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The Art of Search Committees: Increasing the Quality and Diversity of Kennesaw State University Faculty. Presented by: Dr. Jennifer Wade-Berg, Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Lana Wachniak, Faculty Executive Asst. to Provost, Interim Dr. Val Whittlesey, Associate Vice President, Academic Affairs.

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The Art of Search Committees:Increasing the Quality and Diversity of Kennesaw State University Faculty

Presented by:

Dr. Jennifer Wade-Berg, Chief Diversity Officer

Dr. Lana Wachniak, Faculty Executive Asst. to Provost, Interim

Dr. Val Whittlesey, Associate Vice President, Academic Affairs

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Workshop Agenda

  • The Art of Successful Searches: Understanding the Process

  • Search Committee Duties and “The Charge”

  • Recruitment & Outreach Activities

  • The Selection Process

  • Concerns of Faculty and Academic Administrators from Underrepresented Groups

  • Completing the Search Process

  • Resources

  • Q &A

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The Art of Successful Searches:Understanding the Process

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Successful Searches

  • Searches are an Art– Not a Science.

  • Use Best Practices &

  • Follow Human Resources and Equal Employment Opportunity laws and policies.

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Successful Searches (Cont.)

  • Begin with search committees who are trained, dedicated, and experiencedindividuals.

  • Build highly qualified, diverseapplicant pools that potentially lead to outstanding hires, which in turn, arenatural recruitment vehiclesfor the next searches.

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Successful Search Committees

  • Transform the search process.

  • Commit to diversity through action.

  • Cast a wide net.

  • Build a diverse applicant pool.

  • Avoid exclusionary thinking in recruitment, selection, and hiring.

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Search Committee Composition

  • Size varies depending on the nature of the search & size of the department (generally 5-7 members).

  • Include underrepresented persons (may be outside of department) (Contact Chief Diversity Officer for assistance).

  • Include diverse people with fresh ideas and diverse viewpoints.

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Duties of Committee Members

  • Active recruiter of a diverse applicant pool.

  • Evaluate applicants consistently and fairly.

  • Attend meetings.

  • Complete assignments promptly.

  • Contribute professional expertise.

  • Sustain the vision for the position.

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Duties of Committee Members (Continued)

  • Communicate your thoughts honestly to other committee members.

  • Respect confidentiality of committee members, applicants, and the department.

  • Abide by agreements made by full committee.

  • Ensure fair and equitable treatment of all applicants.

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Duties of the Committee Chair

  • Call and facilitate all meetings.

  • Organize all agendas.

  • Create a climate of trust, respect, and consensus building.

  • Ensure that the process notes are shared promptly.

  • Ensure that the committee follows the hiring authority’s timeframe.

  • Communicate with the hiring authority.

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  • The hiring authority is NOT a search committee member for tenure-track and academic administration positions.

  • For faculty searches, the dean is the hiring authority (on behalf of the President and of the Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs).

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The Charge” to the Committee

The First Meeting

Use hiring plan to describe:

Position title, position description, essential and preferred criteria, position’s scope and challenges/opportunities, dept. & college goals (incl. diversity goals), search timeframes, preferred # of finalists and form of finalist feedback (e.g., ranked, random), support for search committee (e.g., administrative, travel budget, etc.).

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Sort thru applications.

Passive job postings.

Unoriginal, same ad in traditional posting locations.


Actively, continuously search for applicants.

Actively recruit.

Aggressive, creative, & proactive.

Search Committee MethodsDo You Sort or Search?

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Big Picture Views: Myths

  • We are already “there” in hiring a Diverse Faculty.

    Three out of every five new underrepresented-minority hires went to replace underrepresented-minority faculty members who had left (4 year institutions 2000-2004). 1

  • If the president, dean, provost, chancellor, department chair, human resources officer and trustees publicly declare their support for diverse hiring, then it will be actualized in the search and hiring process.

    Many of those who serve on search committees have never even discussed, let alone agreed upon, the institutional and departmental advantages of a diverse faculty and staff. 2

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  • Women and an ethnic minority are advantaged in hiring3,4

    Minorities and women, even those from highly

    selective institutions, do NOT have an advantage in the

    job market. 1

    “The qualifications of minorities alone are irrelevant in the hiring process, instead personal and political preferences, prejudices, and fears of majority faculty and inaction of administrators play a larger role in the final decisions reached.” 4

    There’s an informal system of preference. 65% who benefited from special hire interventions in this study were Whites4

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  • There’s a bidding war for faculty of color

    Faculty of color reported that this was not their hiring


  • There is a small candidate pool and intense competition between top universities.

    Low demand/high supply argument is deceptive because even if graduation rates are considered low, the number of graduates over time should be enough to alter the low numbers of underrepresented minorities in academia.4

  • Because they are in such high demands women and minority faculty accept only positions that are high paying, prestigious, and in attractive geographic locations4

    All faculty members, including minorities, consider multiple factors

    in their employment decisions.

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  • Smaller institutions may not be able to compete with larger ones in terms of funding, so availability of assistance with moving costs, securing partner employment, and professional travel expenses my be less4

    Lack of funding decreases the university’s ability to compete

    with private sector who can afford to pay higher salaries4

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Big Picture Views: Exclusionary Thinking

Avoid Exclusionary Thinking such as:

  • Scholars from underrepresented groups must have attended the “right” school/training.

  • The person hired has to be a GOOD fit.

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Recruitment Activities

  • Recruitment plan

  • Job Description

  • Job Ad(s) and posting locations

  • Recruitment/Outreach activities

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Recruitment Plan

  • Searching is the first step in the “retention” process.

  • Applicants must be educated about the position- as important as learning about the applicant.

  • Outreach must include outreach efforts to underrepresented groups.

  • Outreach activities should align with Dept. and/or College Recruitment Plan Goals.

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Job Description

  • Well-written and comprehensive

  • Not too broad

  • Include proactive language targeted toward applicants of color, women, people with disabilities, veterans, and other underrepresented groups.

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Job Description Components

  • Position Title

  • Campus and Location Information

  • Position Responsibilities

  • Qualifications of Applicant

  • Salary and Benefits Information

  • Application Information

  • Contact Person for Search

  • KSU Affirmative Action/EEO Policy Statement

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Job Description

Consider adding the following to job descriptions:

  • Campus commitment to building a culturally diverse educational environment.

  • How multicultural issues have been incorporated into courses/clinical work and practicums/internships.

  • Opportunity to join a community of faculty who engage in scholarship and research on diverse populations.

  • Demographics of the campus as they relate to underrepresented groups.

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Exclusive Language

Ph.D. is required

Background in English required

Distinguished or nationally recognized body of research and scholarship

Inclusive Language

Terminal degree is required (Ph.D. in some disciplines)

Background in English or related fields required

Solid record of scholarship and research

Exclusionary Thinking

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A job ad can only be posted after it is approved by the following parties or their designees:

  • Search committee

  • Department Chair

  • Dean

  • Chief Diversity Officer (or designee)

  • Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs (or designee)

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Job Ad and Postings following parties or their designees:

Academic Affairs Office posts ads in:

  • Academic Affairs webpage (long version)

  • Diverse: Issues in Higher Education (short version)

  • Chronicle of Higher Education (short version)

  • (on-line) (short version)

  • (on-line) (short version)

    Contact the Office of Diversity and Inclusion for additional posting outlets to cast a wider net.

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Recruitment & following parties or their designees:Outreach Activities

  • Telephone calls

  • Personalized letters & emails to potential applicants.

  • Talk face-to-face with people who might nominate candidates.

  • Approach candidates at professional meetings.

  • Consult with diverse faculty members on the KSU campus and in community about outreach activities.

  • USG Applicant Clearinghouse (Office of Diversity and Inclusion) completed applicant clearinghouse forms).

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Recruitment & following parties or their designees:Outreach Activities

  • Recruiting at Conferences and association meetings.

  • Contact traditional professional organizations that have affiliated groups for underrepresented groups.


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The Selection Process following parties or their designees:

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Selection Process following parties or their designees:

  • Evaluation and Scoring Process

    • Development of evaluation/scoring process

    • Evaluate applicants- first cut

  • Interviews

    • Development of format

    • Conduct interviews (e.g., telephone)

  • Conduct reference checks

  • Select finalists

  • Campus visits

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Georgia Open Records Act following parties or their designees:

  • All documents, incl. search process documents, are open to inspection by any citizen of the state.

  • If you receive an “Open Records” request, contact KSU’s Legal Affair office immediately.

  • Personal notes should be removed from the applicant file.

  • Only the master evaluation/group consensus information should be maintained in the applicant’s file.

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Confidentiality following parties or their designees:

  • Confidentiality should be observed from the beginning to the end of the search process.

    • Deliberations and Conversations of the search committee

    • Applicant Names are confidential until the campus visit

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Evaluation/Scoring following parties or their designees:

  • Developed before reviewing applicants’ materials.

  • Based on job description and ads.

  • Written and available for committee members and saved with faculty search materials.

  • Applicants can be: sorted, ranked, or given numerical score.

  • Can include demonstrated success with diverse populations.

  • Can include ways to judge “potential.”

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  • Internal applicants should not participate in the evaluation process of other applicants.

  • Evaluation material from individual committee members are personal notes.

  • E-mail should not be used for discussions and recommendations relating to the evaluation of candidates, similar to tenure and promotion process.

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Interview Format process of other applicants.

  • Questions consistent for all applicants, follow-up questions may vary.

  • Interviews at conferences should not be done.

  • May conduct phone interviews first to determine number of in-person finalists (i.e., number of persons for the campus visit).

  • Develop questions based on the job description.

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Illegal Interview Topics: process of other applicants.

  • Race, Ethnicity and/or Natural Origin

  • Sexual Orientation

  • Age

  • Veteran Status

  • Disability Status (may ask if the applicant can perform the essential functions of the position as listed in the position description)

  • Marital Status

  • Children (Present or Future)

  • Religion

  • Height or Weight (unless the information is demonstrably job-related)

  • Arrest Records

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Examples of Illegal Questions/Statements: process of other applicants.

  • How have you managed such an impressive career as a single mother?

  • That’s admirable that you want to make this career change at your age.

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Reference Checking process of other applicants.

  • Be sure to get the applicant’s permission and let applicant know when you begin contacting references.

  • Ask the applicant before going “off the list.”

  • Options for Reluctant References:

    • Get recent performance evaluations

    • Get written references

    • Ask references for additional reference names.

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Selection of Finalists process of other applicants.

The following people approve the search committee’s finalists before campus visits are scheduled:

  • Department Chair

  • Dean

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Ensuring a process of other applicants.Positive Campus Visit

  • Arrange for applicants to meet with other faculty with similar interests or backgrounds on campus.

  • College prepares “welcome packet” for campus visits.

  • Arrange tour of the KSU campus and surrounding area.

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Campus Visits process of other applicants.

Inappropriate interview venues during campus visits:

  • Sporting events

  • Parties

  • Dinner with spouses

  • Movies

  • Home (unless the search committee has decided on this location for dinner for all candidate’s campus visits).

    Note: Hiring authority will meet with applicant but will not share his/her impressions with the search committee.

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Concerns of Faculty from Underrepresented Groups process of other applicants.

  • Promotion and tenure

  • Having ethnicity (or gender, etc.) given more attention than credentials

  • Being expected to work harder than other groups

  • Being treated as a token

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Ways to Address Concerns from Underrepresented Groups process of other applicants.

  • University recognition of scholarship on diversity; visiting faculty with diversity expertise.

  • Colleges & departments engage in diversity education and training.

  • Achieve critical mass.

  • Connect with other campus resources (Office of Diversity and Inclusion, IGI, Black Faculty Caucus, student organizations, etc.).

  • Connect with community resources.

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Use of Person Outside of KSU on Search Committee process of other applicants.

  • Make it clear to both outside person(s) and applicant whether or not outside person(s) is used in the evaluation process.

  • If outside person is involved in the evaluation process, he/she should be debriefed on the job description and should use the same evaluation criteria/forms as the other search committee members.

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Role of the Office of Diversity process of other applicants.

  • Develop and implement search committee educational workshops.

  • Provide assistance to colleges and departments on the development of recruitment plans.

  • Provide assistance and review the job description prior to advertising/posting.

  • Provide additional support, as necessary for additional advertising.

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Role of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion process of other applicants.

  • Collect and provide AA/EEO Summary data.

  • Make recommendations to Deans, Department Heads, and Search Chairs on applicant pool diversification.

  • Serve as a campus resource during the recruitment, selection, and hiring process .

  • Complete USG applicant clearinghouse form.

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Completing the Search process of other applicants.

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Completing the Search process of other applicants.

  • Search committee should debrief to discuss what worked and what did not.

  • Are there qualified candidates that can apply for other positions?

  • Search Committee Chair should acknowledge participation of committee members.

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Campus Resources process of other applicants.

Dr. Jennifer A. Wade-Berg Dr. Valerie Whittlesey

Chief Diversity Officer Associate VP for Academic Affairs

678-797-2614 770-423-6603

Faculty Search College Resources

Ms. Alicia Stignani Arts- Jane Barnet & Joe Thomas

Director of HR Services Bagwell- Maurice Wilson Coles- Randy Stuart

678-797-2337 Wellstar- Carol Holtz

HSS- Tony Grooms, & Becky Petersen

Science/Mathematics- Marla Bell

University College- Liza Davis

The Guidelines for Filling a Faculty Vacancies document can be found at:

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Comments process of other applicants.Questions & Answers