Tenure-Track Search Process Guide

7.0 Search wrap-up

7.1 Making the job offer
7.2 Evaluation of the search process
7.3 Records retention
7.4 Affirmative action reporting
7.5 Welcoming the new faculty member
7.6 Resources: Templates for notifying candidates no longer under consideration

7.1 Making the job offer

The Provost’s Office receives the recommendation from the search committee and either makes the offer to the top candidate or seeks additional information from the search chair.

The offer of employment is made by the Dean. At that time, issues of salary, start-up funds, 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/search chair. 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. However, if a candidate initiates contact, the faculty member is free to respond.

The candidate may want to make an additional visit to campus, at his/her own expense. The department/program should accommodate this visit, along with any meetings requested.

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 letter of intent is received, or when the rejection of offer is received. The search is not complete and we do not notify other candidates of the search outcome until we have a signed letter of intent.

The candidate’s experience at this stage of the process may still influence whether or not they decide to accept the offer. If possible, offer the candidate a second campus visit.

Recommended Practice*

Associated Challenges

Respond to any queries from the top candidate to answer any questions or address concerns he/she may have. In addition, share departmental enthusiasm for the strengths the candidate will bring to the department

The experience of candidates at any stage of the process can contribute to their decision to accept an offer. Being unresponsive or inadequately addressing their questions or concerns can contribute to a candidate’s negative assessment of the department and/or institution

The search chair should communicate to the Dean and Provost any possible “sticking points” such as salary and dual career issues that have emerged during the process.

Giving up too soon when there are challenging issues, and/or not fully understanding the interests of the candidate may lead to losing a strong candidate over resolvable issues

The search chair should communicate to the Dean and Provost any recommendations seen to be important to a potential offer: start up support, teaching load, assigned space, salary, credit towards tenure, travel and other research support. (Turner, 2002)

To the degree that there are aspects of an offer that are not considered, there are further missed opportunities to addressed the candidate’s interests and create a more appealing offer

Aspects that can often be important to candidates include: salary, course release time, initial teaching load, lab equipment, initial service expectations, tenure clock stoppage, lab space, renovation of lab space, library funds, moving expenses, assistance with partner/spouse position, tuition exchange for dependents, other issues of concern to the candidate. Provide a list of what can and cannot be negotiated to the candidate.

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 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.

7.2 Evaluation of the search process

The full search committee should meet one final time after the new hire is confirmed to debrief the search. Addressing the following questions will be helpful for the department/program and the Provost’s Office.

  • Did the committee use the suggested practices?
  • What parts of the search process worked well?
  • What parts did not work well? How might they be improved?
  • Was the applicant pool diverse? Could the job description have been constructed in a way that would have brought in a broader pool of applicants?
  • Could the department/program have recruited more actively?
  • Were any promising candidates discovered during this search? If so, keep these individuals on file for future searches.
  • How did the finalists perceive the recruitment process? Brief interviews with the finalists can yield valuable feedback. In particular, if a candidate turns down the offer, ascertaining what may have helped them say yes could be useful in the future.

7.3 Records retention

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 (https://gustavus.edu/gts/instructionalservices/jobsearchusinggd.php). In addition, Associate Director of Instructional Services, Marni Dunning (mdunning@gustavus.edu), 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: https://gustavus.edu/facultybook/allcollegepolicies/#recordRetention) require that all applications be retained upon the conclusion of a search for three years. 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 chair will receive a Search Summary Form from the Provost’s Office. The form must 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 jjenson@gustavus.edu or Adrianna Darden at adarden@gustavus.edu) for retention. Files will be destroyed after three years.

7.4 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.” 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). The Assistant Director of Human Resources can provide guidance regarding reporting candidate information from faculty searches.

Affirmative Action Documents: https://gustavus.edu/humanresources/benefits/

7.5 Welcoming the new faculty member

During the year in which a new tenure-line faculty member is hired, departments need to ensure that the teaching schedule submitted for the incoming faculty member allows them 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.

Traditionally, most new faculty members were expected to assimilate into the existing culture of the department/program by fully conforming to the norms of the existing faculty group. As a result, the benefits of diversity in research, teaching styles, past experiences, life stories and cultural lenses are greatly diminished. A growing body of research indicates that diverse working groups are stronger than homogenous groups in terms of production, creativity, and innovation.

In addition, underrepresented faculty often experience a set of challenges that majority faculty don’t, including (a) implicit expectations to work harder than their colleagues (b) serving as a primary resource for racial, ethnic or gender issues within the department; (c) treatment as a “token” representative on committees; (d) having their identity as a woman, person of color, or other underrepresented identity supersede their professional capacities and accomplishments (Smith et al., 2002; Turner, 2002).

To mitigate against these negatives, the department should develop a plan for integrating the new colleague into the life of the department/program and college and make sure s/he has access to resources that will promote success. In particular, the department should consider why the position was needed and make sure the person has access to resources to succeed in meeting those goals. Further, the department chair can be in touch with the new colleague to see what attracted the person to the position and what needs can be anticipated in advance. Finally, the department should proactively consider how the colleague may diversify the department and support this diversification as it occurs.

The goal is to welcome the new colleague into the college, help them feel at home, and then help them take ownership over their role at the college. Please contact the FADIE for further ideas and support in integrating the new college into the college.

New faculty members should not normally take on service work during the first year of the appointment, in order to be able to focus on teaching and research. However, exceptions are noted below.

Recommended Practice

Associated Challenges

Create informal mentoring opportunities for all new faculty members within and outside the department/program.

Mentoring programs take time, intention, knowledge of best and promising practices to set up successfully. Throwing together a last minute mentoring opportunity for a new colleague can backfire.

Pay close attention to the ways in which new underrepresented faculty may be asked to take on advising and/or service loads that are inconsistent with expectations of other members of the department.

When differences in service and/or advising loads are not recognized and accounted for, there can be a direct and negative impact on teaching, research agenda and ultimate professional advancement of underrepresented faculty.

Some forms of service and advising can contribute to a positive sense of purpose, belonging and/or community, so these practices should not be discouraged. However new faculty should be encouraged to seek balance in how their professional time is allocated.

Without this recognition, opportunities for new faculty to integrate and positively impact students may be missed.

To the degree that new underrepresented faculty do end up engaging in greater service or advising loads compensate for their time in other ways.

When such compensation is not made, the new faculty member can feel unsupported, treated unfairly and may decide to leave. In particular, this service could be emphasized in third year review and tenure letters.

Offer to assist new faculty members find resources in the community as they begin to integrate as a new community member.

If a new faculty member does not feel a sense of community, s/he will be less likely to remain.

7.6 Resources

Templates for 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 (+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: 9 November 2017, by Shanon Nowell