Tenure-Track Search Process Guide

1.0 Search Commencement

1.1 Establish the Search Committee 
1.2 Discuss Confidentiality Guidelines
1.3 Review Documentation Plans
1.4 Establish the Ground Rules
1.5 Develop Criteria for the Position: Rubric Creation
1.6 Develop the Position Announcement 

1.1 Establish the Search Committee 

The Search Chair: Any tenured member of a department/program may serve as chair. 

The Committee: All tenured and tenure-track faculty members are required participants, unless on sabbatical leave. continuing faculty and senior continuing faculty may be invited to serve but are not required to serve. Faculty representatives from relevant interdisciplinary programs may be invited in the case of departmentally-based searches. In the case of positions framed to serve interdisciplinary programs, faculty representatives from interdisciplinary programs must be invited. A Liberal Arts Search Representative will be appointed by the Provost’s Office from a list proposed by the Search Chair. For the LASR position, the Search Chair should propose 3-4 tenured faculty members from outside the Department. All of the Committee members are full participants and voting members of the Committee.
The Liberal Arts Search Representative (LASR): The LASR performs four essential functions: 

  1. Provides college-wide perspective, on how the candidates can serve the broader College community
  2. Helps ensure that college guidelines in hiring practices are followed.
  3. The LASR serves as a diversity advocate for the College working to support Committee efforts to interrupt bias during the Search process
  4. The LASR submits a written report, developed with the Search Committee, to the Provost and the Search Committee at the end of the search about the search process and candidate qualities (as per section Faculty Handbook). See Resources section for example sections of a LASR report.

Provide a finalized list of all Search Committee members to the Provost’s Office prior to the first Committee meeting.

1.2 Discuss Confidentiality Guidelines

All materials that candidates submit are confidential and may not be shared with anyone without a direct role in the search (i.e., the search committee, the Dean, the Provost). All search committee conversations are confidential and may not be shared with anyone without a direct role in the search. This rule of confidentiality remains in place after the candidate is hired. If search committee members are asked about the search process by a candidate, they should refer that person to the search chair. Search chairs should discuss confidentiality with the departmental administrative assistant, other departmental employees and any student workers or other students who are likely to be involved in the search. Search committee members may not gather information that is not part of the candidate’s file (e.g., searching social media or contacting former colleagues of the candidate). Search Committee members should confine their deliberations regarding the candidates to the private setting (room with closed door) of the Search Committee meetings. Search discussions should not be conducted over email. Be sure to allow enough meeting time to carry out the Committee’s work, in person.

1.3 Review Documentation Plans

To demonstrate that Gustavus has made good faith efforts toward an equitable search process, the search committee chair or departmental administrative assistant must keep complete records including on-campus interview schedules, form letters, and committee meeting times and locations. 

1.4 Establish the Ground Rules

The Search Committee members will receive anti-bias training before the Search commences. This training should be leveraged to create a set of ground rules that the Committee will use to ensure equitable and inclusive processes of candidate review and selection. The training also ensures that processes are individualized appropriate for the particular Department (s)/Program(s) involved in the Search. Please refer to the example “Search Committee Ground Rules” linked the resources section of this document. All Search Committee members must approve the Ground Rules developed by the group. Ground Rules for the Search Committee must be submitted to the Provost’s Office for approval.

1.5 Develop Criteria for the Position: Rubric Creation

Before writing the job advertisement, the Committee should discuss the minimum and preferred qualifications for the position. These qualifications will become selection criteria. Based on the agreed-upon selection criteria, the committee will create a rubric for evaluation of all applications. The rubric criteria should be tested by the committee, one by one, to make sure that the criteria can be evaluated readily (Table 1).

Minimum (required) qualifications should reflect those skills, knowledge and ability requirements that are minimally required to effectively perform the duties of a position. Care should be taken to limit required qualifications to those that are minimally required to avoid eliminating candidates who may have relevant and transferable experience that would bring value to the organization. 

Preferred qualifications should reflect the additional measurable and job-related levels of experience, education, and/or specific skills that would strongly enhance an individual's ability to perform the duties and responsibilities of the position. 

Table 1: A Few Example Rubric Criteria

Qualification/Criteria Question to Evaluate Selection Criteria
Demonstrated commitment to undergraduate teaching.  What are the indicators of “demonstrated commitment to undergraduate teaching”? 
Ph.D. in X or related field.  What is considered a “related field”? 
Interest and success in mentoring students who come from underrepresented groups How will this “interest and success” be demonstrated? 
Evidence of interest working in a liberal arts setting What are some ways “interest” could be exemplified? 
Evidence of teaching ability in [FIELD HERE] What is the evidence of “ability”? 

 See the Resources section for several complete examples of evaluation rubrics. 

1.6 Develop the Position Announcement 

The Committee will use the selection criteria to write a position description for the advertisement.
A well-crafted position description: 

  • Signals to candidates the institutional commitments and departmental or program values regarding academic excellence, teaching, diversity and inclusion, scholarship, and service;
  • Communicates to candidates what evidence the search committee requires to demonstrate they are qualified for the position
  • Note that the Provost’s Office includes a required qualification that speaks to the candidate’s ability, experience and interest in mentoring students from historically underrepresented groups. Sample language is provided below but this qualification is most meaningful when a department takes the time to craft a statement that reflects how such a qualification is consistent with the departmental mission and goals. We strongly suggest that you ask candidates to include a diversity, equity and inclusion statement (one page), along with their teaching and research statements as part of the required materials for the application. 

The search ad template is found in the Resources section. This template represents college-wide, approved language for advertising faculty positions. Sections in black may not be changed without a conversation with your Dean. Sections in red are to be filled out by the department. The committee’s evaluation rubric and draft position announcement must be submitted together and approved by the Provost’s Office .

Last modified: 5 May 2020, by Shanon Nowell