Faculty Search: Full-Time

College of Arts & Sciences | Faculty Resources | Faculty Search: Full-Time

This document describes the steps needed to conduct a search for a full-time faculty member (either term or tenure-track) in the College of Arts and Sciences at USF. It begins with a checklist, followed by more discussion of each step.

  1. Department chair receives official permission from the Dean to search.
  2. Job advertisement is prepared.
  3. A Gnosis search site is created and the job advertisement is placed.
  4. Search committee is assembled.
  5. Search committee is briefed on protocol.
  6. Search committee agrees on a selection process and recommends final candidates.
  7. Search committee prepares the Initial Search Report and meets with the Dean and Associate Dean to discuss on-campus visits.
  8. Finalists are invited to campus.
  9. Committee discusses candidates, prepares a final report, and meets with the Dean and Associate Dean to present recommendations.
  10. The Dean submits a Request to Offer to the Provost.
  11. Negotiations conclude.
  12. The search is closed.

1) Department chair receives official permission from the Dean to search

Before beginning a search, the department chair must meet with the Dean and/or Associate Dean to discuss the parameters of the search and receive official permission. This conversation should include whether the position is term or tenure-track, the areas of need or specialization, and any anticipated resource issues such as space or startup.

2) Job advertisement is prepared

The Dean’s Office provides a template for the job advertisement, which the search committee uses to draft a job description. Once drafted, it is sent to the Dean and/or Associate Dean for approval. The description should address qualifications and degree requirements, criteria for a successful candidate, teaching and scholarly expectations, and desired fields or specialties, as well as required language regarding USF's affirmative action and other hiring statements. It should also note instructions for applying using Gnosis and include a deadline. The committee should also identify venues to advertise this position that will ensure a robust and diverse pool of applicants.

3) A Gnosis search site is created and the job advertisement is placed

Before the advertisement is placed, Brigid Torres (Director of Administrative Services) will create a Gnosis site for the search. The committee should identify someone (usually a departmental program assistant) who will be responsible for maintaining the search on Gnosis. Brigid Torres will inform the program assistant of their responsibilities during the search. The program assistant will set up the Gnosis site with the parameters of the search and inform the appropriate Associate Dean’s Assistant that the site is “live” and able to accept applications. Once the Gnosis site is “live,” the Associate Dean’s Assistant will post the advertisement through the USF jobs site. The appropriate Associate Dean's office then works with HR to verify and place the ads. For some searches, the program assistant may assist with placing the external advertisements. In this case, the budget for these advertisements must be approved by the Associate Dean in advance.

Please note that many venues only accept ads once or twice a month, so it is important to have an adequate lead time.

Gnosis training will be provided for those who need it.

4) Search committee is assembled

The Dean's office will work with the department to assemble a search committee consisting of a chair, 2-4 full-time faculty from the department, and an external faculty member. The chair is often the department chair, although this is not a requirement. The external member is officially invited by the Dean's office. The search committee chair should meet with the Associate Dean to discuss the search and determine a timeline for the search.

Please note that it is highly encouraged for the search committee to create a rough timeline for the various components of the search, and to schedule the necessary meetings with the Associate Dean and/or Dean in advance.

5) Search committee is briefed on protocol

The search committee must attend a faculty search briefing, arranged by Brigid Torres, to discuss the rules and regulations surrounding faculty searches. This should occur even if committee members may have participated in searches in the past. Issues to be discussed include, but are not limited to:

  • Best practices for communicating with applicants
  • Ensuring a diverse pool of applicants.
  • Rules for fair evaluation of all applicants
  • Dealing with conflict of interest and internal candidates
  • Privacy concerns
  • Questions that may and may not be asked of applicants during the interview process.
  • Detailed overview of the College procedures.
  • Basic introduction to Gnosis.

6) Search committee agrees on a selection process and recommends final candidates

The committee should decide upon and implement a selection process that is fair, inclusive, and meets the needs of the specific discipline. Issues to address include:

  • All applicants must receive the same treatment.
  • All applications received before the deadline must be read. If the committee decides to extend the deadline, all applications arriving before the extension must be read.
  • For large searches, the committee may decide that, in the initial pass, not all applications are read by every member. However, they must ensure that each application is read by at least two members. One approach for a committee of 4 members would be to divide the applications into 4 groups (1,2,3,4) and have the first member read groups 1,2,3, the second read 1,2,4, the third read 1,3,4, and the fourth read 2,3,4.
  • In some fields, it is expected that some initial interviews take place at a national conference. If this is the case, committee members should discuss it with the appropriate Associate Dean and, if approved, coordinate with the A&S Operations Office regarding travel.
  • The committee should decide on a process and criteria to select a set of semi-finalists. These semi-finalists are then interviewed via phone or Skype, or at a national conference, if appropriate to the search field. For these interviews, a standard set of questions should be used, and a standard protocol followed (for example, all interviews should be the same length). If possible, all committee members should participate in all phone interviews.
  • Based on this process, the committee should recommend no more than three finalists for on-campus interviews. In rare cases, more than three candidates may be considered, but this is strongly discouraged.

7) Search committee prepares the Initial Search Report and meets with the Dean and Associate Dean to discuss on-campus visits

Once the committee has identified candidates that they would like to bring to campus for on-site visits, the search committee chair should prepare a report that describes the search process and each candidate. After sending the report to the Dean and/or Associate Dean, all members of the search committee meet with the Dean and/or Associate Dean to have this list approved.

Example: Faculty Search Committee Chair Final Report

This report must be made available to the Dean and Associate Dean with appropriate lead time for consideration (at least 48 hours) before the meeting takes place.

The report should address the following questions:

  • How many applications were received and reviewed?
  • Where was the job advertised? What steps were taken to ensure a diverse pool of applicants?
  • What job-related criteria were established and applied in reviewing the applicants?
  • What procedure was used to select semi-finalists and finalists for on-campus interviews?
  • Is the search committee unanimous in its selection of the finalists?
  • What are the qualifications and strengths of each of the candidates proposed for on-campus interviews?
  • What will be the elements of the campus visit? How will you include students and assess their views?

8) Finalists are invited to campus

Once the Dean has given approval, the search committee chair may contact the finalists and invite them. Best practice is that candidates purchase their own ticket and apply for reimbursement and the university provides a hotel. The program assistant usually assists with logistics, but the Dean's office staff may assist with logistics if necessary.

The format for the campus visit is determined by the search committee, but must include a meeting with the Dean and/or Associate Dean, meetings with faculty and students, and a demonstration of the candidate's teaching and research (for a tenure-track search). The search committee chair should ensure that all candidate presentations are recorded on video, making the recordings available to the Dean, Associate Dean, and committee members, preferably using a confidential online format with enough time for these to be reviewed before any meetings. The committee may also take the candidate to dinner; the search committee chair should work with the A&S Operations Office for the details as to what is allowed.

After the finalists have been invited to campus, the program assistant must ensure that the application information for the finalists is entered into HR’s PeopleAdmin system. This step is required before the Request to Offer can be initiated, once the Dean/Associate Dean approves the recommended hire of the preferred candidate.

9) Committee discusses candidates, prepares a final report, and meets with the Dean and Associate Dean to present recommendations

Once all candidates have visited, the committee should discuss the candidates among themselves and with the department and prepare a Final Search Report summarizing their recommendations. This report should include a discussion of each candidate's feasibility and ranking.

The format for the campus visit is determined by the search committee, but should include a meeting with the Dean and/or Associate Dean, meetings with faculty and students, and a demonstration of the candidate's teaching and research (for a tenure-track search). The search committee chair should ensure that all candidate presentations are recorded on video, making the recordings available to the Dean, Associate Dean, and committee members, preferably using a confidential online format. The committee may also take the candidate to dinner; the search committee chair should work with the A&S Budget Office for the details as to what is allowed.

Example: Faculty Search Committee Chair Final Report

A best practice would be to indicate for each candidate whether she is highly recommended, recommended, or not acceptable (and why). The report should also indicate whether there is a minority opinion. After this report is submitted to the Dean, the committee meets with the Dean and/or Associate Dean to discuss their recommendations.

This report must be made available to the Dean and Associate Dean with appropriate lead time for consideration (at least 48 hours) before the meeting takes place.

10) The Dean submits a Request to Offer to the Provost

Assuming that the Dean approves the committee's recommendation, the Dean's office submits a Request to Offer to the Provost. This is our official permission to make an offer of employment to a candidate; until it's approved, no formal offer can be made. Once it is approved, the Dean contacts the candidate to make a job offer, and negotiations begin. Until the Dean formally contacts the candidate to offer them the position, the search committee should not let the candidate know that they will be offered the job, or attempt to negotiate on the candidate's behalf.

11) Negotiations conclude

  • If the candidate accepts the offer, the Dean's office initiates a background check (upon obtaining consent from the successful candidate). Once the background check clears, the Provost’s Office sends an appointment letter to the candidate.
  • If the candidate declines the offer, the committee then meets with the Dean and/or Associate Dean to discuss alternatives, which could include offering to one of the other finalists, considering other candidates, cancelling or postponing the search.

12) Search Closes

Once the search is completed, either through a successful hire or a cancellation, it is closed. The search committee chair should ensure that unsuccessful candidates are notified. Best practice is to notify short-listed candidates personally by phone; others may receive a form letter (which can be automatically sent using a customized message in Gnosis). This notification should be short and straightforward: the position has been filled. No information should be given about who received the job, or why a candidate was not deemed suitable.

  • All search files, interview notes, and teaching evaluations should be collected and provided to Patricia Chuakay Lim for record purposes.
  • he Program Assistant should upload the Initial and Final Search Reports to Gnosis.

Guidelines to remember

  • All offers and negotiations are handled by the Dean's office. Faculty may make recommendations, but only the Dean or Associate Dean can officially offer a position or engage in negotiations. The search committee is strongly encouraged to follow the Dean's lead on this and avoid offering the candidates their opinion as to what he or she "should be asking for." The Dean's office will do its best to be inclusive and work with the departments in crafting a competitive offer.
  • Until the actual offer is made by the Dean's office, the search committee should refrain from letting the successful applicant know that they will receive an offer. The Dean or Associate Dean will let the committee know when an offer has been made; at that point, the committee may contact the candidate to encourage them to accept.
  • During all stages of the interview process, the committee should refrain from asking the candidates about their personal life, including whether they have a spouse/partner or children. If the candidate volunteers this information, the committee should not follow up.
  • Until the search is completed, either through the acceptance of an offer or the cancellation of the search, the committee should refrain from telling any candidates that they are no longer under consideration. If a candidate calls and needs some information (for example, they are trying to decide whether to accept a competing offer) they can be told that the search is ongoing and whether they are currently under consideration for the most recent stage of the process. (For example, whether they are currently slated to receive a phone interview.) However, the committee should keep in mind that, until the search is concluded, there's always the possibility that a candidate might be reconsidered.
  • All members of the search committee must be present for any discussions or meetings about the search or the candidates.
  • It is extremely important that all candidates be treated fairly and given the same consideration.
  • Complications and challenges may arise in the search process. The committee should endeavor to keep the Dean or Associate Dean informed of any potential difficulties, and also apprise him or her of any potential issues they are aware of (for example, other offers, spousal or partner hiring issues, or specific space needs) in a timely manner. This will afford the Dean the best chance of being able to successfully address these problems.
  • Note: For short-term positions (such as sabbatical replacement), the Dean's office may choose to abridge this process and eliminate one or more of the steps after #1 and #2.

If you are a member of a search committee, please declare that you have read this document and understood the procedures to follow during a faculty search.