Tenure-Track Search Process Guide

5.0 Search Conclusion

5.1 Soliciting and Integrating Feedback From Stakeholders 
5.2 Evaluating the On-Campus Interviewees 
5.3 Making the Job Offer 
5.4 Survey Regarding the Search Process 
5.5 Records Retention 
5.6 Affirmative Action Reporting 
5.7 Notifying Candidates No Longer Under Consideration 


5.1 Soliciting and Integrating Feedback From Stakeholders

Each member of the search committee should fully participate in the interview, teaching demonstration, and research presentation (if one occurs). With the permission of the candidate, the teaching demonstration and research presentation can be recorded, if needed. If an event is missed/not viewed by a search committee member, that member may not deliberate with regard to that event during the proceedings.

Search committees find student/faculty/staff feedback to be useful during the deliberation process. Feedback should be collected from individuals involved in the evaluation components of the on-campus visit. Each committee member and person who spends time with the candidate in an evaluative meeting should be provided an evaluation/rating form. These forms should ask interviewers to provide feedback on specific criteria of the position, rather than general or overall impressions. The practice of requiring criteria-related feedback minimizes several forms of implicit bias and increases the likelihood of fair assessments of candidates. Feedback forms can be distributed and collected at the teaching demonstration or emailed at a later time to all students who attend the demonstration. Feedback forms should also be provided to faculty/staff members who participate in evaluative meetings and who are not members of the search committee. See the Resources section for feedback form examples.

Stakeholder perspectives can help you determine if you need more data. You may need to engage in further reference checking or revisit the larger applicant pool if stakeholders:

  • Strongly support an applicant the committee finds unacceptable
  • Strongly object to an applicant the committee finds acceptable
  • Identify an important area of strength or concern that the committee has not addressed.
  • Raise concerns about the applicant’s interactions with people from a particular identity background.

5.2 Evaluating the On-Campus Interviewees

Individual Evaluation 
As soon as possible following each candidate visit, each search committee member should evaluate each individual candidate with the rubric. It is critical that candidates continue to be evaluated using the rubric.

Committee Evaluation 
The search committee should meet as soon as possible after the completion of the interviews so that information is fresh, the process continues moving efficiently, and candidates are contacted in a timely manner. Adherence to the recommended practices highlighted in earlier stages remains important here: awareness of implicit bias, a focus on the agreed upon selection criteria, a commitment to considering all points of view, and a commitment to articulating specific job-related rationale as a basis for candidate assessments.

This stage of the selection process is particularly vulnerable to unintended bias because the stakes are high as the process narrows in focus to a small number of candidates. Now is the time for Search Committees to review the carefully constructed Ground Rules for discussion before proceeding. Search Committee members may become invested in different candidates, which may lead to tension or conflict among the committee members. Therefore, deliberations in the committee meeting should focus on each candidate’s ability to meet the required and preferred criteria prior to engaging in comparative analysis.

At the conclusion of the Search Committee’s deliberations, the search chair submits the committee’s recommendations, including a list of criteria-related strengths and weaknesses for each candidate to the Dean, indicating whether each candidate is an acceptable hire for the position. If a candidate is unacceptable to the committee, they are no longer under consideration for the job, even if all acceptable other candidates decline a position offer. The LASR will provide a written report (authored in collaboration with the Search Committee) that comments on the candidates’ qualities as a teacher, advisor, and colleague at a liberal arts college as well as assess the search process. The report should be delivered to the Provost and to the Search Committee (Faculty Handbook Section 2.1.1.1.C).

5.3 Making the Job Offer

The Provost receives candidate information from the Search Committee via the hiring Dean. As stated in Faculty Manual Section 3.1.3 “Faculty status and related matters are primarily a faculty responsibility; this area includes appointments … on questions of faculty status as in other matters where the faculty has primary responsibility, concur with the faculty judgment except in rare instances and for compelling reasons which should be stated in detail.” Consistent with this faculty responsibility, if the recommendation from the Search Committee and report from the LASR are in alignment with the Provost’s assessment, the Provost will direct the hiring Dean to make the offer to the recommended candidate. In cases where the recommendation from the Search Committee and LASR are not in alignment, where the Provost’s assessment of the recommended candidate is that they are not acceptable for hire, or where procedures for a fair, equitable, and inclusive search have not been followed, the Provost will provide a rationale in writing to the Search Committee for not accepting the recommendation, as per Faculty Handbook Section 2.1.1.1.D.3. The Committee may then make a new recommendation. The Search Committee Chair will be informed by the Dean when the offer is made and when accepted.

To ensure a compelling and competitive offer, during the later stages of the search or in conversation prior to making the job offer, the search chair should communicate to the Dean any recommendations seen to be important to a potential offer: start up support, teaching responsibilities, dual career issues, assigned space, salary, credit towards tenure, travel and other research support. Following the offer of employment, candidates are allowed 7-10 days to respond to the offer. During the negotiation period, the hiring Dean will advise the Search Chair if it is appropriate for the Committee members and Chair to communicate with the candidate. However, if a candidate initiates contact, Search Committee members may respond but should inform their Dean of their contact.

The candidate’s experience during the negotiation stage of the process may still influence whether or not they decide to accept the offer. If contacted by the candidate after the job offer, Search Chairs and department faculty should promptly respond to any queries or address concerns they may have. In addition, they should share departmental enthusiasm for the strengths the candidate will bring to the department.

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. Candidates must sign and return the letter within 10 days of receipt. The search chair and administrative assistant will receive notification when the signed letter of intent is received, or when the rejection of offer is received. If an offer is rejected, the Dean or Provost will contact the search chair to confirm agreement about the next candidate offer. The search is not complete and we do not notify other candidates of the search outcome until we have a signed offer letter. 

When Gustavus hires a candidate who has not completed the terminal degree, that individual receives a letter that indicates the salary and rank if the dissertation is successfully defended by September 30 of their first year and a terminal, non-Tenure-Track contract, 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.

Once the search is complete, department members can tell other campus constituencies that the search is complete and offer congratulations to the candidate. No external communication should occur until non-successful candidates are notified and signed letters of intent have been received from the hired candidate.

5.4 Survey Regarding the Search Process

The Provost’s Office will send out a survey asking for feedback from search committee members about the search process once the tenure-track searches have been completed in a given year. The Provost’s Office will also send a survey out to candidates asking for feedback about their experience in the search process. This feedback will be used to inform possible changes to the process in the following year.

5.5 Records Retention

At the conclusion of the search, committee members shall destroy any materials pertaining to the search. This includes hard-copy materials (including notes from meetings), as well as electronic documents that may have been downloaded onto a computer or that may be in email. The search chair is responsible for closing out the search through the online application system; there is nothing that committee members should retain in the short- or long-term. The records we retain should be standardized and centralized at the Provost’s Office.

5.6 Affirmative Action Reporting

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.” In accordance with Gustavus’s certified affirmative action plan, at the conclusion of each search, the search chair is responsible for affirmative action reporting through the College’s online application system. Instructions for closing the search are available from the Provost’s Office.

5.7 Notifying Candidates No Longer Under Consideration

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 (see the Resources section for email templates). There are three points at which notification takes place:

  1. After the initial screening. Departments that receive a large number of applications (+50) usually notify candidates who are no longer being considered for the position after the initial screening. This correspondence is typically sent via email.
  2. After the telephone/video interview. Typically, candidates who participate in telephone/video interviews are notified that they will not be invited to campus or offered the position only after the position has been accepted by another candidate. This correspondence may be sent in hard-copy or via email.
  3. After the campus interview. The search chair should email or telephone candidates who were invited to campus but not offered the position to express thanks for their interest in Gustavus, to inform them that another candidate has accepted the position, and to offer best wishes in their job search. The search chair may not offer additional information to the applicant regarding the candidate hired or feedback from the candidate’s interview. This notification should not occur until the position is accepted by another candidate and we have received the signed offer letter. 

Last modified: 5 May 2020, by Shanon Nowell