Diversity Officer

  • Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  • La Jolla, San Diego, CA, USA
Full Time Diversity

Job Description


The role of the Diversity Officer is to advise, recommend and further all available avenues to advance diversity at Salk, working closely with other members of the Office of Equity & Inclusion, the Office of the Chief Science Officer, Salk faculty, Human Resources, Education Outreach, External Relations, Grants Development, the Postdoctoral Office, the Advisory Council on Diversity, and other committees.

With general direction from the VP, Equity & Inclusion, the incumbent will plan, support, and promote objectives to support increased diversity through recruitments, outreach/inreach functions, funding opportunities, learning and ultimately, in collaboration with others, codify the Institute’s strategic plan in this area.

The incumbent will interface directly with campus constituents and stakeholders at all levels and contribute to the overall OEI strategic plan. Successful incumbents will have a passion for STEM education/career advocacy that helps guide and establish approaches to engage and retain underrepresented communities in STEM.


1) Independently and collaboratively devises and recommends diversity strategies – 40%

  • Independently and through collaboration, develops communication, programming and recruitment strategies designed to enhance more diverse applicant pools, incentivize outreach and diversity awareness at Salk in furtherance of campus inclusivity goals. 
  • Advises HR, faculty, and hiring managers about best practices and tools such as diversity slates, hiring panel composition, bias awareness, diversity/inclusion contribution statements for candidates and other resources that have shown to be effective in academia or in other environments and adaptation strategies as these practices evolve.
  • Partners with faculty who are on search committees and the Office of the Chief Science Officer (CSO) staff around faculty/fellow recruitments. Advises search committees on recruitment and outreach strategies, steps to diversity applicant pools, how to protect against bias influencing decision making, and areas where this role could perform outreach to support recruitments. Strengthens job-relevant hiring criteria, to keep them central to hiring discussions and candidate evaluations. Identifies areas where training for faculty may be needed related to diversity in faculty hiring and works with VP, Equity & Inclusion and Director, Learning & Development to determine who can best support these efforts.  Reviews marketing and collateral materials for faculty use at talks and symposia and recommends adjustments where appropriate. Ensures contacts are maintained.
  • In collaboration with other members of the Office of Equity & Inclusion (OEI), works to ensure that training and development align with recruitment, retention, and advancement goals for long-term success in diversity and inclusion outcomes at Salk.
  • With the Office of Equity & Inclusion, the CSO and the Postdoctoral Office, proposes data-driven options around potential return on investment for Salk to attend major conferences and meetings focused on networking and recruitment to attract future faculty and fellows from underrepresented minorities in STEM (e.g., AWIS, SACNAS, ABRCMS) and collaboratively identifies individuals from Salk to attend the meetings/conferences. Through an established platform, maintains a pipeline for future career opportunities at Salk.
  • Using research background, coordinates closely with and provides regular support to the Education Outreach team to facilitate and help further their STEM outreach efforts to middle and high school students on behalf of Salk.  Explores opportunities for additional pipeline development and related funding to further the goals of getting science education to students who may have limited awareness of, or access to, STEM opportunities.
  • Meets regularly with various members of the Human Resources Department to understand and remain well-informed/current about the Institute’s Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) through regular interaction with appropriate HR personnel. Meets regularly with various members of the Human Resources and with hiring managers to encourage and advise on hiring practices that reach diverse applicants.
  • In collaboration with the OEI, Postdoctoral Office (PDO), Salk Cancer Center, Grants Development and External Relations works to promote and obtain funding to support underrepresented minorities in STEM at Salk, through salary or stipend support, and efforts around promoting and celebrating diversity.  Harnesses these relationships to explore and communicate funding opportunities to further diversity initiatives at Salk

2) Committee Liaison – 25%

  •  Provides advice & guidance to the Advisory Council on Diversity and conducts research related to recommendations that originate from this group.  Attends council meetings and ensures an agenda and minutes. Evaluates considerations raised by the Council to the VP, Equity & Inclusion, stakeholders and other functional departments (and vice versa) to plan and move forward initiatives. Solicits advocacy from the Council for Salk DEI initiatives.
  • Works with Seminars Committee on data analysis for the nomination process (e.g., to identify base rates in scientific fields, ensuring lists of speakers in various scientific areas, etc.) are maintained, posted and disseminated and to collect and compile voluntary demographic surveys to speakers to build a database.
  • Advises and supports Graduate Program committee to enhance Salk’s DEI visibility at graduate program events for current and future UCSD graduate students at Salk.  Is active in graduate student recruitment efforts (when prospective students visit San Diego), provides input about where Salk may enhance its commitment to diversity at the annual graduate student boot camp, works with Salk affinity groups to ensure they have a presence at recruitment events and conducts outreach efforts to current students. 
  • NASEM Action Collaborative on the Prevention of Sexual Harassment Working Group – Works with the VP, Equity & Inclusion and a compact internal working group to move forward promising practices from the Action Collaborative at Salk.

3) Undergraduate Summer Program(s) Coordination – 20%

  •  In concert with others in the OEI and faculty, facilitates and nurtures partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and local institutions in San Diego to implement and expand summer mentored research opportunities at Salk for undergraduate students.
  • Ensures that logistics around housing, transportation, expenses and orientation prior to arrival at Salk are well communicated to selected students.  Ensures a smooth transition to the Equity & Inclusion Manager upon arrival at Salk to execute programming and other inclusion efforts to ensure a welcoming environment at Salk and resources and connections for success.  Ensures periodic contact with program alumni to evaluate the impact of their Salk experience and keep them in the pipeline.

4)  Research, data analysis, OEI event support and other duties as assigned – 15%

  • Works with VP, Equity & Inclusion and Manager, Equity & Inclusion on the OEI strategic plan that reflects stakeholder goals and addresses how to overcome barriers. With others in OEI and across Salk, continually assess diversity efforts to ensure visibility and impact.  Uses outcomes to recommend changes.
  • Works collaboratively with the Manager, Equity & Inclusion  and Director, Learning & Development to research, plan and execute educational and learning initiatives that promote  the value diversity and inclusion and align with Salk’s goals.


  • The combination of a relevant academic and experiential background that demonstrates knowledge of DEI best practices and their implementation, and a focus and dedication to the advancement of diversity strategies and initiatives, is required.
  • An MS or PhD in life sciences or other relevant discipline and time spent in an academic research environment through work experience (e.g., research analyst, program manager, postdoctoral affairs, graduate, academic or student affairs, etc.) and/or through academic training (graduate or postdoctoral) with a dedicated focus on advancing diversity, is preferred.



  •  A minimum of 5 years or increasing responsibility advancing diversity, equity and inclusion role either as a Diversity Officer or other senior individual contributor that has placed a heavy emphasis on communication to audiences from diverse backgrounds and individual identities, training, recruitment strategy, programming, research, analysis and evaluation of data and best practices that culminated in actionable change related to diversity advancement.
  • Extensive experience persuasively communicating with diverse audiences, stakeholders at all organizational levels and with committees to drive change.
  • Experience collaborating with committees and groups using consensus-building and an orientation toward action as guiding principles.
  • Experience with outreach to various internal and external constituents to develop and sustain positive purpose-driven partnerships.
  • Experience conducting research, analysis, evaluation and implementation of diversity strategy in the context of best practices and applicable state and federal laws.


  • Prior experience in academia or research as a trainee (graduate student and/or postdoctoral fellow) and as a professional is strongly preferred.  Experience in academic and/or graduate affairs would be an asset in this role.
  • Experience in an academic, nonprofit or professional services environment, particularly where governance is shared.
  • Experience working in or with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and with professional organizations dedicated to the advancement of diversity in academia.
  • Professional, life or volunteer experience with individuals from a broad array of identities and backgrounds; with civil rights, disability rights, social justice; and/or outreach to underserved and/or underrepresented populations.

  • Experience with grant writing and other funding vehicles.


  • Knowledge of academia and of best practices around diversity, equity, and inclusion broadly and within academia.
  • Strong communicator.  Advanced skill in inclusive employee communication techniques and the ability to communicate clearly and effectively to the intended audience both orally and in writing. Strength in influencing others and in working with stakeholders at all levels.
  • Excellent judgment that is regularly demonstrated particularly related to communication, audience and prioritization.
  • Strong research and data analysis skills. Experience creating and/or using relational databases.
  • Familiarity with relevant state and federal laws related to this role including but not limited to FEHA, Unruh, Titles VI, VII, IX, affirmative action plans and equal employment opportunity.
  • Ability to independently formulate long-range objectives and manage varied programs and services. Excellent critical thinking and analytical skills. Strong communication and writing skills.
  • Skilled in research methods and the synthesis of information. Ability to quickly read and synthesize voluminous information quickly and comprehensively and determine its applicability/usefulness to the organization.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively interpret, organize, and present information and ideas in written or presentation form and use consultative and facilitation skills to gain consensus.


  • Must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment.
  • Must be willing to work an adjusted schedule to support operational and program needs.
  • Successful completion of the Institute’s background investigation.


This position will require constant adjusting focus, grasping, hearing, keying, seeing, sitting, talking, analyzing, calculating, communicating, reading, reasoning, writing and working inside. 

Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities

The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor’s legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR 60-1.35(c)

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