Thursday, August 11, 2022
The first round FAR forms were due yesterday.
The AALS has continued its tradition of springing surprises on job seekers. The last two years the surprise was, first, abandoning the old FAR form, and then, the next year, reinstating it, with some minor modifications (most notably, eliminating the secondary list of teaching interests).
This year's surprise was inviting applicants to upload a "Diversity Statement," described as follows:
Many law schools now require that candidates for faculty positions submit statements as to how they will teach to a diverse student body and contribute to the diverse academic community. If you wish, and this is not required by AALS, you may include such a statement with your FAR form and it will be available to law schools.
As some public universities are using these statements, they are of dubious legality. In addition, everyone is expecting the Supreme Court to decide next year that "diversity" is no longer a compelling interest when it comes to college admissions, which is likely to raise further legal questions and challenges to the use of diversity statements in faculty hiring.
Be that as it may, I think the most compelling reason not to encourage diversity statements is that they add to the burden on already over-burdened job seekers, and they add very little real information. The proliferation of supplemental statements is a trend that should not be encouraged by the AALS.