Student Handbook

APPENDIX B: GUIDELINES FOR GRADUATE PARTICIPATION IN FACULTY RECRUITMENT

Background

Recruitment of T/TT faculty is one of our most important and consequential duties as faculty members. We are potentially hiring a new colleague for a duration of thirty or more years. Any new hire must satisfy important criteria which include: (1) a strong track record and clear promise of achieving promotion with tenure; (2) the ability to strengthen the department core clusters and/or address new areas of specialization/growing areas within the discipline; (3) the ability to bridge multiple areas of specialization; (4) the ability to strengthen ties across SAS departments and schools; (5) the ability to strengthen and/or broaden course offerings and provide mentorship at the graduate level;  (6) the needs of the undergraduate program because tuition dollars support the vast majority of the SAS (and the department) budget; and (7) the ability to satisfy a number of constituencies, including the university administration, faculty, and candidate.

The hiring decision necessitates a long-term perspective regarding the department’s interests.  The department’s by-laws, which comply with guidelines laid out by the SAS by-laws, state that each T/TT faculty member has voting rights on the hire of a new T/TT faculty member.  NTT faculty, who are currently appointed on three-year contracts, and students, who are short-term members of the department, play an advisory role in the hiring process, but they do not have voting rights on positions outside of their track or rank.  This voting structure is consistent with that found across American universities.

Nonetheless, graduate student perspectives on potential hires are valuable in faculty deliberations, and student involvement in our recruitment efforts is essential to a successful outcome.  Moreover, the experience of serving as a search committee rep provides students with valuable insight into the academic job market. This document offers guidelines and expectations for both faculty and students about roles in the hiring process. 

Student Involvement in Hiring Efforts

GUSS should select a graduate student to serve in an advisory capacity on the recruitment committee no later than August of the year in which they will serve.  Typically, selection of the short list of candidates is complete by early October, with campus visits to follow later in the month.  An official job offer to our top candidate is often made in November.

The GUSS student rep will have the following responsibilities:

  1. Meet with the search committee chair to discuss expectations regarding the hiring process and timing of key events at the beginning of the semester. In particular, the chair and student rep should discuss and anticipate any periods that may be active and rushed (e.g. when faculty are making decisions about applications, interviews, and/or offers).
  2. Meet with and/or survey other graduate students to identify graduate student priorities (e.g. substantive area; methodological expertise; diversity) in a new faculty hire. The student rep should share this information with the committee at an early date so that faculty committee members can keep these criteria in mind as they review applications.
  3. Access and review the applications (minus letters of recommendation) via online HR process.
  4. Prior to the faculty deliberations selecting long/short lists of candidates, the graduate student rep should pass on any additional information on criteria important to graduate students in the hire. The rep is welcome to provide names of candidates whom s/he finds particularly appealing.
  5. Encourage and secure graduate student involvement in the campus visits. This consists of: hosting the candidate luncheon with graduate students, typically held after the job talk; encouraging graduate students to attend both the job talk and the lunch; and obtaining feedback on the candidates after the visit. The student rep is encouraged to collect feedback on candidates as soon as possible after each visit and while impressions are fresh. Keep in mind that the faculty typically meet to make a hiring decision very shortly after the last candidate interview.
  6. The graduate student rep usually provides a brief summary of graduate student reactions at the beginning of the faculty hiring meeting. This graduate student feedback is an essential piece of information used in faculty deliberations on hiring. Faculty do not require a formal ranking of graduate student preferences of candidates.  Rather, the following feedback on job candidates is especially useful. 
    1. Number of students who attended talk and/or lunch
    2. Composite feedback from graduate students who met the candidates in the following areas:
      1. Graduate mentorship
      2. Filling gaps/needs in department from the graduate student perspective
      3. Graduate teaching
      4. Any other thoughts
    3. Thoughts about the candidates from students who were unable to meet them.
  7. The search chair will communicate with the graduate student rep once an offer has gone out, to let him/her know the outcome and answer any broad questions about the process.