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Academic Search Committees. What We Waste when Faculty Hiring Goes Wrong COST: Advertising Time spent by Search Committee, Staff, Admin Send Search Committee to national Conference for screening interviews Bringing finalists to campus for interviews

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What We Waste when Faculty Hiring Goes Wrong

COST: Advertising

Time spent by Search Committee, Staff, Admin

Send Search Committee to national Conference for screening


Bringing finalists to campus for interviews


TOTAL: First year salary of new faculty in Humanities

responsibilities of search committee chairs
Create a climate of trust

Call the meetings

Organize the agendas

Ensure process notes are shared promptly

Facilitate all meetings, addressing all agenda items

Move the process forward

Communicate with the person who charged the search committee

Ensure all documentation is completed accurately, delivered to appropriate source

Delegate key responsibilities such as administrative support, schedules, candidate visits

Act as spokesperson for committee

Address/confront conflicts of interest & other issues

Present final candidates to the person who charged the committee

Encourage a process for welcoming new hire

Responsibilities of Search Committee Chairs
responsibilities of search committee members
Attend all meetings

Complete all assignments on time

Contribute personal and professional perspective

Sustain the vision for the position-keeping best interests of department and institution in mind

Communicate opinions honestly

Speak candidly with candidates while maintaining positive attitude about the position, the department & the institution

Work toward consensus

Respect confidentiality – both for candidate and for department

Abide by the agreements made by the full committee

Responsibilities of Search Committee Members
points for chairs to exert leadership
Struggle over the definition of the faculty position

Choice by Committee = Decision by Committee

Role of internal dissent

“Threat” posed by young, ambitious talent

Mid-career faculty on a “shopping expedition”

Points for Chairs to Exert Leadership
questions to ask the stakeholders
How does the position support the department/its mission?

What expectations do you have for the person in this position?

What should the committee be looking for in a candidate?

What opportunities related to this position have been overlooked in the past as possible growth areas?

What characteristics are you looking for in a candidate who would be an excellent fit?

What emerging trends and challenges in the field do you see will impact this position?

Questions to Ask the Stakeholders
elements of an advertisement
Position title

Institution and location

Reporting structure

Primary accountabilities and responsibilities

Key qualifications

Distinctive qualities desired

Application process

Review process

Salary range or compensation statement

Statements on commitment to diversity and EEO/AA compliance

Elements of an Advertisement
potential pitfalls
We’ll know good applicants when we see them.

Indistinct criteria or lack of consensus

Confusing the function of the office & the qualifications of the position

Glossing over requirements/expectations

Too restrictive or unrealistic requirements

Organizational, leadership, or perceptual biases surface

Potential Pitfalls
myths about recruiting a diverse pool
Many institutions are competing for few candidates

Scholars of color are in high demand

Scholars of color leave academia for lucrative private/government positions

They are all recruited by high powered institutions

The few who are available are in high demand

Candidates from prestigious schools are only interested in prestigious jobs

Diversification means heterosexual white males have no chance

Myths about Recruiting a Diverse Pool
myth 1 few are available proportion of doctorates awarded to u s minority group members
Both the number and proportion of doctorates earned by minority U.S. citizens rose between 1984 and 2004.

American Indian

1984 0.3%

2004 0.5%


1984 2.2%

2004 5.6%


1984 4.1%

2004 7.2%


1984 2.3%

2004 4.6%

NOTE: Proportions are based on U.S.-citizen recipients only.

SOURCE: Survey of Earned Doctorates, Summary Report for 2004,

National Opinion Research Center


Myth 2: TWU is doing ok….

TWU Minority Student Enrollment – 38%

strategies to increase diversity
Look for teaching experience with diverse populations

Share information about the opening with senior leaders and incumbents from similar institutions – use targeted networking

Request personal referrals of outstanding candidates (let them know their referrals will get immediate attention)

Send announcements and supporting documents to professional associations, honor societies, journal editors, conference leaders

Post on on-line

Contact institutions who have recently searched for/hired for a similar position – their sources of candidates? Finalists?

Contact women's colleges and historically Black/Hispanic colleges and universities for alumni information/leads

Recruit at conferences that target minority professionals

Personally contact candidates and maintain contact

Have a diverse search committee

Be mindful of dual-career issues

Strategies to Increase Diversity
hiring gen x faculty
Born between 1965 and 1980


Believe parents suffered VDD – vacation deficit disorder

“Give me balance now, not when I’m 65.”

“If they can’t understand that I want a kick-ass career and a kick-ass life, then I don’t want to work here.”

“Why does it matter when I come and go, as long as I get the work done?”

Willing to work hard but wants to decide when, where, and how.

Source: This slide and the next –

Lancaster & Stillman (2002). When Generations Collide.

NY: HarperCollins Publishing Inc.

Hiring Gen-X Faculty
The GenX Academe ClashFrom: Trower, Cathy A.How to Recruit a Gen-X Faculty Member,Inside Higher Ed Audio Conference, July 17, 2007
Whether the position is tenure-track or non-tenure-track

Contact length

Mix of work between teaching and research


Prospects of tenure or contract renewal

Department quality/ranking

Institutional prestige

Geographic location of the institution

Key Factors in Job ChoiceFrom: Trower, Cathy A.How to Recruit a Gen-X Faculty Member,Inside Higher Ed Audio Conference, July 17, 2007
Trower’s research shows that WHAT and WHERE matter more than prestige and salary.

For attractively situated institutions, no sweat...

For less so, market the location (just like we do with students!)

Offer an appealing balance of work

From: Trower, Cathy A.How to Recruit a Gen-X Faculty Member,Inside Higher Ed Audio Conference, July 17, 2007

Search Committee Responsibilities Post-Search

Continue contact

Sequence of mailings/calls/emails

Assistance in Resettlement

Assistance in Transition to TWU (e.g., paperwork, benefit questions)

Introductions to the University/College/Department

“Socialization” into your departmental culture


key factors in new faculty retention
Clarity surrounding…

Tenure process, criteria, standards, body of evidence

Expectations for scholarship, teaching, advising, colleagueship, campus citizenship

Reasonable and consistent performance expectations

A climate, culture supporting great work – collegiality

Quality of life on the job and off

Workload equity

Professional development and support

Key Factors in New Faculty Retention
quality of life factors for new faculty

Desirable location


Balance: personal and professional

With whom?

Colleagueship, harmonious work life, minimal political squabbles, minimal administrivia

Quality of Life Factors for New Faculty