Hiring processes vary by department

Some professors and instructors have reputations of being fun and easy, or, at least, entertaining. Others are known for being boring and difficult. While the process of hiring University faculty is not an exact science, there are standards and techniques used by those doing the hiring.

According to Debbie Kelley, director of human resources, each department creates its own search teams and committees to fit its own needs.

Kelley said those applying for a faculty position must provide a letter of interest, a summary of their academic experience, transcripts and references. If the candidate is then selected by the department search team, a background check is then also required.

“We might get 50, 60, 70 applications for one position and there’s a good chance that only 20 or 30 of those people are truly qualified for the exact position,” Social Sciences department haed David Locher said. “Because it’s not like you must have a Ph.D. in political science, it’s more like must have a specialty in this area and this area and this area.”

Kelley said those applying to teach undergraduate classes must have at least a master’s degree where those seeking to teach graduate level must have a terminal degree such as a Ph.D. or EDD.

While each department has similar search teams, there are a few differences. Deans as well as department heads are typically on the search team.  

“Now, if you are looking for one-year hires,” Kelley Larson, communications department head said. “Those search committees are generally done by the dean and the department chair.”

Locher and Larson appear to be in agreement that it is more important when looking for a possible hire that the candidate be more at-home teaching than doing research.  

“If someone comes and teaches a class and the students are excited and wanting to know what classes they can take from that person in the fall, then that’s probably our person,” Locher said.

Locher said sometimes the committee gets fooled and a dud will be hired, although not often.

Larson said. “You can be an expert in your field and not know how to relate to students.”