Office for Faculty Development

Conducting Searches

Generally, searches are conducted by a group of faculty from within the department, and one person from that group is designated as chair of the recruitment/search committee. The search committee chair should keep the Department Chair informed at each stage of the process. Thus, though many of the ongoing actions, such as scheduling meetings of the search committee or determining the semi-finalist list are the responsibility of the search committee chair to coordinate, as department chair you should be informed at key stages of the process. It is especially important that you be informed by the search committee chair of any challenges facing the committee, and that you meet periodically with the search committee chair to get a quick update.

Quick Overview of Process

This section is intended to provide you a broad overview of the search process. Your Dean likely provides details specific for your college. Additionally, for more in-depth description of each phase, please see the Search Committee Resource Booklet. The Office for Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) also has a PowerPoint presentation that outlines the Hiring Process with information about the forms for each stage of the process.

Pre Search

  • The department chair must submit a formal justification and a request for replacing the position to the Dean.
    • The request should clearly delineate the programmatic need in the context of quantitative measures such as student IFTE to full-time faculty ratio, number of majors to full-time faculty ratio, and ratio of tenure-stream to non-tenure-track faculty. Each opening can be an opportunity to think not only about departmental priorities, but also about strategic college- and university-level needs.
    • The formal request should come out of broad discussions within the department and should reflect the department’s strategic plan.
  • While searches may begin at any time, to be assured of a robust applicant pool, most tenure-track searches are advertised in early Fall (sometimes even in Summer) so that the recruiting process can take place through the fall semester and winter months, and offers can be extended by no later than early Spring.


  • The approved position is posted in appropriate and high-impact venues suggested by the department and subject to approval by the Provost’s Office, which consults with the department if budgetary constraints call for modifying the number of venues in which the position can be advertised. 
  • The semi-finalist list gets narrowed down to three or four finalists. (Please note that individual deans may limit the number of candidates for whom they will reimburse search-related expenses.) The finalist list must also be approved by Dean, Provost and ODI. No one may be invited to campus until all these approvals have been received.
  • Next, the finalist candidates are brought to campus for interviews and activities.
  • It is important for the department chair to have an exit interview with the candidate toward the end of the visit. Give the candidate a chance to ask any final questions s/he may have. Tell the candidate what you project to be the timetable for the search, and when to expect a phone call. Ask if there's anything that affects the candidate’s timetable.

Making the decision

  • If the Dean approves of the committee’s recommendation, s/he will sign and forward the necessary forms to the Office of the Provost. The Provost’s Office will seek ODI approval for the recommendation. No offer, verbal or written, can be made or even hinted at until approvals are received from the ODI and Provost. The Provost’s Office will respond to the Dean.

The offer and its aftermath

  • Discuss the terms of the offer in advance with your Dean and decide who will make the offer and discuss terms with the candidate. It is typically the Dean who makes the formal offer.
  • The Dean will extend a reasonable amount of time for the candidate to consider the offer, usually one to two weeks, depending on circumstances.
  • The search is not complete until the offer has been accepted in writing. After a verbal acceptance over the phone, the Dean will send out a written offer letter after first seeking approval for its terms from the Provost’s Office. The candidate's written response to that letter seals the search, and they will be asked to sign an Offer and Acceptance form (sometimes called “the contract”). 
  • Should the candidate not be a U.S. citizen, extra work may need to be done by the College regarding visas and other pre-employment matters. The Office of the Provost and HR have a good deal of experience with these matters and will assist the candidate.