Procedures for Recruiting Faculty
Before reviewing the procedures which govern the recruitment and selection of full-time members of the faculty, it is important to recall with all of the persons who will be engaged in all or some part of the process that the interview materials, the private discussions about the merits of all or any candidates, and the conclusions of a search process (beyond the simple facts that a search is completed or cancelled) are strictly confidential. In no circumstance should candidates who were part of a short list, or who visited the campus as applicants, be informed or counseled about the merits or problems with their candidacies.
The procedures outlined below are intended to provide guidance for the recruitment and selection of full-time members of the faculty.* Such procedures have generally proved serviceable in the past, but improvement or refinement is still possible. Any suggestions that might increase the likelihood of finding and securing the best possible candidates for the College are welcome.
The Division Chair notifies the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty of any impending vacancy as soon as it becomes evident. After discussion with the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty, the Division Chair writes a position request and a “position announcement.” The request and position announcement are reviewed by the Division Council in light of other requests from all divisions. A Division Chair will need to plan for sufficient time for this review to occur. The deadline for new position proposals and returning/replacement position proposals is December 1 for the next academic year. The position announcement serves as the basis for advertising the vacancy. All full-time vacancies are advertised.
Unless otherwise established in consultation with the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty, the Division Chair or Program Chair will chair the search committee and take the initiative in seeking candidates. Both the Division Chair and Program Chair will serve on the search committee, generally with one of them serving as the chair. The search committee will normally consist of three to five faculty, including at least one faculty member from outside the division. In addition, the same two to three students should be involved in the on-campus interviews of all candidates for a particular position. The President and the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty are ex officio members of all search committees. As the search proceeds, the chair of the search committee should keep the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty apprised of important developments.
It is important that all search committees make a special effort to seek out minority candidates and/or female candidates. Graduate schools with a high proportion of minorities (see list at the end of this section) should be contacted and followed up with personal calls whenever possible. Faculty should develop and use personal contacts and networks to identify prospective minority and/or female candidates. Several current databases listing such candidates may also be consulted in the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty’s Office.
*Since part-time faculty are not recruited nationally, all the procedures listed here do not apply. Such appointments are arranged by the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty in consultation with Division Chairs and Program Chairs.
Accomplishment of Berea’s special goals and compliance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act make it important that:
Prospective candidates be given as complete an understanding as possible concerning the kind of college Berea is. Thus, all candidates invited to campus receive the position announcement, the President’s “Letter to Prospective Candidates,” and selected brochures in their welcome packet.
We make clear in all public announcements that Berea recognizes a special responsibility to seek and give full consideration to candidates who are women or members of ethnic and racial minority groups. The statement most commonly used to make this point is “Berea College, in light of its mission in the tradition of impartial love and social equality, welcomes all peoples of the earth to learn and work here.”
All individuals who express an interest in a vacancy should be given equal consideration. Thus the same information (e.g., curriculum vitae, application letter, names of references) should be requested from all interested individuals.
All files of individuals who express an interest in a vacancy need to be maintained for five years. Such files should be maintained in the division office.
All candidates should receive from the search committee chair a prompt acknowledgment of their inquiry. Text which includes at least the following points is recommended:
As Chair of the Search Committee, I am acknowledging receipt of your application materials for [name of the vacant position]. I note that at this time [your application materials are complete] or [that we have not yet received (list missing materials: curriculum vitae, application letter, and/or names of references)]. The deadline for submission of all materials is [indicate date].
Before such acknowledgements are made, the chair of the search committee must be certain that he/she is accurate in determining that an application is complete, or in the case of an incomplete application, that the listing of deficiencies is appropriate. An applicant could be prejudiced by inappropriate advice and later seek to hold the College responsible for such an error.
Following initial screening, those no longer being given active consideration should be so advised by the chair and thanked for applying. This letter of advisement should be cordial but neutral. The following text is recommended:
As Chair of the Search Committee I wish to inform you that your application for the position of [name the position] is no longer under active consideration. I thank you for your interest in Berea College.
Those still under consideration should receive a personal letter or phone call from the chair, affirming Berea’s interest in their candidacy. That contact can also be used to solicit additional information about the candidate and to provide information about the College or the position. It is generally desirable to ask the most promising candidates to respond in writing to the information about the College. One purpose of such a statement is to demonstrate understanding of Berea’s character and special purpose.
According to the timetable established by the chair of the search committee and the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty, the search committee should select the five to eight most favored candidates. The dossiers for each of those selected should be forwarded for examination by the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty. The Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty and the chair of the search committee will then discuss the candidates before anyone is invited for an interview. A complete dossier normally consists of curriculum vitae, transcripts, letters of recommendation and all correspondence with the candidate.
The invitation to visit the campus will generally be issued by the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty’s Office after consultation with the chair of the search committee. The Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty’s Office will inform the chair of the search committee of the date and time of arrival and departure. Candidates will generally be asked to spend one and one-half days on the campus.
The Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty’s Office will make arrangements for (1) overnight accommodations at Boone Tavern, and (2) interviews with the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty. Generally, we will try to schedule an hour interview with the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty at the beginning of the visit and at the conclusion of the visit.
The chair of the search committee should develop an itinerary to be distributed to the candidate and members of the committee. This itinerary should arrange both formal and informal meetings between the candidate and members of the committee. These meetings may be scheduled individually or in groups of two. Committee members should meet with the candidates for about an hour each. Whenever the position includes teaching responsibilities in general education, an interview should also be arranged with the Dean of Curriculum and Student Learning. A copy of the itinerary and candidate’s papers should be forwarded to the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty prior to the visit.
In preparing the itinerary, please keep in mind that campus visits can be tiring. Try to provide candidates one or two breaks during the day; time to gather one’s thoughts may be especially important before making a presentation.
Some of the other arrangements to be considered include the following:
Transportation arrangements to and from the airport are to be made when necessary. It is understood that the chair of the search committee will make such arrangements. College cars should be used when available; use of private cars will be reimbursed.
All candidates should be given the opportunity to meet with a group of two to four students informally, perhaps with lunch at food service.
A formal presentation to a class or a mixed group of students/faculty should be arranged at a mutually convenient time. The chair of the search committee should discuss the forum and topic of the presentation with the candidate in advance of the visit. The purpose of the presentation should be to give the candidate an opportunity to demonstrate teaching ability, including responding to questions concerning the topic.
Candidates invited to the campus should be informed that we would be pleased to have their spouses/partners accompany them to Berea. The College will provide lodging and meals for the spouse/partner, but we cannot pay for the spouse’s/partner’s transportation. Spouses/partners who do accompany the candidates generally appreciate being informed of the campus tours and special events of interest. If there is any possibility that they may be interested in College housing, advance arrangements should be made for them to meet with the administrator at People Services in charge of rental property.
Upon the candidate’s arrival, it is usually helpful to provide a campus map and College materials (if not already received). All requests for reimbursement of candidate expenses should be presented to the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty’s Office.
After all candidates to be interviewed have visited the campus, the chair of the search committee will solicit the views of the search committee. The chair of the search committee, the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty, the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the Dean of Curriculum and Student Learning will then confer and agree on a candidate.
Agreement having been reached, the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty will complete negotiations with the candidate and forward an invitation letter.
As part of the appointment process, after obtaining permission from the candidate, a background check would be conducted through the College's Office of People Services at the request of the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty. Hiring any employee, particularly a member of the faculty, is one of the most important decisions an institution of higher education can make. A background check is a search for "public" records--including relevant civil judgments, arrest and conviction records at the local, state, and federal levels. Hence, it is not intrusive in the sense of seeking private information about a job candidate. In accordance with federal and state laws, adverse information about an applicant will not automatically disqualify the individual from consideration from employment with the College. In such instances, the applicant will be given an opportunity to review the background check results, correct the record, if applicable, and submit an explanation. A determination of whether information obtained from a background check should disqualify a candidate from further consideration would be the responsibility of the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty, in consultation with the Division Council.
After the candidate accepts the offer, the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty acknowledges acceptance.
Once a search is complete and the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty has made the appointment, the chair of the search committee should notify formerly active candidates that the search is concluded and an appointment made. The following text for these letters is recommended:
As Chair of the Search Committee I wish to inform you that an appointment has been made for [name of position]. Your application is no longer under consideration. I thank you for your interest in Berea College and for your visit to Berea’s campus.
There is a great temptation in writing such letters to include words and phrases like “I regret to inform you…” or “It was a very difficult decision…” or “You are a very qualified candidate, but…” These gestures are well-intended but can be (and have been in some cases) distorted by unsuccessful candidates. Such statements should always be avoided.
If the search is cancelled, the chair of the search committee should notify formerly active candidates that the search has been cancelled. The following text is recommended for these letters:
As Chair of the Search Committee I wish to inform you that the search for [name the position] has been cancelled. The position is not being filled at this time. Your application is no longer under consideration. I thank you for your interest in Berea College and for your visit to our campus.
Graduate Schools Ranking High in the Number of Minority Professional Doctoral Degrees Awarded for all Disciplines Combined
Nova Southeastern University
University of Southern California
Rutgers University-New Brunswick
University of Florida
Western University of Health Sciences
University of Illinois at Chicago
University of the Pacific
New York University
University of Maryland-Baltimore
Columbia University in the City of New York
Texas Southern University
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
George Washington University
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Loma Linda University
University of California-Los Angeles
Texas A & M University-College Station
University of California-San Francisco
Western Michigan University-Thomas M. Cooley Law School
St. Johns University-New York
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
University of Miami
University of Houston
University of Pennsylvania
Ohio State University-Main Campus
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of California-Hastings College of Law
University of Washington-Seattle Campus
The University of Texas at Austin
University of California-Davis
Loyola Marymount University
Midwestern University-Downers Grove
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
University of California-Berkeley
Florida Coastal School of Law
A. T. Still University of Health Sciences
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Virginia Commonwealth University
Source: Diverse: Issues in Higher Education analysis of U.S. Department of Education data for 2015 as reported at http://diverseeducation.com/top100/.