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, before review of applicant files begins, 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”).