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 must 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 chairs/directors 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 Faculty Affairs and the University Office of Budget and Planning. The next step in the process involves the chair or school director establishing in consultation with the dean/associate dean a search committee.
The Role of the Search Committee Chair
The role of the chair -- generally a current or former chair/director/associate dean is that of a facilitator/coordinator of the process. The chair facilitates discussions that lead to the draft of the position description, evaluation rubrics, ads, ad placements. The chair of the search committee—is responsible for writing the final search summary report.
The dean will establish a campus itinerary and oversee all travel-and hosting logistics for the campus visit, including facilitating communication with all internal and external constituents. (i.e., Departmental/School faculty/staff/students, Academic Affairs, Advancement, Recruiting, Academic and Career Advising, Communications, Budget and Planning, etc.)
Please note: the dean must approve the final ad copy before it is posted.
- Search committees should be intentionally composed of representatives of various identities (including but not limited to race, gender, sexual orientation, research and creative activity, and faculty rank). A diverse group in the search committee is more likely to generate a strong applicant pool. However, when considering women and underrepresented faculty and graduate students to serve on search committees, consider that they may face a greater number of committee appointments than their colleagues. Try to limit this burden by prioritizing the contributions of women and underrepresented minorities are asked to make and provide additional recognition when necessary. Additionally, pre-tenured faculty, particularly intersectional individuals, should not endure excessive search committee duties.
- The chair of the search committee should be committed to faculty diversity and all committee members should have no conflict of interest; best practices recommend a plan for how to deal with any conflicts of interest that arise during the search process; to this end, department chairs and school directors should not serve on search committees unless approved by the dean.
Search committees must be approved by the dean.
First Meeting of the Search Committee
Every member of the search committee must attend the first meeting to receive the dean, director, chair charge.
During this initial meeting, the dean will elevate the importance of diversity and the need to identify outstanding underrepresented individuals as candidates for the position and to reiterate selection criteria.
The chair of the committee in consultation with the dean/associate dean should create a search plan, including broad outreach. Committee membership should not change during the search; all committee members should be present for all candidate meetings to guarantee consistency.
- 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.
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 administrative experience” may eliminate those with extensive professional and/or secondary teaching experience who could be successful at Syracuse University.
- External chairs/directors must hold the rank of full professor; exceptions may be considered by the provost.
All position announcements are forwarded to the dean for final approval.
VPA’s Office of Academic Affairs (Betsy Henderson, firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
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 (including a Diversity and Inclusion Statement) 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 available from Kati Foley.)
- Discuss prior to interviewing candidates how criteria listed in job ad will be weight and valued.
- Ensure that each candidate is evaluated on all criteria listed in job ad and identified as meaningful in the search. (A sample Candidate Evaluation Form is available from Kati Foley.)
- Be aware of the power dynamics of the group due to professional, mentoring, or personal relationships within the search committee. To ensure that recommendations area a result of fair deliberations and all individuals have an equal opportunity to voice their thoughts, be mindful of how power dynamics may affect the group while assembling the committee.
- 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 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. References will be conducted by the dean/associate dean, and in some cases, the chair of the committee.
In preparing the itinerary, please note the following:
- Campus and/or virtual itineraries must be approved by the dean in advance of being sent to the candidates.
- Given our climate in the winter, you are advised to set up alternative dates for on-campus visits.
- 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.
Post-Campus Interview and the Offer
Upon completion of the campus interview, the search committee will submit unranked candidates to the dean.
The chair of the search committee will submit the hiring summary to the dean. The dean in consultation with the provost or their designee, will make an independent assessment of the eligibility, strengths, and weaknesses of candidates. 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 will be notified in writing by the dean, to thank them for their participation and confirming that the search is closed.