Finding outstanding new colleagues is among the most important things we can do for the future of Kalamazoo College. A faculty search may determine the curricular future of programs for the next 30 or more years. This document presents best practices for a process, which allows the Search Committee to make recommendations based upon a clear understanding of search criteria and a thorough understanding of applicant qualifications. Our common interest in both the fairness of the search and in the well-being of the institution is protected by the care to which the Provost and each member of the search committee adhere to these best practices.

The very best potential candidates will have to be discovered and courted if the quality of our faculty is to be maintained. Teachers and scholars who contribute to our campus’ diversity are in especially short supply and, further, may not normally apply for a position at a college like Kalamazoo without special encouragement. It is therefore crucial for us to act positively, proactively, affirmatively, if we want to find outstanding faculty.

Searches are not only a critical element in the renewal of the faculty, but they also reflect upon the quality and reputation of Kalamazoo College. We should never forget that we are selling ourselves as much as we are interviewing potential colleagues when we seek new colleagues and bring candidates to campus for interviews. Therefore, all aspects of a search must be done in an informed, caring manner that not only brings us the best possible colleagues, but also treats all applicants legally, ethically, and courteously. Although by no means exhaustive, this document is intended to further those ends.

In the description of the procedures that follows, all persons who apply for the position are called applicants. A select number of persons invited to campus become candidates for the position. The finalist is the one offered the position. Consistent use of these terms throughout the search process, especially in contacts with applicants and in other written communications, is desirable.

I. Prior to a Search

  1. The department chair or program director should discuss the need for and nature of a potential position with appropriate colleagues. When the individuals involved have reached agreement, the department chair or program director should seek approval of the Provost.
  1. Departments seeking authorization for a faculty line should submit appropriate materials to the Provost who will consult with the Educational Policies Committee (EPC) regarding authorization of a new search. Final approval for a search comes from the President. Materials submitted by the department and by EPC should be consulted throughout the process by the search committee as an aid in understanding the development of the current position description.
  1. The Provost should consult with the EPC regarding program direction and priorities and with the President regarding budget before authorizing a search. The definition of the position may be modified during this process to ensure that wider College needs are met.

II. Search Committee

  1. The department chair, program director, or other designate of the Provost is appointed as Chair of the Search Committee.

    When circumstances such as conflict of interest may limit an individual department member’s or a program member’s full participation in the search, the Provost and department chair must develop a clear statement specifying that member’s role in deliberation or voting at each stage of the search, recognizing the necessity of maintaining disciplinary expertise and a common understanding of the search criteria by the Search Committee and department faculty throughout the process. This statement should be made available to the entire search committee.
  1. The Chair should submit names of potential Search Committee members to the Provost. Many departments include all tenured and tenure-track faculty on the Search Committee, although larger departments may have a subset of department members serve officially on the Committee. ‘Best practices’ suggest that membership of the search committee will not include the person being replaced.
  1. The final membership, appointed by the Provost, should consist of at least five faculty, including some or all department members, and two or three other faculty members, at least one of whom is from outside the division, and usually one who is outside the department but within the division.

III. Position Description and Announcements

  1. A department should develop a specific position description, taking into account considerations raised by the Provost, the EPC, and other parties involved. The position description should clearly identify departmental needs, as well as wider College needs. The description should be submitted to the Provost for approval. Shaping of the position description may be one important way of inviting a more diverse set of applicants and ultimately hiring a faculty member who may contribute to the diversity of the faculty.
  1. The position description should include the following:
    • title of the position;
    • succinct definition of duties and responsibilities;
    • required qualifications;
    • other desirable qualifications;
    • nature of the position and starting date;
    • application procedures, including name and address of Search Chair;
    • date by which completed applications should be received.

      Unless specific publications require otherwise, the College requires consistent wording for application procedures, deadlines, equal opportunity employment (EOE) statement, and description of the College. To avoid misunderstanding and possible legal difficulties, it is especially important not to deviate from the deadline and EOE statements without approval from the Provost. See the model position description.

      To help obtain the broadest possible pool, the description of the subfield desired should be as open as possible. This, as well as the identification of particular subfields within a discipline, may also help obtain a more diverse pool. Usually the best faculty members are those with broad interests and a strong interest in teaching and scholarship in a liberal arts environment.

      Additionally, the position description should invite candidates to share their experiences of and desire to work with a diverse group of students and developing curriculum or using pedagogy that engages diverse students and fosters their success.
  1. Published information about salaries or compensation must also use consistent wording. Again, see the sample position description. In oral communication with potential applicants, applicants, and others, only the Search Committee Chair, with prior approval of the Provost, may provide more specific information. As a general rule, salary discussions with applicants should be referred to the Provost.
  1. Position descriptions or other notices circulated in advance of formal approval of position openings must contain clear indication of their provisional nature: e.g., “Anticipated position” or “Position is dependent upon formal approval.” All such communications require the Provost’s prior approval.
  1. Unless deviations are approved by the Provost at the request of the Search Committee Chair, completed applications consist of:
    • a cover letter;
    • a curriculum vitae, with a description of scholarly interests;
    • undergraduate and graduate transcripts (unofficial copies acceptable);
    • three letters of reference;
    • a detailed statement of teaching philosophy and goals;
    • a statement on experience working with underrepresented students and engaging issues of diversity and inclusion in the curriculum and pedagogical approaches.
  1. Normally for tenure track searches a web page is developed which allows automatic submission of applications. Upon request through the Provost’s Office, a portal Team Site is established by the College’s Director of Web Services to organize the applications and allow access to search committee members and the Provost.

IV. Developing the Applicant Pool

In all recruiting—but especially that for members of underrepresented groups and women—placing advertisements is merely a beginning step and nearly a passive one. Advertising is necessary but is not sufficient to ensure that there will be applicants of the desired caliber and diversity in the final candidate pool. It is incumbent upon the Search Committee and its Chair to do more to identify and attract the most highly-qualified applicants, including members of underrepresented groups and women.

  1. All advertising must be coordinated through the Provost’s Office.
  1. Full searches require advertisement in national publications or online sources. The text will be put in standard format by the Provost’s Office, working from the approved position description.
  1. Many fields have a journal, newsletter or website to which potential applicants routinely turn when seeking a position. Information on advertisements in such places—deadlines, charges, submission procedures, and special text requests—must be submitted on a timely basis.
  1. All search committees must develop a plan to create as diverse an applicant pool as possible guided by the resources in (5) listed below. The HR director will provide assistance.
  1. The Search Committee Chair or HR Director where appropriate should contact selected university graduate departments to seek information about potential applicants from underrepresented groups. For example, the publication Diverse lists universities producing significant numbers of minority PhDs. Such schools should be contacted directly. Many fields have groups or committees that focus on the needs of minority members or women. These should also be contacted. The Provost’s Office will publish an ad for the position in Diverse Issues in Higher Education, which publishes a list each summer of minority graduates by degree level, field, and school. The fields of study are fairly broad categories, but it gives some ideas of which schools to contact that graduate a number of diverse students. Also, chairs should use The Registry, which is a service designed to help institutions recruit faculty from underrepresented groups. The Provost’s Office subscribes to this service and can provide log-in information. Telephone calls are preferred to emailed announcements because they have been demonstrated to be far more effective than written alternatives in generating applicants. Social media should also be considered.
  1. Personal contact by email or telephone with leaders in the field to solicit nominations of potential applicants is a crucial adjunct to the above efforts. Direct contact with those who train graduate students and those who are well-established in the field, especially those who are members of underrepresented groups or women, often leads to the most promising applicants. The Search Committee Chair should solicit suggestions from all College faculty members for leads for potential applicants or those who may be able to put us in contact with potential applicants. Contacts soliciting nominations may be initiated by any member of the Search Committee or by any other individual at the College who is in a position to help. Such calls should:
    • describe the position and its relation to the overall program;
    • ask about possible applicants, especially members of underrepresented groups and women;
    • ask about others who might know about such potential applicants.
  1. Potential applicants identified by this process should be contacted by a member of the Search Committee—preferably by phone—indicating who suggested their names, describing the position, and inviting them to apply. Copies of letters to these potential applicants and notes of telephone conversations should be given to the Chair of the Search Committee for inclusion in any resulting applicant file.
  1. All positive responses to initial invitations to apply should be followed by an email from the Chair of the Search Committee, including a copy of the position description.

V. Review of Applicant Files

  1. Common understanding and consistent interpretation of the position description by Search Committee members and department faculty are essential. Members of the Search Committee and of the department should convene early in the search process to establish a clear understanding of the criteria for the position, particularly required qualifications as distinguished from other desired qualifications
  1. All persons interested in the position, including nominated applicants, must be given the same set of instructions for submitting a complete application and will be considered under the same set of criteria.
  1. At the discretion of the Search Committee, applicants may be informed by email when material to be submitted by others, such as letters of recommendation, have not been received in a timely fashion. Under normal circumstances candidates will not be brought to campus without first having a complete application file.
  1. Depending on the length of the search, it may be advisable to send an email message to applicants who remain under active consideration advising them of this status. At the same time, Chairs should send an email message to applicants who are not under consideration, thanking them for their interest in the position and advising them that the Search Committee has identified a selected list from which the finalist will be chosen. The email message should not comment on the applicant’s qualifications (See Sample Messages to Unsuccessful Applicants and Candidates).
  1. Careful documentation is essential to preserving the College's record of fair employment practices. A list of all applicants for the open position should be kept. After the appointment has been made and all applicants have been notified, the record and all files kept within the department office should be kept for two years at which point they can be destroyed. All search committee chairs will be asked to provide data on the search at the conclusion of the search. This information includes the number of applicants, the number of candidates, and the final pool.
  1. Members of the department involved in a search sometimes attend professional meetings for preliminary interviews of applicants and potential applicants. Two requirements must be observed in these instances: 1) an agreement must be reached with the Provost on travel costs; and 2) an agreement must be reached with the Search Committee on interview strategy. Moreover, care should be taken that such preliminary interviews do not preempt the Search Committee’s role in selecting candidates.
  1. The full Search Committee may delegate the task of initial screening of applicant files to the department or it may choose to take part in it. The goal of initial screening is to produce a list of the 15-25 most promising applicants for further consideration by the full Committee. This process may begin before the review date stated in the advertisement, but all timely applications must be considered.
  1. In screening applicants, the Search Committee may encourage those being given serious consideration to provide, as available, both (a) ratings of teaching by students and reports of classroom visitations by peers, and (b) samples of their writing, published or unpublished, or reproductions of creative work. In some circumstances, requesting sample syllabi may be desirable.
  1. The Search Committee should review the group of 15-25 applicants identified by the screening process for the purpose of ranking a final field of 6-8 applicants. These selections should be first submitted to the Provost to ensure that all identifiable minority and female applicants have been given careful consideration.
  1. All identifiable minority applicants in the initial pool must be identified to the Provost’s Office, and the Search Committee must be prepared to explain why any minority candidates are not included in the final field of 6-8 applicants. A brief explanation will normally be sufficient (e.g., “wrong subfield”).

VI. Selection of Candidates

  1. When considering candidates for invitation to campus, Chairs should make telephone or email checks with referees who wrote letters for applicants to ensure appropriate selection. One good way to do this is to call to inquire, not about the applicant’s qualifications, but whether the referee believes there is a good fit between the applicant and the position. Notes of such conversations should be kept and summarized for the Search Committee’s review.
  1. Typically three invitations are made at one time, but the number may vary as a function of the quality of the applicant pool, funds available for the expenses of visits, scheduling circumstances, and a variety of other factors. The Search Committee Chair should consult with the Provost to determine the most effective and efficient strategy for scheduling candidates.
  1. The decision on which applicants shall be invited to become candidates is made by the Search Committee, in consultation with and subject to approval by the Provost. In reporting the Committee’s recommendation, the Search Committee Chair will make clear to the Provost whether the recommendation was unanimous or divided.
  1. All identifiable minority applicants in the final field of applicants must be identified to the Provost’s Office, and the Search Committee must be prepared to explain why any minority candidates are not included in the final selection of candidates.

VII. Inviting Candidates

  1. The invitation to an applicant to visit campus, i.e., to become a candidate, is made by the Chair of the Search Committee unless another individual is designated by the Chair or by the Provost. Initial contact is usually made by telephone.
  1. The Chair of the Search Committee should communicate relevant details of the visit and reach agreement with the candidate on its timing and length, within the guidelines for the campus visit of candidates, given below. It is important that all candidates have the same understanding of what will happen and what is expected of them during the visit, especially in connection with presentations they will make.
  1. The Chair of the Search Committee should always ask whether the candidate has any preferences or needs regarding diet and accommodations during the visit.
  1. Before answering questions by the candidate during this or any other conversations with candidates, search committee members should consult the Guidelines for Communicating with Applicants and Candidates. Copies of these guidelines should be distributed to those who will meet the candidate: e.g., Search Committee and department members.
  1. All reasonable travel expenses of candidates, e.g., coach airfare, will be paid by the College (meals enroute are not covered). Candidates who need to book air travel should be instructed to call the College’s travel agency, Travel Leaders at 1.800.633.6401, as soon as possible. They should inform Travel Leaders that they are coming to campus as a faculty job candidate. Travel Leaders will then email the proposed flight itinerary to the Administrative Assistant to the Provost, who will forward the flight itinerary to the Search Chair for approval, and after receiving that will complete the booking. Travel Leaders will bill the Provost’s Office directly. Travel Leaders keeps the College’s interests in mind in scheduling an economical flight while accommodating the candidate’s schedule. Receipts documenting other travel expenses are required for reimbursement (except for mileage reimbursement). A W-9 form is included in the welcome packet given to each candidate by the Provost. The Search Chair should forward the candidate’s receipts and W-9 to the Provost’s Office for direct reimbursement to the candidate.
  1. Fair employment practices allow us to invite candidates for a campus visit before the date stated in advertisements. However, no offer can be made until all timely applications have been fairly reviewed after the closing date for application.
  1. Whenever possible, Chairs should follow telephone invitations to candidates with an email message confirming the relevant details.

VIII. Campus Visits of Candidates

Increasingly, the campus visit combines the purpose of enhancing the attractiveness of the position and the College with the traditional goal of evaluating candidates. All participants in such visits should try to present as positive an image of the campus as possible. Favorable impressions of the campus by both successful and unsuccessful candidates are important for the College.

  1. Visits of candidates for full-time positions usually involve one night’s stay and portions of two days. Care should be taken to make the visits of all candidates for the position as nearly equal in duration and schedule as possible. Prior to arranging a visit date with the candidate, contact the Provost’s Office to verify dates when the Provost and President will be available for interviews.
  1. The Search Committee Chair is responsible for arranging and circulating the schedule of a candidate’s visit. Everyone meeting with a candidate should have a copy of the visit schedule except, perhaps, those participating only in larger group sessions. Invitations to faculty and staff to meet the candidate at a presentation are issued by the Search Committee Chair. The home department should distribute the notice of a candidate’s visit; the Search Committee prepares the text of the notice.
  1. Visits should include:
    • interviews with department faculty, individually and collectively;
    • time with department majors and other interested students;
    • interview with the Provost;
    • interview with the President (if available);
    • interview with the Human Resources Director;
    • interviews with the Search Committee;
    • a public presentation to a general College audience;
    • a classroom presentation.

      In some instances, the presentations above may be combined into a single presentation. For all candidates, consideration should be given to scheduling meetings with individuals or groups that they request, beyond the normal meetings listed above. Any needs or preferences regarding diet or accommodation should be made known to all who need to know such as the Search Committee and Dining Services.

      Presentations are an important component of any visit and for most members of the College community it is their major or only contact with the candidate. It also gives the candidate a sense of the general college interest in their visit. Thus, the Search Committee Chair must make an extra effort to ensure an audience containing students and faculty members outside of the Department and Search Committee. Along with timely announcements there should be personal invitations to relevant students and faculty, and announcements of the candidate’s visit should be made in classes in the Department with strong encouragement for students to attend.

      A recommended strategy in setting up interviews is to assign specific topics or issues to each member of the department and Search Committee seeing the candidate. For example, one person might talk about research interests, another might investigate teaching experience and philosophy, and a third might explore intellectual interests in other disciplines. This assures that important issues are covered with a minimum of redundancy across interviews and that all candidates will be asked similar questions.
  1. The schedule of the visit should note who will greet the candidate at the airport, railroad station, or other location if travel is by automobile. Similarly, the schedule should note who will take the candidate to the point of departure. These assignments should fall to a member of the Search Committee or department.
  1. Early in the schedule, the Search Committee Chair should meet to review the visit with the candidate, and again toward the end of the schedule, so as to be able to answer any remaining questions and get an idea of the candidate’s impressions of the visit.
  1. The Search Committee Chair should inform the Provost of any relevant expectations or concerns of the candidate, e.g., on salary, research facilities, or term of appointment, prior to the Provost’s meeting the candidate. The Chair should update the Provost as necessary, subsequently.

IX. Meals, Receptions and Accommodations

  1. To contain expenses, meal invitations should be limited. Dinner invitations should be primarily for one or two department and Search Committee members, and those who are otherwise centrally involved in the search. Breakfasts are good occasions for students to meet candidates informally, while lunches have traditionally been used as opportunities for a wider range of faculty and administrators to see candidates; one member of the Search Committee should attend such lunches. While lunches are best held on campus, dinners may certainly be scheduled at nearby restaurants, providing the costs are comparable to those using on-campus facilities. It is sometimes convenient to hold breakfast meetings at the candidate’s lodgings.
  1. Reservation of rooms should be done in advance and care should be taken to avoid conflicts with major College events or presentations by other candidates. Simple, light refreshments are appropriate for events.
  1. For overnight accommodations, a room at one of the nearby bed and breakfast houses is generally preferred.

X. Decision on the Finalist

  1. After the campus visits by candidates, the Search Committee should solicit evaluations of each visitor from those who met him or her, including students, faculty, and administrative colleagues. Written responses, whether in the form of notes, memos, or questionnaires, should be gathered before final consideration by the Search Committee on the finalist.
  1. After a candidate’s visit to campus, contacts with other individuals who may provide important information about him/her are permissible. The candidate should be informed that this will occur, and should be given the opportunity to name others who might be contacted.
  1. It is preferred that recommendations by the Search Committee on the finalist for a position will be made by consensus reached in a meeting of the full Committee, not based on decisions made by polling members individually. If no consensus is possible, a vote should be taken to reach a decision. The Committee Chair should report the recommendation of the Committee to the Provost, indicating whether the recommendation was by consensus or vote.
  1. When a recommendation for the finalist has been agreed upon by the Provost and the Search Committee, the Provost will discuss the action with the President.
  1. The Provost normally conducts telephone negotiations with the finalist and draws up the written terms of employment. In some cases the Provost may consult with the Search Committee Chair concerning certain aspects of the negotiations. No member of the Committee should initiate contact with the finalist without prior approval of the Provost.
  1. The letter of appointment will be signed by the Provost on behalf of the College. Should the finalist decline the offer, the Provost will discuss subsequent action with the Chair of the Search Committee. If needed, the Search Committee will reconvene to consider other applicants for further campus interviews. Depending upon the applicant pool, the best strategy may be to make an offer to another candidate, invite further candidates to campus, or renew the tenure-track search in the next year. This would be discussed by the Search Committee Chair and the Provost.
  1. After receiving word from the Provost’s Office that confirmation of acceptance from the finalist has been received, an email message should be sent to all applicants informing them that the position has been filled and thanking them for their interest in the College. Email messages to candidates who have visited campus should be different than that for other applicants, reflecting both the additional effort made by candidates and our regard for having selected them as candidates. In many cases the Search Committee Chair might make a phone call rather than use an email message. Like previous contacts with applicants, the content and tone of these messages are important. See the Sample Messages to Unsuccessful Applicants and Candidates.

Guidelines for Communicating with Applicants and Candidates

The following guidelines are the result of a wide range of circumstances experienced in searches for faculty positions over the years. While it should not be thought that all reflect common occurrences, the issues underlying these guidelines are important concerns of both the Provost and faculty, as represented by the Faculty Executive Committee. Copies of these guidelines should be given to all those involved in faculty searches: all of us are responsible for the proper conduct and success of searches.

  • Committee members should not mention specific salaries or salary ranges. Only the Search Committee Chair may be authorized by the Provost to provide more detailed information, and normally these conversations should be referred to the Provost. Committee members should inform the Search Committee Chair about any salary expectations or current salary information volunteered by the candidate.
  • In addition to the above-stated limits on discussing salary, Committee members should take care to avoid compromising the College by making statements to candidates or a finalist about any condition of employment, e.g., an anticipated tenure decision date, not specified in the position description, unless specifically authorized to do so by the Provost. Normally, all communication with finalists should take place with the Search Committee Chair or the Provost. Only the Provost may change or negotiate terms of employment.
  • Questions regarding a candidate’s race, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, ethnic background, marital status, dependent children, handicaps, height and weight, and several other personal characteristics described in other documentation provided to Search Committee members, are not permitted for any purpose, however friendly or benign, unless volunteered by the candidate. Information volunteered by candidates on such matters sets the boundaries for discussion of these facts. See the section Guidelines on Fairness in Searches dealing with these issues. If any member of the Search Committee has any concern about an inappropriate comment or action that is part of the search process, he or she should contact the College’s HR Director immediately.
  • Committee members should not discuss qualifications or evaluations of other candidates with a job candidate.
  • While candidates may be assured that there is genuine interest in their candidacy, Committee members should say nothing which states or implies that they have any more or less chance of being the finalist than other candidates.
  • Past disagreements within the Search Committee or elsewhere concerning the position description, criteria to be used in evaluating candidates, or other relevant dimensions of the position should not be raised with candidates. Such differences ought to have been settled before invitations to candidates were made. One’s continuing dissatisfaction with decisions already made does not justify bringing dissension into the search process.
  • Expressing negative or unflattering opinions to candidates regarding the qualifications, character, or behavior of current or past faculty members is not only unprofessional, but may be highly detrimental to the goal of recruiting the best faculty.
  • Changing expectations and different norms of social behavior, especially in the context of hiring women and minority faculty, may lead to negative reactions in candidates, even when a remark or act is intended to be hospitable or humorous. There is no easy remedy for this problem; it behooves each of us to reflect on our assumptions and to monitor our behavior carefully to avoid misunderstanding in dealing with candidates.
  • While discussions of problems of the College, department, or the position provide a fair and accurate representation of relevant circumstances to candidates, members of the Search Committee should avoid partisanship and consider the best interests of the College. There should be balance in the presentation of points of view on controversial or difficult issues

Search Checklist for Chair of the Search Committee

This checklist is intended for the use of the Chair of the Search Committee. Relevant portions of the document Faculty Search Procedures and Guidelines are indicated in parenthesis.

Candidate Visit Checklist

Relevant portions of the Faculty Search Procedures and Guidelines are indicated in parenthesis.

Guidelines on Fairness in Searches

  1. The college HR Director shall meet with the Search Committee to provide training about fairness in job searches and determine in what ways her/his office can be of assistance in the search.
  1. In search committee deliberations, committee members or others may not take into consideration or speak about religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, marital status, sexual orientation, political affiliation, past or current military status, or a determinable physical or mental characteristic of an individual that may result from disease, injury, congenital condition of birth, or functional disorder if it is unrelated to the individual's ability to perform the duties of a particular job and if it is unrelated to the individual's qualifications for employment.

    [Note that the key criterion here in terms of whether discussion can take place is whether characteristics are “unrelated to the individual’s ability to perform the duties of a particular job.” The College’s legal advisor has indicated that given the College’s mission it is permissible to consider the degree to which an individual can make a contribution to campus diversity when engaging in deliberations, and to that end it is permissible to speak about these characteristics when they are relevant to a candidate’s ability to contribute to campus diversity.]
  1. In the event that an inappropriate comment is made during a search committee meeting or an interview, it shall be the duty of other committee members or interviewers to call to the attention of the person who has made the comment and to the other members or interviewers the inappropriateness of the comment. If the person who made the comment recognizes his/her error and agrees not to allow the illegal or unethical bias implied by the comment to influence his/her decision, and if the other committee members or interviewers feel that the person is sincere in his/her agreement, then the search process shall continue without interruption.
  1. If one or more member(s) of the search committee feel(s) that the person who made the inappropriate comment is not sincere in his/her agreement that the implied bias will not influence his/her decision, then that member or those members shall call for an interruption of the search process and shall immediately report the incident to the HR Director for investigation. That investigation shall be carried out quickly enough to keep the search going forward within a reasonable span of time.
  1. If, upon investigation of the incident, the HR Director believes that the individual who made the inappropriate comment is incapable of acting fairly in the search, he/she shall remove that person from the search committee and the search process shall then continue without that person.
  1. If, upon investigation, the HR Director believes that several committee members have displayed an illegal or unethical bias such that the entire search is unfair, he/she shall dissolve the search committee. The search may be postponed for a certain period of time. If it is still possible for the search to go forward within the previously stated time-frame, the appropriate administrator shall appoint a new search committee.
  1. Possible sanctions include:
    • (a) If the offending person is a faculty member, he/she shall be suspended, either permanently or for a specified period of time, from participating on search committees, serving on the Faculty Personnel Committee, serving as a departmental or divisional chairperson, and chairing any faculty committee, since all these positions involve influencing personnel decisions.
    • (b) If the offending person is a non-faculty member, he/she shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including discharge.
    • (c) A letter shall be placed in the personnel file of the offending faculty member or staff member if he/she has been removed from a search committee on account of illegal or unethical bias.

Model Position Description

(insert department) DEPARTMENT

{Tenure track} position at {insert level} level beginning {insert date}. Ph.D. (or evidence of imminent completion) required. Salary competitive and consistent with level of experience. {Insert position qualifications, other desirable qualifications} Candidates are expected to have high aptitude and interest in undergraduate teaching, a commitment to the liberal arts, and a desire to involve undergraduates in scholarship both inside and outside the classroom.

Kalamazoo College is a highly selective nationally known liberal arts college offering an integrated undergraduate experience that weaves a traditional liberal arts curriculum into educational experiences in both domestic and international settings. The campus is located midway between Chicago and Detroit in Kalamazoo, Michigan, a metropolitan community of 225,000 which supports several college and university campuses along with numerous civic arts and cultural associations. Thirty-five miles from Lake Michigan, the area offers many opportunities for outdoor activities.

Completed applications received by {insert date} will receive full consideration, with later applications reviewed as needed until the position is filled. Upload cover letter, CV, detailed statement of teaching philosophy and goals, description of scholarly interests, statement on experience working with underrepresented students and engaging issues of diversity and inclusion in the curriculum and pedagogical approaches, and undergraduate and graduate transcripts (unofficial acceptable) in PDF format below. Please arrange to have three confidential letters of recommendation sent in PDF format to {insert email address} with a subject line in the format lastname_firstname. Kalamazoo College encourages candidates who will contribute to the cultural diversity of the College to apply and to identify themselves if they wish.
Equal Opportunity Employer.

Sample Advertisement

Kalamazoo College
Department of History
Assistant Professor of Modern European History
Tenure Track

The Department of History at Kalamazoo College invites applications for a tenure-track position as assistant professor of Modern European history, to begin in September 2016. The successful candidate will be expected to offer introductory and upper-division undergraduate courses in Modern European history since the Enlightenment. We also seek applicants willing and able to help reimagine the department's current curriculum. We are especially interested in transnational approaches to European history focusing on issues such as (but not limited to) ethnicity, migration, the environment, colonialism, and decolonization. The successful applicant will also teach within the College's Shared Passages program of first-year and sophomore seminars and senior capstone courses. The teaching load is six courses per year on a quarter system (2/2/2), with additional duties including directing senior theses and academic advising.

Ph.D. or evidence of imminent completion is required. Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience. The successful candidate will have demonstrated a high aptitude for and interest in undergraduate teaching, a commitment to the liberal arts, and a promise of scholarly excellence.

Kalamazoo College is a highly selective nationally known liberal arts college offering an integrated undergraduate experience that weaves a traditional liberal arts curriculum into educational experiences in both domestic and international settings. The campus is located midway between Chicago and Detroit in Kalamazoo, Michigan, a metropolitan community of 225,000 that supports several college and university campuses along with numerous civic arts and cultural associations.

Completed applications received by October 16, 2015 will receive full consideration, with later applications reviewed as needed until the position is filled. Upload cover letter, CV, detailed statement of teaching philosophy and goals, description of scholarly interests, statement on experience working with underrepresented students and engaging issues of diversity and inclusion in the curriculum and pedagogical approaches, and undergraduate and graduate transcripts (unofficial acceptable) in PDF format to {insert URL}. Please arrange to have three confidential letters of recommendation sent in PDF format to with a subject line in the format lastname_firstname. Please send all inquiries to Dr. Joseph J. Bangura, Chair of the Search Committee.

Kalamazoo College encourages candidates who will contribute to the cultural diversity of the College to apply and to identify themselves if they wish. Equal Opportunity Employer.

(KATRINA Note: The Director of Web Services, currently Carolyn Zinn ,will create the URL for the online application site.)

Sample Acknowledgement Message

(with required Clery Act notification)

Dear Dr. Candidate:

Thank you for your expression of interest in our position at Kalamazoo College. We are very excited about our search, and look forward to welcoming a new colleague to our department next fall.

This would be a good time for you to be certain that you have submitted all required materials for the search. We will not be able to send out reminders to candidates who do not have complete files, and incomplete files will not receive full consideration. We expect that our preliminary examination of the files will begin shortly after the closing date of XXXXX, and hope to invite candidates to come to campus in TIME PERIOD.

We will be in touch again as we move forward in the search process.


W. Robert Batsell
Chair, Department of Psychology

Kalamazoo College’s annual security report is available on the Campus Safety, Annual Reports page.

Sample Messages to Unsuccessful Applicants and Candidates

Dear Dr. Doe:

[For applicants who do not make the initial screening]
I am sorry to inform you that you are no longer being considered for the position in our psychology department for which you applied. Because we have a large number of highly qualified applicants, we are limiting further review to those whose interests and specialization most closely fit our needs.

[For applicants who did not become candidates]
I am sorry to inform you that the position in our psychology department for which you applied has been filled. We were fortunate to have a number of highly qualified applicants, allowing us to select the finalist from among candidates whose interests and specialization most closely fit our needs.

[For an unsuccessful candidate]
I am sorry to inform you that the position for which you interviewed has been filled. We felt fortunate to have such highly qualified individuals as yourself as interested candidates. This allowed us to make the final decision in terms of the best fit between candidates’ interests and specialization and our needs.

On behalf of all those who had the opportunity to meet you and hear your presentations, I want to thank you for your time and effort on our campus. I know that you had a busy schedule while at Kalamazoo, but hope that you found it rewarding as well.

[Closing for all unsuccessful applicants and candidates]
Best of luck in your professional endeavors and thank you for your interest in Kalamazoo College.


W. Robert Batsell, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, Psychology

Sample Candidate Schedule

Psychology Candidate

Wednesday, February 18

9:33 pmArrive on Delta 1008; R. Batsell, Psychology (Search Committee Chair) will pick up and drop off at Hall House.

Thursday, February 19

8:00 a.m.Breakfast with R. Batsell, Hall House Bed & Breakfast
10:00 a.m. Gary Gregg, Psychology Search Committee member
11:00 a.m. Mickey McDonald, Provost
11:50 a.m. Lunch with selected faculty
1:30 p.m. Babli Sinha, English & Kiran Cunningham, Anthropology (Search committee members)
2:30 p.m.Tour of Psychology facilities
3:00 p.m.Prep time for talk
4:00 p.m.Public talk, Olmsted Room
6:00 p.m.Dinner with select members of the Search Committee

Friday, February 20

8:00 a.m.Breakfast with students
10:00 a.m.Dr. Wilson-Oyelaran, President
11:00 a.m.Renee Boelcke, HR
11:30 a.m.Lunch with Karyn Boatwright & Siu-Lan Tan, both Psychology
1:15 p.m.Guest teach Psychology class, O/U 408
3:00 p.m.Autumn Hostetter, Psychology (Search Committee member)
3:45 p.m.R. Batsell, Department Chair
5:00 p.m.Depart for airport – R. Batsell
7:10 p.m.Depart on Delta flight 1120

Sample Student Evaluation Form

Candidates Name:

What was one important “take home” message you got from the candidate’s presentation?

In your assessment of the presentation, evaluate the candidate in the following areas:
Note: Rating of the areas is on a scale from 1 to 5 with 1 being the lowest rating and 5 being the highest.

Area to EvaluateRating LevelRating LevelRating LevelRating LevelRating Level
Use of PPT slides or other audiovisual aids:
(ease to follow or too busy? clear? etc.)
Was the presentation at appropriate level for undergrads?12345
Was the presentation engaging?12345
Potential for teaching at K:12345
Note: Rating of the areas is on a scale from 1 to 5 with 1 being the lowest rating and 5 being the highest.

What do you perceive to be weaknesses or strengths of this candidate for teaching at Kalamazoo College?

Any Additional Comments:

The Search Committee thanks you for your time in helping us evaluate candidates for our visiting faculty position.

Your Name (optional):

Search Checklist for Academic Office Coordinator to Support Search

This checklist is intended to help the Office Coordinator aid the Chair of the Search Committee in the mechanics and process of the search. Relevant portions of the document Faculty Search Procedures and Guidelines are indicated in parenthesis. This checklist was developed by Brenda Westra in 2017.

Once your department chair selected and confirmed a Search Committee: (II: Search Committee)

  • Ask chair about committee meetings. Send out emails to search committee to find a common meeting time. Reserve any rooms to hold meetings. Send out meeting Outlook calendar invites for the committee to hold times in their calendars. (III. Position Description and Announcements)
  • Email Tabatha Coleman (Provost’s schedule), Melanie Williams (if a meeting with the President is needed), and Renee Boelcke (Human Resources) to have their availability sent to you. You and/or the Chair will need this information to help choose some possible dates for the selected candidate to be on campus. (VIII. Campus Visits of Candidates) Note: the President’s travel schedule can be tight.
  • Talk to the search committee chair and to Tabatha Coleman (Provost’s office) to see if your assistance is needed in helping with advertising. (ex: contacting professional journals for rates, guidelines; emailing letters and the ad to Department Chairs at major universities, etc.…) (II. Search Committee)
  • Create a shared team site for all the committee to review all the candidate files. Within the Team Site, for each applicant create a folder for depositing the application materials for that applicant. The folder should be labeled by the applicant’s Last Name, First Name and deposited files should be given helpful file names (like NAME CV, NAME Teaching Statement, etc.) if they do not already have such helpful designation. (IV. Developing the Applicant Pool)
  • Contact Information Services to set up an email alias for the Search Committee; that email address will be used in the job ad.

Once a Team Site has been created: (III. Position Description and Announcements)

  • Please verify whether the website will automatically sort the submissions into files when the candidate applies. If so, then please make sure to check the email alias of the search for the Letters of Recommendation. You will need to upload those directly yourself into the shared drive. If not, then please follow the step below to help manage and organize the shared drive.
  • Create a spreadsheet to help keep track of the candidates and their information. Please see the included spreadsheet for examples of column headings.
  • Ask the chair if they would like a printed hard copy of the files for the search committee meetings. If they do please make sure to mark each as confidential. It is also helpful to make sure they organized in the same order and placed in their own individual file folder.

Sample Spreadsheet of Application Materials

Note: This spreadsheet is best viewed on a desktop

Last NameFirst NameCurrent EmployerPhD Granting InstitutionUndergraduate InstitutionCover LetterCVTeaching PhilosophyResearch StatementDiversity/
Inclusion statement
FurgeLauraKalamazoo CollegeVanderbilt, 1998, Biochemistry - and postdoc with Stanley Cohen (Vanderbilt)Oberlin, 1993, BiochemistryXXxxx1- Guengerich

Normally for tenure track searches a web page is developed which allows automatic submission of applications. If it is not working properly then please see below for additional help with sorting the candidates in a timely and neatly manner.

  • Set up files for potential candidates. It is helpful to have empty folders containing the following sub folders. Once you receive the information it is easy to rename the main folder to the candidates name and place their information in the correct sub folder.
    • a. a cover letter;
    • b. a curriculum vitae, with a description of scholarly interests;
    • c. undergraduate and graduate transcripts (unofficial copies acceptable);
    • d. three letters of reference;
    • e. a detailed statement of teaching philosophy and goals;
    • f. diversity and inclusion statement.

Set up communication based on the Committee needs:

  • Ask chair about the communication needs for the committee. This may include media assistance for Skype.
  • Check with chair to see if they would like for you to create a Letterhead or E-Letterhead for the committee. This would entail you to change the telephone and fax numbers of the hiring department to the communication numbers the each committee has agreed upon.

After finalist candidates are selected and invitations are made: (VIII. Campus Visits of Candidates)

  • Email Tabatha (Provost’s assistant), Melanie (President’s assistant) and Renee (HR Director) to inform them of the date of the visit. Double-check their availability for the dates. (VIII. Campus Visits of Candidates)
  • Arrange with Travel Leaders (1.800.633.6401) for any air travel. Keep Tabatha aware of the arrangements, since the Provost’s office pays for this
  • Make arrangements to have the candidate picked up at the airport, if needed. It’s also important to make arrangements to get the candidate back to the airport for their departure.
  • Reserve a room at the Stuart Avenue Inn - 269.342.0230.
  • Find out if the candidate has any special diet accommodations or mobility concerns (some rooms are not as handicap assessable as others). Please share this information with the Stuart Avenue Inn and Dining Services.
  • Work with your chair to establish an itinerary for the candidate’s visit (more information on this below).
  • Ask the chair if they would like to have hard copies of the complete files for each selected candidate that has received an invite to the college.

Make an Itinerary for the candidate’s visit: (Candidate Visit Checklist)

  1. Visits should include:
    1. interviews with department faculty, individually and collectively;
      1. Obtain the availability of all the department faculty
      2. Work with faculty to help establish the order in which the interviews should take place
    2. time with department majors and other interested students;
      1. This is usually a lunch or dinner in the dining hall. Make sure to obtain meal tickets for the candidate and students prior to the visit. Tabatha can provide the tickets or the account number to put on the tickets.
      2. Often times a student is asked to give the candidate a tour of the campus as well
    3. interview with the Provost;
      1. Contact Tabatha to help schedule the finalized time
    4. interview with the President (if available);
      1. Contact Melanie to help schedule the finalized time
    5. interview with the Human Resources Director;
      1. Contact Renee to help schedule the finalized time
    6. interviews with the Search Committee;
      1. Obtain the availability of all the committee members. Search chair should meet with the candidate at the beginning and the end of the visit.
    7. a public presentation to a general College audience;
      1. Reserve a classroom or Olmsted Room
      2. Contact Media Services regarding any media set-up that is required for the presentation (request that a media student worker stays on site to help with any addition media help during the presentation)
      3. Advertise the presentation. (Posters, Flyers, Hive, direct email to Majors and Minors). The candidate’s name should not appear on any online advertising.
      4. Order any catering if requested by the committee (cookies and lemonade are the most requested food items for this).
    8. a classroom presentation.
      1. Reserve any media set-up for the classroom presentation.
      2. Invite other Department Faculty to sit in on the class for observations.
      3. Prepare a half-page student evaluation form for the presentation.
  2. Once an itinerary gets the final approval from your chair. Send an electronic copy to the following individuals
    1. Committee Members
    2. Department Faculty
    3. Candidate
    4. Tabatha (Provost’s office)
    5. Melanie (President’s office)
    6. Renee (HR Director)

The day or two before of the visit:

  • Remind the chair to send an email outlining any important travel information and a copy of the itinerary to the candidate.
  • Resend the itinerary to everyone else listed above
  • Contact the students that are meeting with the candidate for lunch or for a tour, confirm the times that they are expected to help.
  • Confirm the faculty, car service or staff member that will picking up the candidate at the airport, if needed.
  • Confirm with dining services regarding any special diet information

The day of the visit:

  • Make sure all presentations, meetings and meals start at the time listed on the itinerary. Candidates are on tight schedules and oftentimes meetings run over placing everything behind. This is especially important for class and presentation times.
  • Make yourself available to help with impromptu activities to occupy the candidate if anyone has to cancel their individual meetings or if extra time is created in the schedule (including getting access to campus wifi).
  • Arrive prior to the presentations to insure all is going according to plan (media, catering, etc…)


  • All Candidate information is to be kept confidential.
  • A list of all applicants, the records and all files kept within the department office should be kept for two years at which point they can be destroyed.
  • IMPORTANT: Make sure you have removed all flyers/posters that contain the candidate’s name before the next candidate arrives

After the search is completed:

  • Assist the chair in sending out letters to the candidates that were not selected (this usually happens after an offer to a candidate has been made and accepted, e.g. after the search is completed)