CCFA Faculty/Staff Search Recommendations
Composition of Committee
- When forming the committee, it is important to include members with different expertise and perspectives who are committed to diversity.
- Search committees should include women and underrepresented minorities when possible while being sensitive to the significant service tasks often asked of these individuals.
- It can be helpful to appoint some search committee members outside of the department and/or university in order to maintain a more objective perspective of the candidates.
- Each committee member must commit to all aspects of the search process as a high priority for the unit and college. If a potential committee member has numerous off-campus commitments that would prohibit the member from attending meetings and candidate interviews, someone else should be selected.
- Departments may consider having a student representative on the search committee.
- Search committees for faculty/staff searches will be assigned by the chair/director. Search committees for chair/director searches will be assigned by the dean.
Initial Search Committee Discussions
- Verify that all committee members understand the university requirements for conducting an equitable search. If not, the Office for Institutional Equity should be consulted for training.
- Understand that diversity and excellence are not mutually exclusive and can and should be pursued simultaneously.
- Identify selection criteria and compose the position description PRIOR to beginning the search. Department chair will have oversight in drafting the position description in consultation with the search chair and key faculty members followed by consultation with the dean.
- Discuss plans for recruiting a diverse candidate pool.
- Clearly convey that all conversations concerning the search MUST remain confidential.
Defining the Position
- Define the position with the aim of attracting a candidate who will meet the specific needs/requirements of the department while not needlessly limiting the applicant pool.
- Establish selection criteria and committee procedures for applicant screening, interviewing, and record keeping before advertising the position.
- Be sure ALL committee members understand and agree to the hiring criteria.
- Carefully consider what skills/degrees/expertise should be listed in the advertisement as "required" and/or "desired".
- Offer courses the position may teach instead of will teach in order to broaden the pool of applicants.
- Include positive aspects of the work climate/environment at the University of Memphis.
- Include positive aspects of the city of Memphis and surrounding communities.
- Consider advertising the position in websites, listservs, and publications that specifically target/serve diverse groups.
- Seek nominations from colleagues at other institutions, making sure to request inclusion of minorities and women.
Creating the Short List
- All search committee members must review ALL applicants.
- Create a rubric based on position criteria.
- Use rubrics to arrive at a short list.
- Using the previously established criteria, narrow the pool. Consider the weighting of criteria when narrowing the candidate pool.
- Consider creating separate short lists based on each criterion. The short list could then come from top candidates from each list.
- The search committee and the chair/director should review the list to see if it represents a diverse pool. If not, consider the candidates from underrepresented groups near the top or middle of each criterion list. Consider whether evaluation bias could have played a role in the committee's decision.
- Consider/weigh the department's diversity needs when evaluating candidates for interview.
- As the pool is narrowed, the committee may wish to solicit recommendations of candidates not on the candidates' reference lists. All attempts should be made to ensure each candidate is treated equitably and similar questions are asked of each reference check. As a courtesy, the search committee chair should inform the candidates that unlisted references may be consulted at a later stage in the search process.
- If the committee agreed in the planning stage to conduct video-conference interviews, attempt to reproduce the same environment and conditions for each candidate. An agreed upon list of questions should be used for all interviews in order to allow each candidate an opportunity to respond to the same questions.
- Be sure all details and expectations concerning the on-campus interviews are clearly communicated with each candidate well before the visit to allow adequate preparation.
- Create and disseminate candidates' schedules to the dean, department faculty/staff, and other relevant parties at least one week prior to candidates' on-campus interviews.
- In addition to scheduling an interview with the committee, chair, and dean, be sure tours of the campus AND city of Memphis are included.
- All candidates should perform the same tasks (e.g., teaching demonstration, research presentation, conducting an ensemble).
- Provide both formal AND informal opportunities for candidates to meet with students, staff, and faculty.
- Consider relevant community partners the candidate should meet during the on-campus interview.
- Be sure to gather equivalent information from ALL candidates in order to objectively measure their performance with the previously established criteria.
- Using a rubric, gather feedback on the candidate's performance from students and faculty, request specific feedback rather than generic feedback (i.e., please comment on the candidate's scholarship as reflected in the research presentation).
- See this link for Sample Feedback Form.
- The committee should meet in person to discuss each candidate's interview performance.
- As a committee, discuss each candidate's interview performance using the established criteria for the position.
- Review feedback from faculty, staff, and students.
- As a committee, list each candidate's strengths and weaknesses for each criterion.
- If your chair requests one recommendation, provide clear rationale for the selection and consider indicating how the committee voted (especially in cases where the committee is split).
- If your department allows a full faculty vote, be sure all discussions of the candidate's interview performance are related to the established criteria for the position and only those who actually observed the candidates are involved in the discussion.
- University of Michigan Handbook for Searches offers good advice on negotiating the offer (especially as it relates to women).
- If the department hires a woman and/or minority candidate, consider the factors that may have contributed to the hire and record those practices for future reference.
- If the pool was not as diverse or large as anticipated, consider what may have contributed to that and record those reflections for future reference.
- If a woman and/or minority candidate was offered the position but did not accept, consider what may have contributed to that decision. Could the department have presented itself more attractive or was the candidate concerned about the safety of the city? Gather those analyses and share with relevant department administration.