The Faculty Handbook discusses searches in Chapter VII: Appointments and Status. These guidelines indicate methods for carrying out the Handbook rules.
Composition of search committees and the job ad
Department or program chairs are expected to lead the process of creating a search committee, in consultation with the Dean. All members of a department or program are eligible to be part of a search committee, although a department or program may choose to delegate search responsibilities to a smaller number of its members. Department or program members who are retiring or leaving the College for another reason are normally not members of search committees or processes, although chairs may wish to seek the advice of such faculty. Search committees must have at least four members.
All search committees for tenure-track positions must include at least one faculty member from outside the department or program. This helps search committees keep the needs of the entire community in mind and offers a valuable outsider’s perspective to the evaluation of candidates.
The search committee should be constituted before the creation of a job ad. Search committees will normally compose job ads, in consultation with the Dean. All job ads must be submitted to the Dean of the College for approval and must also include the College’s statement about inclusive hiring. Search Committee chairs and the Dean will consult about placement of job ads. In most cases, the Office of Academic Affairs will place the ads, to facilitate payment. Normally, job ads will request applicants to submit letters of recommendation and all transcripts. Please request applications to be sent to yourself, c/o Elise Meyer. Elise will aid you in sending letters of acknowledgement and later, regret.
In some cases, the Office of Academic Affairs or a department may allocate funds for one or two department members for travel to an academic conference to interview a short list of candidates. The search committee chair is encouraged to indicate to the Dean early in the process the need for interviewing at conferences, in order to budget appropriately.
Selecting Candidates for a Short List
The search committee, after reading all applications, will decide on its next steps. Some committees will seek to invite eight or ten candidates for interviews at a national or regional conference, if the timing is appropriate. Other committees will conduct phone interviews with candidates and/or call references. In most cases, the search committee should concentrate on candidates who will come to the College as Assistant Professors with the expectation of six years before a tenure decision.
When the search committee completes any preliminary interviews, the search chair will communicate to the Dean the top five candidates selected by the search committee, if possible with an indication of preference. The search committee chair will meet with the Dean to discuss the candidates and decide on those to invite to campus. The standard number of candidates to invite to campus is three, but depending on the search committee’s assessment of the strength of the pool or the cost of bringing particular candidates, it is possible to invite only one or two candidates.
These visits are designed to introduce the candidates to the mission, culture, faculty, and students of Illinois College and to allow the search committee and others to learn about the candidates’ strengths and challenges as a teacher, researcher or creative artist, and faculty colleague. These visits are our opportunity to attract strong candidates to the College.
The search chair, having consulted the Dean’s and President’s schedules, will contact the candidates and arrange the dates for on-campus visits. After the chair communicates those agreements to Elise Meyer in the Office of Academic Affairs, she will contact the candidates, make travel and lodging arrangements, and set up some parts of the candidate’s on-campus schedule. Search committees will then fill in the rest of the meetings. It is strongly encouraged that members of the search committee pick up candidates at the airport and welcome them to campus. Often, search committees choose to send candidates back to airports with a shuttle service.
The search chair should work to ensure that candidates enjoy the right balance of attention (making sure, if possible, that candidates are accompanied from meeting to meeting so they don’t get lost) and moments of reflection (for example, leaving a half-hour or an hour free to prepare for the public presentation). The candidates’ schedule should include the following. The President and Dean of the College will interview all candidates for one hour each. All members of the search committee and the department or program will normally interview candidates; depending on numbers and preference, these interviews may be individual or in groups. Candidates will meet with a group of students, often for a lunch meal. They should be left alone with the students, so that students will feel free to ask questions. Search committees in the past have often found it helpful to recruit five or six majors and ask them to meet with all candidates, to make comparisons easier. It’s rarely the case, however, that every student will be able to meet with every candidate.
Candidates will make public presentations open to the campus community; the search committee chair should carefully explain the goal of the presentation, the target audience, and other expectations. Search chairs should ask candidates well in advance for a title for the public talk and communicate that to Elise Meyer, who will make a public announcement to all faculty about the talk. Search committees should take responsibility for encouraging students to attend the public talks. Search committees should collect information from all those who meet the candidates, in order to have as full a set of information as possible when making a decision.
Normally, candidates will attend one meal with the search committee; with a large committee, only four or five faculty will join the meal. Normally, the candidates will attend another meal with three faculty who are not on the search committee or in the candidate’s intended department or program. If possible, these faculty will be chosen to match interests of the candidates, i.e., candidates interested in gender studies might meet faculty teaching in that area or candidates with young children might meet faculty who could report on options for schools and day care. These meals are both social and professional occasions. The Illinois College faculty have the opportunity to learn about the candidates’ personalities, relevant to teaching, and candidates have the opportunity to understand who their colleagues will be, what their teaching and research aspirations are, and what it would be like to live in Jacksonville.
Recommendation and Job Offer
Upon the conclusion of the candidates’ on-campus visits, the search committee will make recommendations to the Dean of the College. As stated in the Handbook, “It is expected that in most instances the search committee’s choice and the dean’s choice will coincide.” The Dean, after consultation with the President, will make all job offers.