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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Considerations for faculty recruitment

I reported to you earlier on our faculty recruitment results for 2016-17. Because I neglected to do so in that post, I wanted to take a moment to restate what the Associate Deans and I take into account when authorizing faculty searches. I know that there is often worry that faculty recruitment results from a mechanistic or formulaic data-deterministic analysis, but that is not the case. A number of factors are relevant, including: the significance of a position for departmental strategic planning and building/rebuilding/maintaining excellence and strong ratings and rankings; critical needs to address substantial and immediate curricular/intellectual gaps; trends in majors, student credit hour pressures, and increased teaching loads on faculty; exciting intellectual and curricular innovations often building upon current strengths, including potentially in clusters; upcoming retirements; and accreditation issues. We have also considered “exceptional hires” or “targets of opportunity” in situations where a short-term opportunity exists to make a hire of sufficient significance and impact that it would justify not using our standard open-search processes. Of course, as we all know, all of these factors are operating in balance with the need to address other important unit and collegiate goals as well and to ensure that we are providing an ever-improving environment for those faculty, staff, and students already in CLA to do their best work and be rewarded and recognized for doing so. One of the goals of the college’s three-year planning process is to provide more certainty and clarity to departments about faculty size and searches over the coming three-year period and to reduce anxiety that another shoe is about to drop from year to year. We are continuing three-year strategic planning with our third wave of departments this year.