Tenure-Track Search Process Guide

7.0 Guidelines for Non-Tenure-Track Searches

7.1 Procedures for Non-Tenure-Trach Searches

Procedures for making 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, LatinosInHigherEd.com, the Consortium for Faculty Diversity, the Black Doctoral Network, HERC, and HigherEdJobs.com. 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: The total course load for the candidate will be approved by the Dean. The position description should indicate the number of courses or range in number of courses that is expected for the position (e.g., the position announcement should indicate a 7-course teaching load. Normally, this will mean a January Term teaching assignment (3-1-3 load)).

4. Sending Files to the Provost’s Office: Following phone interviews, files of the top three candidates should be sent to the Dean, with a ranking and rationale, 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. For per-course appointments, the Dean and department chair will decide whether an on-campus interview is necessary.

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: For full-time appointments, the Dean makes the offer of employment. Typically, relocation costs and startup funds are not part of a special appointment offer. In the case of per-course appointments, the department chair will make the offer of employment.

7.2 Resources for Non-Tenure-Track Searches

Search Ad Template

Email Shanon Nowell for a copy of the non-tenure-track search ad template.

Interview Questions

Tell us a little bit about your current research project.
What classes have you enjoyed teaching the most?
How would you describe your teaching goals and strategies?
What kinds of methods do you prefer to use in teaching intro level courses?
What are some examples of the sorts of things that happen in a typical week in your beginning level courses?
You’ve seen our catalog. What parts of the Department’s curriculum would you be most interested in teaching?
What are your other academic and intellectual interests? Do you have ways of connecting with other disciplines or one or more of our interdisciplinary programs?
What ideas do you have about what you might want to teach during our January term?
In your current teaching situation, what kinds of interactions have you had with students, other than in class and office hours?
What interests you about teaching at a liberal arts college?
After seeing our catalog and browsing on our web site, what kinds of questions do you have for us about teaching at Gustavus or living in Minnesota?
Tell us about some of the toughest groups that you have had to get cooperation from. What did you do? What happened?
What are some of the most difficult one-to-one meetings you’ve had? What resulted from the meeting(s)?
What is an idea you have recently implemented which was considerably different from the standard procedure?
What would your colleagues say about your style?
What goals have you set recently? What were the results?
How do you prioritize multiple tasks that need to be accomplished in a short amount of time?
Tell us about particular opportunities and challenges that come with the increased use of technology.
Tell us about decisions you have made that have benefit to the students you have taught.
How have you resolved conflict in the work place?
What do you consider your finest accomplishment?
Describe ways in which you have helped students prepare to move as human beings and citizens across multiple cultural boundaries and communities.
How do you maintain your energy level? Describe your most tiring duties or circumstances.
Describe a situation where you wish you had interacted differently with someone at work. What happened?
How do you motivate students to do excellent work?
Describe a teaching situation you have been in recently that describes you at your best. Your worst?

Telephone Interview Script

Thanks so much for making time for this interview. I’d like to first introduce the folks we have on the call today. [Introductions here.] We have 30 minutes together today, and we will have half or dozen or so general questions for you pertaining to the key points in the job. For reasons of equity, we ask all applicants the same questions, so we plan on staying with our scripted questions. Thanks for your understanding in this regard. Then we will be sure to allow 5 minutes at the end for any questions that you may have. Does that sound alright? Okay, let’s begin.

  1. Tell us about your background and experiences. Why are you applying for this position?
  2. What interests you about teaching at a liberal arts college?
  3. What classes have you enjoyed teaching the most and why?
  4. Tell us a little bit about your current research project and where you see your research going in the next five years.
  5. Please tell us anything else you’d like us to know about you that we haven’t covered.
  6. What questions do you have for us?

Reference Call Script

Please take notes. Begin with introductions of each participant (name, title, and department/office). Each person should state their name before asking their question.

Thanks so much for making time for this call. I’d like to first introduce the folks we have on the call today. [Introductions here.] As you know, I’m calling to ask questions about __ who is a candidate for the tenure-track position in our department. The search committee has conducted a telephone interview with her/him. She/he is now a finalist for the position.

I have a few questions I’d like to ask you about __ but first let me tell you a little bit about the position. [At this point, you might describe the area of focus for teaching and research, provide a brief description of tenure criteria (balanced among teaching, scholarship, and service), and one or two other items that you consider key to this hire such as supervising undergraduate research or the connection between this position and of areas of teaching/research in your department or an interdisciplinary program.]

We have 30 minutes together today, and we will ask all references the same questions, so we plan on staying with our scripted questions. Thanks for your understanding in this regard. Does that sound alright? Okay, let’s begin.

  1. What are the special talents or abilities you think __ will bring to this position?
  2. Can you provide an example of his/her excellence in teaching?
  3. In what ways does __ need to grow or improve in his/her professional life?
  4. Gustavus has a strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Can you give us examples of how __ will be able to contribute to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives?
  5. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about _?

Non-Tenure-Track Campus Visit Schedule

Monday, October 9

  • 3:30 p.m. Arrive at Minneapolis airport. Steve Smith, Associate Professor of Linguistics, will meet you.
  • 5:30 p.m. Arrive at campus Guest House.
  • 6:00 p.m. Dinner with Linguistics Department colleagues Angela Jones, Assistant Professor and Alex Vining, Professor. Professor Jones will pick you up at the Guest House (non-evaluative).

Tuesday, October 10

  • 7:30-8:00 a.m. Breakfast with Professor Susan Anderson, Linguistics department chair. She will meet you at the Guest House (non-evaluative).
  • 8:15-9:15 a.m. Search Committee Interview with Angela Jones, Alex Vining, Steve Smith, Susan Anderson (evaluative).
  • 9:20-10:00 a.m. Visit the campus library to see linguistics holdings, computer classrooms, meet with department’s library liaison Associate Professor Jon Bren (non-evaluative).
  • 10:00-10:20 a.m. Daily Sabbath at Christ Chapel (optional and non-evaluative).
  • 10:30-11:00 a.m. Interview with Dean Micah Maatman, Carlson Building 219 (evaluative).
  • 11:00-11:30 a.m. Prep for teaching demonstration.
  • 11:30-12: 30 p.m. Teach LIN 101 Basic Linguistics, Confer 101 (evaluative).
  • 12:30-1:30 p.m. Lunch with students who are linguistics majors (evaluative).
  • 3:30-5:00 p.m. Tour of Saint Peter and Mankato with Angela Jones and return to Minneapolis airport for 7:30 p.m. flight (non-evaluative).

Emails to Applicants

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

Complete application email reply

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 Chair

Incomplete application email reply

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 Chair

Emails to 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 (+50) 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 __:
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 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 Chair

3. After the campus interview. The search chair should contact by telephone or email the candidate(s) who was/were 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 chair should not offer additional information to the applicant. The dean and search chair will decide together whether phone or email is appropriate.

Last modified: 6 May 2020, by Shanon Nowell