrich the community through excellent teaching, active scholarship, and public service. The University strives to provide all members of its community an inclusive environment and equitable opportunities for success.

The University is also committed to maintaining a climate conducive to an educational, living, and employment environment that is free from unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination, as well as those defined by this policy. All members of the community are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that does not infringe upon the rights of others. It is neither the purpose nor intent of this policy to infringe on the First Amendment or academic freedom as defined by the University.

The University is an affirmative action, equal opportunity institution, consistent with its obligations as a federal contractor. It encourages diversity and provides equal opportunity in education, employment, all of its programs, and the use of its facilities. It is committed to protecting the constitutional and statutory civil rights of persons connected with the University.

Members of the University community, including students, employees, faculty, staff, administrators, Board members, consultants, vendors, others engaged to do business with the University, candidates for employment or admissions, and visitors or guests have the right to be free from acts of harassment and discrimination, including sexual misconduct, as defined by this policy. In accordance with applicable federal and state law and this policy, acts of discrimination or harassment by members of the campus community are prohibited if they discriminate or harass on the basis of age, color, disability, familial status, height, marital status, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex/gender (including gender identity and expression), sexual orientation, veteran or active duty military status or weight. This includes inappropriate limitation of, access to, or participation in educational, employment, athletic, social, cultural, or other university programs and activities. The University will provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities. Limitations are lawful if they are: directly related to a legitimate university purpose, required by law, or lawfully required by a grant or contract between the university and the state or federal government. For the purposes of this policy, sex-/gender-based harassment includes sexual misconduct, sexual assault, interpersonal or relationship violence, and stalking

Page last modified April 29, 2024