Administrative Guidelines for Academic Department Chairs

Section Five – Hiring

Initiation of a Tenure-Track Search – 5:1

Department chairs submit a Tenure-Track Faculty Position Request Form (available from Shanon Nowell) to the Provost’s Office by March 6, 2017, for any tenure-track search to be conducted in the subsequent academic year. Positions are authorized by the Provost after consultation with the President, Deans, and the Faculty Senate. After receiving authorization, the Department Chair will meet with their Dean in order to discuss the department’s plans for the search process, including the selection of a Liberal Arts Search Representative.

Identifying Members of the Search Committee

In most respects, the department determines which members of the department will participate in the various stages of the search process.

  • Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty Members
    All tenured and tenure-track faculty members should participate in all stages of the search except conference interviews, which are typically conducted by two committee members (preferably a department member and the Liberal Arts Search Representative). Exceptions include faculty members on sabbatical who may choose not to participate and retiring faculty who are typically not included in the search for their replacement. Though the department chair most often chairs the search, any tenured member of the department may serve as the search committee chair.
  • Liberal Arts Search Representative (LASR)
    Propose to your Dean a couple of tenured faculty members from outside your department (ideally also outside your division) who could serve as Liberal Arts Search Representative to your search. The Liberal Arts Search Representative will then be assigned by the Provost’s Office. The Liberal Arts Search Representative is a full voting member of the search committee who must be present at all search committee meetings and must be consulted in the development of the position description.
  • Students
    Students should be present for teaching demonstrations and, ideally, for research presentations. Student feedback ought to be sought out and shared with the search committee. If it is the practice of the department to invite a student to serve as a formal member of the search committee, the confidential nature of search processes must be explained to the student. In addition, departments may invite students to an informal meeting with each candidate, such as lunch on campus or a reception.
  • Faculty with Special Appointments
    If the department wants to include any faculty member with a special appointment (i.e., any full-time appointment other than tenured or tenure-track), the Provost’s Office needs to be notified in advance and a rationale provided.

Preparing For the Search Process – 5:2

The Search Committee

The role of the search committee is to develop the position announcement, actively recruit candidates, and participate in each aspect of the decision-making process that leads to the final recommendation to the Provost’s Office. All members of the search committee need to be present for all committee deliberations.

In mid-size to large departments or in departments that receive large numbers of applications (40+), the department may choose to form a screening subcommittee that conducts some aspects of applicant review prior to consultation with the full search committee (see more information under Section 5:4). The screening subcommittee should be chaired by the full search committee chair and, in the case of tenure-track searches, must include the LASR. The composition of the screening subcommittee should reflect the makeup of the full search committee (i.e., the subcommittee should reflect a balance of junior and senior faculty, gender, disciplinary interests/approaches, and other forms of diversity represented in the full committee). And finally, the full committee must agree to abide by the screening performed by the subcommittee. To that end, it is important to agree upon in advance what tasks have been assigned to the subcommittee. In most cases, the subcommittee is asked to eliminate the first round of candidates (i.e., those who do not meet the minimum requirements for the position) and to recommend to the full committee candidates for telephone, Skype, or conference interviews.


All of the material candidates send is confidential and should not be shared with anyone who does not have a direct role in the search. In addition, all search committee conversations are confidential and should not be shared with anyone who does not have a direct role in the search. If a search committee member is asked about the search process by a candidate, they should refer that person to the search committee chair who can update candidates about the process. All positions are posted on the Gustavus Human Resources website, so direct any inquiry you may receive about the position to that listing or to the search committee chair. The search committee chair should also discuss confidentiality with the departmental administrative assistant and any student worker who may be asked to handle candidate application materials.

The Role of the Liberal Arts Search Representative

The Liberal Arts Search Representative (LASR) is a voting member of the search committee and one who must participate in all committee deliberations and all aspects of the on-campus candidate visits. Liberal Arts Search Representative selections should not be made on the basis of that person’s knowledge of a discipline. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the search committee to answer questions a LASR may have about research and teaching in the discipline. Just as tenure and promotion processes require us to be able to communicate clearly about our field to well-educated, non-experts, the search process is also a time to share our discipline with our colleagues.

Liberal Arts Search Representatives perform three essential functions. The first function of the LASR is to be a constructive voice in the search committee deliberations. A tenure-track search is one of the most important and most challenging types of work in which faculty engage. It can be very helpful to have an outsider’s perspective and to allow that person to encourage open dialogue within the search committee deliberations. Secondly, this person is charged with reminding the search committee that finalists must serve the college as a whole (e.g. ability to contribute to general education as well has departmental offerings). Having such a person on the search committee will also emphasize for candidates our commitment to the liberal arts. Finally, the LASR helps ensure that college guidelines in hiring practices are followed. They will not need any special training as, ideally, they will be faculty members who have been on searches previously.

The Search Process Checklist

The following is a list of the typical tasks of a search process (outlined in further detail in the remainder of this section):

  • Identify search committee, including Liberal Arts Search Representative.
  • A search committee meeting with the Dean to discuss search processes and best practices.
  • Draft the position announcement that appears on the Gustavus website and electronic job search websites.
  • Draft the position announcement that appears in discipline-specific publications and websites.
  • Upon approval, distribute ads as appropriate.
  • Research and targeted recruiting aimed at deepening the pool’s diversity.
  • Acknowledge applications as they are received.
  • Second meeting with the Dean to discuss the file review process.
  • Reviewing files and participating in a discussion that results in the first set of candidates being eliminated from consideration due to not meeting the minimum required criteria.
  • Provide candidate disposition information to the Dean
  • Notification of candidates no longer under consideration due to not meeting the minimum required criteria.
  • Reviewing files (and any subsequent material requested from candidates) and participating in the discussion that leads to the identification of candidates for telephone, Skype, or conference interviews.
  • Conducting telephone, Skype, or conference interviews.
  • Reporting on telephone or conference interviews to the larger search committee.
  • Participating in the discussion that leads to the identification of the top five candidates. These are the candidates whose files are sent forward to the Provost’s Office.
  • Provide rationale to the Dean with the names of finalists.
  • Notification of candidates not invited for campus visits (the search chair calls to confirm continued interest in the search and to extend an invitation to interview on campus).
  • Top 2 candidates are provided with recruitment packet (sent from the Provost’s Office).
  • Final meeting with the Dean to discuss the on-campus visit.
  • Making arrangements for the campus visit, including travel and the schedule for the visit.
  • Participating in the campus interviews.
  • Conducting telephone conversations with references of the campus interview candidates.*
  • Participating in the final review of candidates and feedback forms; the recommendation that is sent to the Provost’s Office with rationale.
  • Notification to candidates no longer under consideration.
  • A third meeting with the Dean to discuss the on-campus interview process.
  • Submission of the search summary form to the Provost's Office.
  • Submission of affirmative action information to Human Resources.
  • Contact the archives about records retention.

* Phone reference checks may also be conducted before identification of the top two candidates, normally after telephone interviews with the semifinalists.

Advertising and Recruiting For the Position – 5:3

Writing the Job Announcement

Departments provide most of the information that will be contained in a job announcement when the Tenure-Track Faculty Position Request Form is submitted to the Provost’s Office. Once the search has been authorized, the search committee then writes the formal job announcement and submits that announcement to the Provost’s Office for approval. This is the announcement that appears on the Gustavus website and the electronic job listing services used by the Office of Human Resources. Contact Shanon Nowell ( or x7541) for a copy of the ad template to be used in drafting the advertisement.

Diversity and Inclusion Language in the Job Announcement

Search committees should create position descriptions that are aligned with department, college, and institutional visions of the future in mind. The goal is to write a position description that attracts the most diverse group of applicants possible. Examples of wording used in position descriptions to signal interest in diverse perspectives include the following:

  • We are interested in applicants who will complement our commitment to students and faculty from diverse cultural groups, and who will diversify the expertise and experiences represented in the department.
  • The department is committed to increasing the diversity of the campus community and the department’s curriculum.
  • The college has a strong institutional commitment to diversity and seeks applications from historically underrepresented racial, ethnic, and cultural minority groups, those who conduct scholarship in areas related to diversity, and those who have demonstrated success in working with diverse populations of students.
  • Gustavus values campus diversity (domestic and international) and in keeping with this commitment, we welcome applications from diverse candidates and candidates who can contribute to our community and global engagement initiatives.

In finalizing your ad language, please supplement your description of your ideal candidate by including one or more of the above descriptors. While the language goes beyond a discipline-based description it is more successful in communicating our shared commitment to diversity than the standard language of “Equal Opportunity Employer.”

Additional Considerations of the Job Announcement

  1. Will the department seek a candidate at the Associate Professor level? (This question should be addressed in the Position Request.)
  2. Will the department consider candidates who are ABD?
  3. A department may choose to ask for transcripts and letters of recommendation after the initial review of files. However, transcripts and letters of recommendation must be in the files of the top five candidates that are sent to the Provost’s Office prior to the authorization of on-campus interviews.
  4. What will the department request as evidence of teaching effectiveness?
  5. What will the department request as evidence of scholarship?
  6. Will the department request a statement of teaching philosophy and/or a research statement?

Advertising the Position

Each fall the College places a block ad that lists all tenure-track searches in the Chronicle of Higher Education and Diverse Issues in Higher Education. In addition, the full position announcement appears on the Gustavus Human Resources website,,, the Consortium for Faculty Diversity website, and the National Registry of Diverse and Strategic Faculty. The Human Resources Office submits all job announcements to

After a search has been authorized, the department chair will be asked to identify any discipline-based publication or website where the position ought to be announced. Often the paid advertisement in the disciplinary journal is shorter than what appears in the electronic listings. The shorter version of the announcement must also be approved by the Provost’s Office before placement. Increasingly, job candidates focus on electronic resources that provide job listings and it is not always necessary to place a print ad for all tenure-track positions. Approval of a paid print or electronic ad must come from the Provost’s Office which will pay for the ad.

In addition, department chairs ought to send a copy of the approved announcement to appropriate graduate programs, especially those identified as the “top” programs in the area of specialization and those with a strong record of graduating individuals from underrepresented groups. In addition, the announcement ought to be sent to discipline-based newsletters and any other website that might attract a diverse pool of candidates.

Recruiting at a National Conference

Most disciplines have a traditional “search season” that may or may not include a national conference at which large numbers of job seekers participate in formal interviews. For some disciplines, participation at the national conference is seen as essential and it allows a department to conduct formal interviews with a large number of candidates (10+). A formal interview can only be conducted when candidates have submitted materials that have been screened by the search committee. For other departments, the national conference only provides the opportunity for informal recruiting. The Provost’s Office will provide $1,500 to be divided among the two department members conducting formal conference interviews (approval for this expense must be made in advance). Typically, no more than $500 will be available for conference attendance with informal recruiting opportunities.

When the department chair and appropriate Dean meet to discuss the department’s search process, the need for conference attendance will be determined.

Resources for Developing a Strong Pool

National Higher Education Recruitment Consortium
The National Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC) has developed a customized higher education CV/resume database, available online at: The database currently contains the vitae/resumes of over 4,000 prospective faculty and staff.

Accessing the database is free for all Upper Midwest HERC member institutions and there is no limit to the number of accounts per institution. We encourage departments that are seeking to fill open positions to utilize this valuable resource. The database can be searched by criteria such as academic discipline, key words (e.g., post doc), education, and relocation preferences.

To gain access to the database, contact Mary Everley, Director, UMW HERC, at or 612-626-0775.

The Consortium for Faculty Diversity
The Consortium for Faculty Diversity (CFD) is committed to increasing the diversity of students, faculty members, and curricular offerings at liberal arts colleges with a particular focus on enhancing the diversity of faculty members and of applicants for faculty positions. Their database of prospective faculty members can be accessed online. Please email Shanon Nowell ( for additional information about accessing this resource.

National Registry of Diverse and Strategic Faculty
This website offers the opportunity to search for candidates from underrepresented groups by discipline. If you identify a potential candidate, you should send that person the position announcement with a brief letter inviting an application.

Go to:
When you go to the website, select the “Institution Login (Limited Access)” link. Select "Search Candidate Database," then enter the following information to log in:
Institution Login: gustavus150
Password: search

University of Minnesota Office for Equity and Diversity and the Graduate School
The Office of the Provost will share Gustavus faculty advertisements for distribution to graduate students and post-doctoral fellows from historically-underrepresented groups whose education and background match the needs of our positions.

Other Online Resources

Review of Applications – 5:4

The Screening Subcommittee

Review of applications should be accomplished as promptly after the application deadline as possible. Criteria are established by the entire search committee and ideally, should be stated in the job announcement. Having established clear selection criteria, the Screening Subcommittee is ready to screen applications with an agreed upon understanding of what will constitute a strong candidate. Gaining a commitment from subcommittee members to rely on the established criteria during the screening process can greatly reduce the influence of unintended bias.

Organizing Application Materials

Many departments construct a simple spreadsheet for application materials in order to track the receipt of all required materials. We highly recommend using the template spreadsheet provided by Human Resources for tracking affirmative action information; this spreadsheet must be submitted to Human Resources at the conclusion of the search. A printed version can serve as a guide for search committee members reviewing the files and tracking disposition codes. Additions you may wish to make to the standard HR spreadsheet include, degree status and location, courses taught, research area, and other items deemed relevant to the particular position.

Acknowledgment of Application Materials

Email messages acknowledging the applications should be sent as quickly as possible after the applications have been received. Unless the applicant does not supply an email address, this correspondence should be send via email not hard-copy. Two sample of the acknowledgment messages are as follows:

Complete Application:

Dear << Applicant Name>>:

Thank you for your application for the tenure-track job opening in the << Dept. Name>> Department at Gustavus Adolphus College.

Your application will receive careful consideration by the department Search Committee. If further information will be needed, we will be in touch with you.

<<Search Chair’s Name >>
Search Committee Chair

Incomplete Application:

Dear << Applicant Name>>:

Thank you for your application for the tenure-track job opening in the << Dept. Name>> Department at Gustavus Adolphus College. Once we receive the following items (below), your application will be complete and eligible for consideration.
<< Add Missing Materials >>

<<Search Chair’s Name >>
Search Committee Chair

Reviewing Application Materials

It is essential for all search committees to devote a meeting, at the beginning of the process, to a discussion of what will differentiate a strong candidate from an acceptable candidate and from an unacceptable candidate. Using the job announcement as the starting point, discuss key criteria, establish priorities, and develop a set of minimum required qualifications for the position.

Some Relevant Questions for Discussion:

  • Under what circumstances would an ABD candidate be equal to someone with a completed terminal degree?
  • How closely does the degree field and graduate training need to match the position; to what extent, if any, are you hiring a generalist; to what extent are you seeking or avoiding overlap with current faculty?
  • How will you weigh preparation to teach vs. experience teaching?
  • What kind of evidence of good teaching will be sufficient?
  • What weight should be given to the colleges/universities from which an applicant earned her/his degrees?
  • How important is it that a candidate demonstrates an ability to effectively contribute to general education, FTS, January IEX, and/or interdisciplinary programs?
  • What counts as evidence of a commitment to diversity?
  • How might the candidate foster global engagement on the part of our students?
  • When will you consider a file complete enough to evaluate?

Evaluation of Candidates and Ranking Finalists

There are a number of “systems” departments employ to rank candidates. No matter how simple they appear on the surface, people usually find a way to make them more complicated. For instance, a system that asks committee members to provide a 1 (great candidate), 2 (acceptable candidate) or 3 (unacceptable candidate) is likely to become a system that includes a 1+ or a 2-. The primary goal of any system is to quickly identify unacceptable candidates and remove them from consideration while simultaneously allowing any acceptable candidate to be given full and fair consideration. It is not unreasonable to discuss as many as 25 candidates.

At this point in the process, please reference the affirmative action spreadsheet provided by Human Resources. The spreadsheet should be used to track the reasons candidates are eliminated from the pool based upon the minimum required qualifications.

Request for Additional Material (if relevant)

Departments that conduct formal conference interviews and those that receive a large number of applications (75+) do not always request all relevant material in the original position announcement. After a screening committee has narrowed the pool, the search committee chair will contact candidates still in contention and request additional materials. This might include writing samples, teaching evaluations, formal letters of reference, and/or transcripts.

The request for additional materials should be made by email to individual candidates.

Conducting Telephone Interviews

When telephone interviews are conducted all search committee members must be present. If that is impossible, then the search committee chair, the Liberal Arts Search Representative and as many committee members as possible should be present. All candidates should be asked the same questions, in the same order, by the same committee member. Telephone interviews are usually 20-30 minutes in length and include an opportunity for the candidate to ask questions. Although the candidate may ask questions at the end, committee members should not go “off script” to ask additional questions during this portion of the interview.

Contact the Telecommunications Office to arrange to have a speaker phone for these interviews. Not all rooms can be used for long-distance calls so be sure to let them know the room in which the interviews will take place. The cost of telephone interviews is paid by the department. (See sample telephone interview questions in Section 5:12.)

Conducting Conference Interviews

In addition to the information provided in Section 5:3 (Recruiting at a National Conference), the following should be taken into consideration when arranging conference interviews. Ideally, a minimum of two members of the search committee will participate in the interviews and provide a detailed report back to the search committee. All efforts should be taken to avoid using a hotel bedroom for the interviews. In order for a department to receive the maximum funding for conference interviews, the interviews have to be with candidates whose materials have already been screened by the search committee. Just as with a telephone interview, be sure to allow time for the candidate to ask questions.

Submitting Files to the Provost’s Office

After the search committee has identified the top five candidates in the pool, the Search Committee Chair will submit the application materials of those candidates and a rationale for the ranking to the Provost’s Office (please send PDF files as email attachments, not links to online sources). The rationale should include a section explaining why acceptable candidates (i.e., those meeting the established set of minimum criteria) have been eliminated from the pool. The Dean will review those files and will meet with the Search Committee Chair in order to discuss the two candidates who will be invited to an on-campus interview. Search Committee Chairs should plan for turnaround time of approximately 48 hours from the time files are received by the Provost’s Office to the meeting with Dean.

Search Committee Chairs should not contact the candidates whose files have been sent to the Provost’s Office until after the meeting with the Dean. If the chair is contacted by one of those candidates, you can say that you will be contacting campus interviewees within the week.

While the Provost’s Office is reviewing the files, the search committee chair can work with the department, the Liberal Arts Search Representative, and the Provost’s Office to identify dates for the visit and begin constructing the interview schedule.

Conducting Reference Calls

Prior to on-campus visits, references for each candidate should be contacted. Typically, search committee members distribute this task among its members so that more than one search committee member participates in reference calls for each candidate. Each reference ought to be asked the same questions. For an example of a reference call protocol see Section 5:12.

Organizing the Campus Visit – 5:5

After the Provost’s Office has approved the candidates for an on-campus interview, the Search Committee Chair contacts each candidate to ascertain continued interest in the position and to identify dates for the campus visit. Follow-up contact to manage the details of the visit may be completed by the department’s administrative assistant.

Even in the case of a “local” candidate, each candidate should be on campus for a minimum of 24 hours including an overnight stay.

At least 24 hours prior to the visit, candidates should receive a copy of the campus visit schedule along with an invitation for them to request time with others on campus—in particular those listed as welcoming community resource representatives included in the packet sent from the Provost’s Office. For samples of interview schedules see Section 5:11.

The Provost’s Office sends a packet of information to each tenure-track candidate. The packet contains information about the Kendall Center for Engaged Learning, a statement about the Liberal Arts Tradition at Gustavus, a statement describing church-relatedness, and information about our mission and core values. If your department publishes a newsletter, please send the Provost’s Office copies to include in this packet.

The packet also includes the Welcoming Community resource list, a listing of individuals from diverse backgrounds who have volunteered to meet with candidates to answer questions about campus climate and to engage in conversations on topics of diversity at Gustavus. You are encouraged to ask candidates if they would like to meet with anyone on this list.

Interview Schedule

The Interview Schedule must include the following meetings:

  • A meeting with the Department Chair to provide an overview of the department, the teaching assignment, and the search timeline, etc. (30 minutes),
  • An interview with the full search committee (at least 1 hour), for sample interview questions see Section 5:10
  • An interview with the Provost (30 minutes),
  • An interview with the appropriate Dean to discuss faculty development, tenure criteria and process, salary and benefits, start-up package (45 minutes for tenure-track),
  • An opportunity to talk with department majors, and
  • If requested, a meeting with a Welcoming Community resource person.

The Interview Schedule must include the following elements:

  • A classroom teaching demonstration,
  • A campus tour,
  • A voluntary opportunity to attend daily Sabbath at Christ Chapel,
  • A tour of the Saint Peter and Mankato area,
  • A tour of the library, ideally with the librarian who is the liaison for the department,
  • Meals with students or department members; meals may be used to fulfill the required meeting opportunities from above such as the meeting with students or the department chair (see section 5:6 for meal guidelines), and
  • At least one-half hour of free time prior to the teaching demonstration.

In the past, a few departments organized the campus interview around individual meetings with department colleagues; this is no longer acceptable practice. Search committee members have multiple one-on-one opportunities to talk with candidates if they participate in other activities such as meals, airport trips, and tours.

Additional ideas for the campus visit:

  • A meeting with Sarah Bridges, Director of Faculty Grants (30 minutes). Please send a copy of each candidate’s CV and cover letter to this person person prior to the campus interview.
  • A meeting with a member of an underrepresented group (30 minutes). Please send a copy of each candidate’s CV to this person prior to the campus interview.
  • Attendance at a campus event—concert, play, athletic event.
  • A meeting over a meal or coffee with faculty from other departments and/or interdisciplinary programs with related interests.
  • An informal meeting with first and second year tenure-track faculty from other departments.
  • A research presentation—for some departments this is considered essential; for others the issue of the research agenda and the question of the candidate’s ability to explain her/his research is handled during the search committee interview.
  • A reception in the home of a department faculty member that includes several faculty members from other departments (see Section 5:6 for meal guidelines).

Note: please provide candidate feedback forms to all non-search committee members who meet with candidates. Suggested feedback forms are available in Section 5:12.

Teaching Demonstration

The purpose of a teaching demonstration is to provide search committee members the opportunity to assess a candidate’s ability to explain discipline-specific material to an undergraduate audience. Obviously, students must be present for the teaching demonstration. Ideally, the demonstration will occur in a regularly-scheduled course rather than with students recruited for the occasion, the latter of which may work against a candidate who is trying to engage students who are unfamiliar with each other.

The Department Chair should have a very clear conversation with each candidate to ensure that candidates understand the search committee’s expectations of the demonstration and the context (type of course, audience, etc.) for the demonstration. Each candidate should be given the same expectations, time frame, and type of demonstration. An attempt should be made to make the teaching topic(s) equally difficult for all finalists; specifically, do not advantage one candidate by choosing a topic in his/her specialty.

Strategies for Organizing the Teaching Demonstration

  • A department may ask each candidate to teach a specific item from a course syllabus, in other words, to fit their demonstration into the midst of an on-going course. For instance, the Department of Physics asks candidates to prepare a demonstration that fits into a specific course syllabus and students are responsible for learning that material.
  • A department may ask each candidate to prepare the same lesson. For instance, the Department of Classics asks each candidate to prepare the same language lesson that is demonstrated in the same course by each candidate.
  • A department may ask candidates to prepare a course demonstration that is relevant to the topic of the course rather than try to fit the demonstration into the syllabus.
  • When scheduling disallows the above options, departments ask candidates to prepare a class demonstration that is typical for the type of courses included in the job description though it is unrelated to the course in which the demonstration takes place.

Soliciting Feedback

Search committees find student/faculty/staff feedback to be useful during the deliberation process. Ideally, individuals will receive a feedback form to fill out and return for each candidate. In addition, search committee chairs often contact anyone who interacted with the candidate to solicit their impressions. Feedback forms can be distributed and collected at the teaching demonstration or sent by email at a later time to all students who had interactions with a candidate. They should also be provided to faculty/staff members who met with the candidate. For an example of a feedback form see Section 5:12.

Travel Arrangements and Expenses Related to the Campus Visit – 5:6

Candidates are guests of Gustavus when visiting campus. Their expenses are paid by the Office of the Provost. The College appreciates the time faculty devote to hosting candidates and extending hospitality. The Provost’s Office also appreciates efforts made by departments to control costs, while ensuring that every candidate is treated well and has a comfortable visit.

After the Provost’s Office authorizes specific candidates for a campus visit, the Search Chair should contact each candidate to issue the invitation and begin making travel arrangements and arranging for the on-campus visit.

Air Travel

Please note that plane tickets are less expensive when booked in advance. When possible the Provost’s Office asks that interviews be scheduled at least two weeks in advance to moderate travel expenses.

All candidates should book their own flights when possible. The Search Chair or Administrative Assistant should contact Shanon Nowell ( or x7541) for approval of ticket costs before they are purchased. The tickets are paid for by the Office of the Provost.

Candidates should be picked up from the airport or take Land to Air Express ( or 507-625-3977) to Saint Peter rather than renting a car.

Car Travel

Candidates who drive to campus will be reimbursed for mileage at the standard IRS rate. Please remember that even a candidate who drives from the Twin Cities will be reimbursed for mileage. While this cost is less than an airline ticket, it’s important to note that there is no such thing as a “free” candidate.

Candidates who wish to rent a car for personal purposes (e.g., to visit local family) must do so at their own expense.


Campus visits should include an overnight stay. Contact to make Guest House reservations or, if necessary, make reservations at a local motel using a department member’s Wells Fargo card for payment. An internal or local candidate may opt not to stay at the Guest House or hotel (if the Guest House is not available).


Meals can be useful opportunities to introduce the candidate to a wider range of people on campus and to show our hospitality. Ideally, candidates will share all meals with a search committee member, department faculty or students, or other faculty with related interests.

In order to have a comfortable, informal conversation with the candidate, only modestly sized groups should join candidates for meals at the College's expense. Although we want to be hospitable, this is a time to model good stewardship to potential future colleagues. Please adhere to the following meal guidelines (the number of listed guests below is the maximum; you may opt to invite fewer):

  • Breakfast: candidate + 2 guests (maximum $10 per person) *normally on-campus
  • Lunch: candidate + 4 students or 3 guests (maximum $15 per person) *normally on-campus
  • Dinner: candidate + 2 guests (maximum $35 per person)
  • Receptions: Limited to one per candidate ($75 per reception)
  • Alcoholic beverages are permitted and will be reimbursed, but are limited to one per individual

A department member’s Wells Fargo card should be used for payment. An itemized receipt (not just the credit card receipt) needs to be obtained and the names of those in attendance at the meal should be written on the receipt before it is turned in to the Provost’s Office.

In accordance with the College Travel Policy, tips should not exceed 15% of the cost of service, unless automatically charged.

On-campus meal tickets (for the Marketplace and Campus Buffet) are obtained from Jennifer Harbo ( or x6223) in the Provost’s Office.

Candidate Reimbursement

When candidates come to the Provost’s Office they will be asked to sign a form that provides the information we need in order to reimburse them for expenses. They will be directed to submit original receipts for the reimbursement of parking, mileage, tolls, etc. to the Provost’s Office upon completion of the trip. Reimbursement will normally be made within two weeks of receiving receipts.

Other Expenses

Should there be costs other than transportation, lodging (if off-campus), and meals, it is important to clear these in advance with the Office of the Provost.

Departmental budgets are expected to cover the costs of:

  • Search Committee meeting refreshments
  • Stationery
  • Postage
  • Telephone calls
  • Photocopying and printing

Internal Candidates – 5:7

Candidate pools often include one or more people known to members of the search committee, including faculty teaching at Gustavus in a temporary position. It is imperative that internal candidates be treated fairly, which means neither advantaging nor disadvantaging them in the process. The following list is intended to clarify how internal candidacies ought to be managed in order to insure fairness.

  • It is acceptable to invite an internal candidate to apply for a tenure-track opening just as it is acceptable to invite someone from off-campus to apply. In both cases, the invitation should not imply a promise of the job or even a campus interview.
  • If you believe that someone in a temporary faculty position is not qualified for the position, it is the individual who must make that determination. If you are asked a direct question about it, it is reasonable to point out that, as a search committee member it is not appropriate for you to discuss the search. You can direct the individual to the search chair who can provide them with the identified minimum required qualifications for the position.
  • The internal candidate must make a formal submission of materials as requested in the job announcement. The department cannot recycle the materials submitted for the temporary position.
  • Internal candidates may choose to request letters of reference from other members of the Gustavus community. This is their decision. However, faculty in the department conducting the search should not agree to provide a reference letter for the Gustavus search even if that person is not a member of the search committee.
  • Telephone interviews can be awkward when there is an internal candidate and yet, out of fairness, need to be conducted with internal candidates who have advanced to that stage of the process.
  • If the department conducts formal conference interviews and an internal candidate is on the list of conference interviewees, the interview needs to be conducted at the conference. If the department offers to accommodate external candidates who are not attending the conference, the same offer can be made to the internal candidate.
  • Internal candidates must conduct a teaching demonstration under the same circumstances as the external candidate. Specifically, the demonstration cannot be held in a current section of the course taught by the candidate. Nor should the external candidate be asked to conduct a teaching demonstration in the class of the internal candidate.
  • Student opinions about the internal candidate should not be solicited in any manner beyond those available to external candidates. Students who view the teaching demonstration should be asked for feedback, all candidates may be invited to provide evidence of teaching effectiveness, and all candidates may ask students to write letters of recommendation (although this is rarely a choice made by external candidates).
  • If the internal candidate is one of the two candidates invited for an on-campus interview, each element of the interview schedule should be the same for both candidates, with the exception of the overnight stay at the Guest House.
  • When an external candidate comes for the campus visit it is reasonable to let the internal candidate know the date of the visit and expect her/him to keep limited hours in the department during the visit.
  • Information provided to the candidates about the search process should, within reason, be the same for all candidates. Nothing about the search process should be communicated to the internal candidate that is not also communicated to external candidates. Department colleagues often find it very difficult to refrain from talking with internal candidates about the search. The chair of the search committee and the chair of the department have the responsibility of making it clear to all members of the department that this is inappropriate and unfair behavior that threatens the integrity of the search process.
  • Internal candidates should receive notification of their place in the search pool within the same time frame as external candidates. For instance, if an internal candidate does not advance beyond the first screening, the chair of the search committee can communicate that information in person at about the same time that external candidates receive a letter/email with that information. The internal candidate should also receive formal notification.

After the Campus Visit – 5:8

Once the final candidate has left campus, the search committee should convene as soon as possible. It is their responsibility to identify the top candidate, make a recommendation with a rationale to the Provost’s Office, and determine whether or not the second ranked person is a viable candidate for the position.

The Provost’s Office receives the recommendation and either makes the offer to the top candidate or seeks additional information from the Search Committee Chair.

The offer of employment is made by the Dean. At that time, issues of salary, start-up funds (if relevant), and moving expenses are addressed. Typically, candidates are allowed to take 7-10 days to respond to the offer. Once the initial offer has been made, the Dean will notify the Department Chair/Search Committee Chair and, unless the offer has already been rejected (which is rare), during the negotiation period, we ask the search committee and department members to refrain from initiating contact with the candidate.

Candidates who accept our offer of employment receive a “Letter of Intent” from the Provost’s Office. This letter includes the following information specific to their offer: salary, tenure timeline, moving expenses, library allocation, computer request information, and start-up package (if relevant). Candidates must sign and return the letter within 10 days of receipt. The search chair and administrative assistant will receive notification of the receipt of the letter of intent.

When Gustavus hires a candidate who has not completed the terminal degree, that person receives a contract that indicates the salary and rank if the dissertation is successfully defended by September 30 of their first year and the lower salary and rank if there has not been a successful defense by that date. The contract and the degree deadline are explained to ABD candidates at the time the offer is made by the Dean.

Notifying Candidates No Longer Under Consideration

There are three points at which such notification takes place. Please do not neglect this important task. It is important to extend this courtesy to all applicants; timely notifications reflect well on Gustavus and your department.

1. After the initial screening. Departments that receive a large number of applications (+40) and/or conduct formal conference interviews, notify the candidates who are no longer being considered for the position after the initial screening. This correspondence may be sent in hard-copy or via email. Below is a sample letter:

Dear << Applicant Name>>:

Thank you for your interest in the position of _ at Gustavus Adolphus College.

After much thought, deliberation, and dialog, the search committee has decided not to pursue you as a candidate for the position. Your experience is significant, but we had other candidates whose experience we felt were a better match with our needs.

Again, we sincerely appreciate your interest and the time you invested in the process. Best wishes as you pursue other career opportunities.

Search Committee Chair

2. After the conference or telephone interview. Typically, candidates who are invited to participate in a formal conference interview or telephone interview do not receive notification that they will not be offered the position until after the position has been accepted by another candidate. This correspondence may be sent in hard-copy or via email. Below is a sample letter:

Dear __:

It was a pleasure to speak with you recently regarding the position of __ here at Gustavus Adolphus College.

Several fine applicants for the position were interviewed and the background and qualifications of each applicant were carefully reviewed. The committee determined that other candidates’ experience and educational preparation more closely matched the duties of this position.

On behalf of Gustavus Adolphus College, and speaking for myself personally, thank you for your candidacy for the position of __. The opportunity to speak with you has been much appreciated. Best of luck in your future endeavors.

Search Committee Chair

3. After the campus interview. The Search Committee Chair should contact by telephone the candidate who was invited to campus but not offered the position to express thanks for their interest in Gustavus, explain that another candidate has accepted the position, and offer best wishes in the job search process. Please note that the Search Committee Chair should not offer additional information to the applicant.

Preparing for the New Faculty Member

During the year in which a new tenure-line faculty member is hired, departments need to be sure that the teaching schedule submitted for the incoming faculty member allows her/him to attend New Faculty Orientation organized by the Kendall Center for Engaged Learning. These sessions take place on Thursdays from 12:30-1:20 p.m.

Retention of Records – 5:9

Google Drive has been established as the tool for sharing candidate files within the search committee. Tutorials for first-time Google Drive users are available through Gustavus Technology Services ( In addition, Associate Director of Instructional Services, Marni Dunning (, is available to answer questions or provide training at any point in the search process.

Federal regulations and College policy (see the Record Retention and Destruction Policy online at: require that all applications be retained upon the conclusion of a search. This does not mean that we must revert to the files when positions become vacant, although they may be available. It simply means that the records must be retained in order to defend hiring decisions, if necessary. Records may also be needed to support a Permanent Work Authorization petition for a foreign born faculty member. At the beginning of a search, the Search Committee Chair will receive a Search Summary Form from the Provost’s Office. The form should be filled out and submitted to the Provost’s Office at the conclusion of the search. The search top level folder should then be shared with the College's archives (Jeff Jenson at or Adrianna Darden at for retention. Files will be destroyed after three years.

Special (Fixed-Term) Appointments – 5:10

Procedures for making Special (fixed-term) appointments (e.g., sabbatical replacements, emergency situations) include the following differences from the tenure-track search:

  1. Search Committee
    The search committee can be a subset of department members. The decision to include a Liberal Arts Search Representative is made by the Department Chair and the Dean.
  2. Advertising
    All position announcements will be posted (by the Provost's Office) on the Gustavus Human Resources website,, the Consortium for Faculty Diversity, the National Registry of Diverse and Strategic Faculty, HERC, and A letter or email should be sent to key graduate programs. The decision to submit an announcement in discipline-specific journals is made by the Department Chair and the Dean.
  3. Course Load
    If the position is full-time, the position announcements should indicate a 7-course teaching load. Normally, this will mean a January Interim Experience teaching assignment.
  4. Sending Files to the Provost’s Office
    The files of the top three candidates should be sent to the Dean before an invitation for a campus visit is extended. After reading the files, the Dean will consult with the Department Chair. Normally, only one candidate is brought in for a fixed-term appointment. A second candidate is brought in if the first candidate is not acceptable or does not accept our offer.
  5. Campus Visit
    The visit must include an interview with the department search committee, a meeting with the Department Chair, an interview with the Dean, and a teaching demonstration.
  6. Making the Offer
    In the case of per-course appointments, the Department Chair will make the offer of employment.

Affirmative Action – 5:11

As stated in the Gustavus Mission Statement, “The College aspires to be a community of persons from diverse backgrounds who respect and affirm the dignity of all people.” To that end, we are pleased that Gustavus has a certified affirmative action plan.

The Office of Human Resources tracks diversity information for all searches on campus. At the conclusion of every search (tenure-track and non-tenure-track) the department must provide Human Resources with summary candidate information. More information is available on the Human Resources website (see the link below). Taylor Ziemke ( can provide guidance regarding reporting candidate information from faculty searches.

Affirmative Action Documents:

Appendix – 5:12

The following items are available in PDF form:

  • Suggested Reference Call Protocol
  • Sample Campus Interview Schedule (1 night visit w/ reception) (tenure-track)
  • Sample Campus Interview Schedule (2 night visit) (tenure-track)
  • Sample Campus Interview Schedule (small group meetings) (tenure-track)
  • Sample Campus Interview Schedule (fixed-term appointment) (fixed-term)
  • Suggested Search Committee Interview Questions
  • Suggested Candidate Telephone Interview Questions
  • Sample Student Feedback Form
  • Guidelines on Interview and Employment Application Questions
  • Liberal Arts Search Representative Information

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Last modified: 30 August 2016, by Shanon Nowell