What is a Search Advocate?

A Search Advocate is a member of the search committee serving to advise members on diversity, equity, and inclusion issues related to hiring practice.  The Search Advocate works to ensure a search process that promotes positive outcomes and strives to ensure a diverse applicant pool at Willamette.

In their role the Search Advocate will:

  • Monitor and support each stage of the search process to ensure an equitable and open search
  • Facilitate thoughtful discussion among committee members, ensuring each person is heard
  • Assist the committee in self-scrutiny about potential biases
  • Identify and address systemic issues by offering advice on best practices
  • Assist the committee in using process tools


The Search Advocate program was originally developed by Oregon State University and has been enhanced to serve the unique needs of Willamette University. The program has been recently updated and will continue to be developed to help trained advocates be effective in their role.

Search Advocate Training

Initial and ongoing training will be offered to set a foundation of knowledge from which to effectively serve on the committee, and to grow in knowledge over time.  Those new to the program will attend a Search Advocate workshop divided into two half day sessions.  The workshop will focus on answering three essential questions:

  • What is a search advocate?
  • Why does Willamette need search advocates?
  • How does the search advocate perform their role in the search process to produce positive outcomes?

Bi-Monthly meetings will also be held for existing search advocates.  The purpose of these meetings will be to support Search Advocates by sharing resources and best practices, as well as serve as a problem-solving forum for challenges as they arise.  There will also be opportunities to receive additional training during these meetings.  Once completing the initial training, Search Advocates will be invited to attend. 


Search Advocates will have access to a folder of resources to assist in their work.  These resources will be honed and expanded over time, so check in regularly to see what’s new!

Join Us!

Interested in becoming a Search Advocate or requesting that a Search Advocate be assigned to your search committee?  Have questions or need assistance?  Review our Search Advocate Request.  We look forward to hearing from you!

Willamette University

Human Resources

University Services Building
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
503-370-6210 voice
503-370-6570 fax

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