Tenure-Track Search Process Guide

4.0 Finalist Evaluation: Campus Interviews

4.1 Campus Interview Schedules 
4.2 Teaching Demonstration 
4.3 On-Campus Meetings with Candidates 

4.1 Campus Interview Schedules 

After the Provost’s Office has approved the two or three candidates for on-campus interviews, the Search Chair contacts each candidate to ascertain continued interest in the position and to identify dates for the campus visit. The Search Chair should also be sure to ask about dietary preferences/restrictions or the need for accessibility accommodations. Some 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. A two-night stay is recommended. An overnight stay should also be offered to local candidates, though they may choose not to avail themselves of this option. The Provost’s Office emails a packet of information to each tenure-track candidate prior to the interview. Providing the candidate with information about the college as well as information about different topics, groups, and organizations associated with the college will enable candidates to determine issues of interest they could explore further during their visit to campus. The Search Chair should call each candidate, no less than 48 hours before the interview, to discuss a draft schedule and find out what additional opportunities should be included, based on the candidate’s interests. 
The on-campus interview schedule will contain opportunities which are evaluative, meaning that feedback on the candidate will be collected and used by the Search Committee. There will be other interview events which are for informational/social purposes and are meant to allow the candidate to learn about the Community without the pressure of formal evaluation. The schedule should be clear about which events are evaluative and which are solely for the candidate’s informational/social purposes. The Search Chair should explain this distinction to the candidates during the phone call to discuss the schedule, as well. See the Resources section for sample interview schedules.

The following bullet points give the basic steps for arranging the campus interview. See the Resources section for meal and travel expenditure guidelines. PLEASE NOTE: If guidelines are not followed, expense overages will be charged to the Departmental budget.

  • Determine whether the candidate has any dis/ability accommodations that need to be met or dietary preferences/restrictions. Determine if the candidate has any logistical requests (bringing a nanny, will need to breast feed, bringing a spouse, etc.)
  • Arrange for transportation to and from airport and to and from guesthouse during the visit.
  • Make arrangements for dis/ability accommodations and logistical requests. Arrange for someone to accompany the candidate to and from all meetings.
  • Create an itinerary for each candidate’s visit. They should include the name, rank, and department of each person the candidate will meet except for “Welcoming Community Resource” meetings. The schedule should also note which meetings are informational/social. Make sure the schedules account for any dis/ability accommodations and logistical requests. Schedule breaks where the candidate will not meet with anyone, but has time to take a breath, or prepare for a demonstration.
  • Ensure that there are both formal and informal ways candidates can interact with faculty and students. Social gatherings with faculty will allow visitors to observe and learn about department and College culture. 

The Interview Schedule should normally include the following meetings: 

  • A meeting with the department/search chair to provide an overview of the department, the teaching assignment, and the search timeline, etc. (30 minutes, informational for the candidate)
  • An interview with the full search committee (at least 1 hour, evaluative). See the Resources section for sample interview questions.
  • Opportunities to meet with department members in pairs or groups of three to four to discuss different specialized topics reflecting areas of teaching or research related to the position (evaluative and standardized across all candidates)
  • An interview with the Provost (30 minutes, evaluative)
  • An interview with the appropriate Dean (30 minutes, evaluative and presenting HR information regarding benefits to the candidate)
  • An opportunity to talk with department majors (may be evaluative or informational/social for the candidate); and If requested, a meeting with a Welcoming Community resource person (informational/social for the candidate and confidential)
  • A classroom teaching demonstration (evaluative). The Dean , or designee, will attend the teaching demonstration; please be in contact with the Provost’s Office to confirm the Dean’s availability
  • A campus tour (informational for the candidate)
  • A voluntary opportunity to attend Daily Sabbath at Christ Chapel or the Bonnier Multi-faith center (informational/social)
  • A tour of the Saint Peter and Mankato area (informational/social)
  • 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 and all meals should be informational/social for the candidate, not evaluative, except, perhaps those with students
  • At least one-half hour of free time prior to the teaching demonstration. 

See the Resources Section for ideas for other possible interview components. Be judicious in making selections so as not to overwhelm the candidate. 

4.2 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. Students must be present for the teaching demonstration and must be asked for written feedback following the demonstration. Ideally, the demonstration will occur in a regularly-scheduled course rather than with students recruited for the occasion. Search Chairs are responsible for providing candidates with clear and consistent information regarding the Search Committee’s expectations of the teaching demonstration as well as the context (type of course, audience, location, etc.) for the demonstration. Each candidate must be given the same expectations, time frame, type of room, and type of demonstration. Departments 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. Departments may ask candidates to prepare a course demonstration that is relevant to the topic of the course rather than trying to fit the demonstration into the syllabus. When scheduling disallows the above options, departments ask may candidates to prepare a class demonstration typical for the type of courses included in the job description though it is unrelated to the course in which the demonstration takes place. 

When scheduling the teaching demonstration, search chairs must confirm that the appropriate Dean, or designee, can also attend. The Deans are involved in mentoring all faculty toward tenure and promotion, as well as involved in supporting chairs when problems arise with teaching of individual departmental faculty (e.g., as raised in student complaints and complaints of other faculty). Therefore, the Deans should have a chance to view the teaching demonstration and give feedback to the Committee and/or Provost on the characteristics of the teaching demonstration before the decision is made to hire. Whenever possible, the teaching demonstration should occur prior to the candidate’s meeting with the Dean.

4.3 On-Campus Meetings with Candidates 

Each person or group that is meeting with candidates (in an evaluative interaction) should create a list of interview questions they will ask all candidates in a structured interview format. Posing the same questions to each candidate ensures that you will collect comparable information from all candidates. 
When a group of people is interviewing a candidate together, decide beforehand how the questions will be divided among interviewers. As you divide the questions, be mindful that questions about diversity should not always be posed by women or members of historically underrepresented groups. Candidates should be allowed to do most of the talking during an evaluative portion of the interview. 
Each person who meets with a candidate, whether for an evaluative meeting or informational/social interaction should be clear on what are appropriate and inappropriate/illegal questions and prompts for discussion. See the Resources Section for a guide to illegal and legal questions that may be distributed to meeting attendees. Please note that in the case of candidates who are not U.S. citizens, the College will ultimately need to know about the new hire’s visa status in order to assist with those arrangements but questions about visa arrangements should NOT be asked by Search Committees. These questions and arrangements will be made by the Dean and should not be a consideration by the Search Committee.

Last modified: 5 May 2020, by Shanon Nowell