Hiring and retaining exceptional academic colleagues is one of the most important things we do as faculty members. We strive to attract world-class artists, designers, scholars, and students to an environment that is stimulating, welcoming, and diverse. With that in mind, our goal of recruiting talented colleagues should not be limited to the formal search process but at every opportunity we have to connect with colleagues: at conferences; through national associations; through ongoing benchmarking; through inviting rising or established scholars, including graduate students, to present lectures, masterclasses, and other-related activities on campus. It will only be through intentional and sustained efforts that we will be able to recruit and retain outstanding faculty with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Identifying candidates of various identities must always be a priority as we seek to diversify our faculty in support of the University’s efforts to address matters of bias and create a more diverse and inclusive campus.
A copy of these procedural guidelines should be provided to the search chair, search committee members, and the staff assistant providing administrative support to the search chair.
The search process can begin after the dean has informed the department chair or school director that their searches have been approved by the Office of the Provost and the University Office of Budget and Planning. The next step in the process involves the chair or school director establishing a search committee.
It is crucial that search committees be intentionally composed of representatives of various identities (including but not limited to race, gender, sexual orientation, research and creative activity). It may also be strategic to include faculty and staff external to your academic unit and/or the college, such as representatives from the VPA Councils and alumni. The goal is to ensure that search committees have diverse representation, beyond token or minimal requirements.
Although 2.1 of the University Faculty Manual states “teaching professors of any rank may not vote or otherwise supervise the hiring, evaluation, and tenure and promotion of tenure-track faculty,” the Office of the Provost confirmed in spring 2021 that NTT faculty can chair search committees for TT faculty positions.
Since search committees must be involved with the crafting of the Faculty Search Proposal Form, committees must be approved by the dean and the office of the provost prior to submitting the Faculty Search Proposal Form, attached at the end of this document to the dean with a copy to VPA’s Office of Academic Affairs (Betsy Henderson, firstname.lastname@example.org.)
First Meeting of the Search Committee
Every member of the search committee must attend the first meeting to receive the dean, director, chair charge. The Office of the Provost requires that Marie Garland, Assistant Provost for Faculty Affairs, also attend this meeting to provide an overview on inclusive hiring.
The position description and employment advertisement should be constructed with attention to opportunities to attract a diverse applicant pool. The process of writing the advertisement is important for many reasons, but perhaps most significant is that it will force you to articulate exactly the characteristics of the person you hope to recruit. All hiring should support the strategic plan and the values and priorities of your academic unit. A narrative stressing diversity and inclusion in the development of the ad provides welcomes applications from diverse candidates and reinforces your commitment to an inclusive culture. As such, all announcements should include the following as requirements: “Evidence of a commitment to working collegially is required. Evidence of a commitment to working with individuals from diverse backgrounds is required.”
With an inclusive narrative, your advertisement may encourage a wide range of candidates to apply, especially those from underrepresented groups. If your advertisement is too prescriptive, you may have inadvertently circumvented the basic principles of affirmative action. Every time you state something specific, you eliminate other options. For example:
- “Minimum five years university/college teaching experience” may eliminate those with extensive professional and/or secondary teaching experience who could be successful at Syracuse University;
- “Terminal degree in the field required” may eliminate those with vast experience but the wrong degree, for example “MFA in fashion or costume design required” would rule out someone with a Ph.D. in apparel design.
- As of January 2021, the Provost has required that all applicants submit a Diversity and Inclusion Statement.
Concerning application deadlines, our standard practice is to allow for maximum flexibility in most searches, with language such as “applications will be accepted until position is filled; however, candidates who apply by (date) are guaranteed priority consideration.” This verbiage sends a strong message that the process is moving forward while encouraging potential applicants to expedite the application process. At the same time, it allows us to consider particularly strong applicants no matter when their materials arrive.*1
All position announcements are forwarded to the dean for final approval.
VPA’s Office of Academic Affairs (Betsy Henderson, email@example.com) will work with HR and the Graystone Group, the firm retained by the University, to place ads and secure institutional pricing. In most cases, the Office of the Provost will mandate ad placements in publications targeting underrepresented minorities.
After consulting with the chair or director, Chris Eiffe will approve the final advertising budget.
*1 From Faculty Affairs and Personnel Matters by Dan Carter in “Cultivating Leadership: A Primer for Academic Theatre Programs”
In January 2021, the Provost issued a memorandum stating -- hiring individuals who earned their terminal degree(s) at Syracuse University is generally discouraged. Prior approval from the Provost is required for interviewing these individuals and will be approved only in the following instances:
- Candidates with exceptional promise and instances where such a hire would advance the University’s strategic priorities, such as hiring from pipeline-building post-doctoral and faculty fellowship programs.
- Those disciplines with unique recruiting challenges or opportunities.
- Where an outstanding candidate has attained significant experience and achievements elsewhere since earning the Syracuse University terminal degree.
All applicants will be initially screened by the search committee to determine which individuals meet the qualifications of the position. Each committee member will review the completed applications and materials according to the criteria for assessment as developed by the search committee. Committee members will rate each finalist and complete a rating sheet with comments. (A sample rating sheet template is attached at the end of this document.)
Phone or virtual interviews are normally conducted with a short list of candidates (at least six), including internal candidates. Interview questions should be the same for each candidate. In most cases, two external finalists, at least one from an underrepresented minority are invited to campus. Given that searches are unpredictable, there may be circumstances whereby the dean will approve additional on-campus interviews. The dean must approve all candidates for campus interviews prior to invitations being extended.
Applicants must submit the names and contact information for a minimum of four (4) references. Preliminary reference checks should be conducted by the search committee prior to campus visits. A set of questions for reference checks will be prepared by the search committee so that similar questions are asked of each reference, though often there are particular areas for discussion that surface during phone call interviews with references. The search committee chair may enlist the assistance of search committee members in conducting reference checks.
n the event that references not listed by the candidate are sought, you must first receive written authorization from the candidate before proceeding to check additional references. The following statement from the candidate via email satisfies such authorization: “I hereby give express permission to Syracuse University to contact the references I have provided and anyone else familiar with my job performance at any of the institutions listed in my work history.”
Responses from references should be well documented as they will be included in the final report to the chair or director and the dean.
Per the Office of the Provost and the Director of Emergency Management and Business Continuity, Department of Public Safety, faculty/staff finalists will not be permitted to interview on campus during Spring 2021.
Campus and/or virtual itineraries must be approved by the chair or director in advance of being sent to the candidates. In preparing the itinerary, please note the following:
- Given our climate in the winter, you are advised to set up alternative dates for on-campus visits;
- When arranging interview visits, explore the candidates’ need for reasonable accommodations for the disabilities. You should ask each candidate if they need any special accommodations during their interview/visit;
- Engaging a wide variety of faculty, including potential colleagues across campus, may help you recruit your candidate of choice; you are strongly advised to pay close attention to racial/gender diversity in as many settings as possible;
- Candidates generally appreciate a member of the search committee picking them up and dropping them off at the airport;
- A welcome package with literature about the metro area in addition to the University may show the candidate that we are excited about the possibility of working with them and that Syracuse is an exciting place to call home; some units distribute swag to their visitors;
- Consider the candidates dietary needs when choosing restaurants; you are strongly encouraged to review VPA’s Travel, Meals, and Entertainment policy, especially as it relates to meals: answers.syr.edu/display/vpa01/Travel%2C+Meals+and+Entertainment+Policy
When possible, you are encouraged to use the Sheraton for lodging;
All constituents involved in the search process should have the opportunity to submit written feedback; (A sample rating sheet template is attached at the end of this document.)
All feedback, written and verbal, received must remain completely confidential;
Candidates must meet with the dean during the on-campus interview, if possible, at the end of their visit
Post-campus interview and the offer
The chair of the search committee will submit a report, with a hiring recommendation to the chair or director. This report must include the names and titles of each reference and their documented responses to the questions posed by a member of the search committee. The chair or director will make an independent assessment of the eligibility, strengths and weaknesses of candidates. Chairs and directors may opt to conduct additional reference checks prior to forwarding the final report to the dean. Upon receiving the search committee’s report, the dean will meet with the chair or director to review the recommendations. Lack of adequate representation of diversity may require extending or ending the search if efforts to seek additional qualified candidates form a wider pool is not possible. The dean will make the final hiring decision.
After consulting with the Office of the Provost, the dean will negotiate the terms of the offer: salary, relocation expenses, and other as needed.
Once the dean receives a signed letter of offer, all applicants (not just the finalists) should be notified in writing by the chair or director, to thank them for their participation and confirming that the search is closed.
Transition to Syracuse
- Candidates who have signed and returned their contracts, and plan to visit Syracuse to arrange housing or attend unit retreats can be reimbursed for specific expenses. The following guidelines should prove helpful as there are tax implications for lodging and travel reimbursement that candidates must be made aware of prior to traveling to Syracuse.
- All moving expenses paid or reimbursed will be taxable to the employee and subject to tax withholding. All moving related reimbursements and/or direct payments will be deducted from the negotiated relocation amount outlined in letters of offer.
- Direct payments to vendors (such as moving companies) will be included as non-cash taxable income in the employee’s pay. Taxes will be withheld accordingly and reported on the employee’s Form W-2.
- Authorized reimbursements (such as travel, lodging, storage, packing supplies) are paid to an employee for moving expenses paid from the employee’s personal funds. Note: the IRS prohibits meal reimbursement during such trips.
- A request for reimbursement should be submitted to the VPA Office of Budget and Operations. Upon receipt of a properly documented and substantiated request for reimbursement of moving expenses the reimbursement will be processed and paid with the employee’s next regular pay. Please note for those faculty that submit their receipts during the summer months, the next regular pay is generally 8/31 for academic year appointments. Taxes will be withheld accordingly and reported on the employee’s Form W-2.