Affirmative Action

6.1 Initial Stage - Affirmative Action Searches

Searches that drag on interminably have a frustrating and negative effect on both the members of the committee and the candidates. Timelines and deadlines should be established and followed. Before the beginning of each semester, the committee should set an intensive meeting schedule so they can complete their tasks in a timely manner. It is easier to cancel some unnecessary meetings than it is to add extra meetings after committee members have established their schedules for the semester. Activities for which the search committee may wish to establish dates and deadlines are:

Each committee member should have an opportunity to state her or his personal vision for this appointment. This type of discussion helps foster understanding among the committee members. Concerns voiced by committee members should be considered as they arise. Prompt and fair resolutions of conflict among committee members will promote cooperation. The committee should discuss and agree upon operational ground rules such as the following:

The various types of letters to be sent from the search committee (letters requesting the names of candidates, letters informing individuals that they have been nominated, letters thanking nominators, letters acknowledging receipt of applicant's materials) should be developed early in the search process. It is useful to discuss how records will be kept and where dossiers will be placed for committee members to review. The committee may also want to create a checklist of items that it wishes to receive from the applicant, so that the individual may be contacted if anything is missing.

The selection criteria and screening procedures should also be determined at this point and not after materials from the applicants arrive. The qualifications applicants must possess and the standards for judgment by the committee should be clearly understood and endorsed by its members. The relative weight, for instance, given to publications, teaching, service, community activities, letters of recommendation and the ability to enhance cultural diversity and richness should be thoroughly discussed at the start of the search process by the committee. The committee must also determine how reference information will be collected (e.g., letters, telephone calls, a combination of both).

The unit administrator should keep in touch with the committee chairperson or with the whole committee on a regular basis throughout the search process.

Back to the Handbook for Faculty Searches with Special Reference to Affirmative Action