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Faculty Search Procedures–Full-time
Tufts University School of Arts and Sciences and School of Engineering


The following describes in full the processes involved in conducting searches for full-time faculty at the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering. Consult the Administrative Guidelines for Faculty Searches for related financial and administrative policies. NOTE: All search procedures and forms are also available online at:

Defining the Position

A departmental request for a full-time position must be defined in terms of the department's curricular and research goals. The following considerations should be part of the department's discussions.

  • How the department's programmatic and research needs can be linked to faculty recruitment.
  • How the position description can be written to attract the widest possible range of candidates.
  • How possible biases within the department affect one's judgment of quality and excellence. For example, in discussing standards of excellence in teaching, research, and service, raise questions such as: What unique contributions to the department might be made by a faculty member of color or a woman? Is there a bias, spoken or unspoken, against individuals from lesser-known institutions? Is scholarship within the discipline on racial, ethnic, women's, or sexual orientation issues consciously or unconsciously devalued?

Authorization of Position

In the spring semester, the A&S deans send a memo to department chairs outlining the guidelines for submitting proposals for new full-time faculty positions. The Engineering Dean discusses proposed full-time faculty positions with the department chairs, and comes to agreement about the field and rank of the proposed search. The chair sends to the appropriate dean the definition of and justification for the position, including a plan for increasing the number of applicants from underrepresented groups.

The justification should include information on the following.

  • Area(s) of specialization in research (for tenure-track positions) and in teaching (for all positions).
  • How this position relates to the department's long-range research and teaching goals.
  • Proposed actions to recruit women and others from underrepresented groups.
  • Proposed rank and tenure status.

The dean notifies the department chair as soon as the position has been approved. A memo from the Arts and Sciences or Engineering affirmative action (AA) officer confirms the approval and directs faculty and administrative staff to the AS&E Faculty Searches website: http://ase.tufts.edu/faculty/searches/ . This website includes instructions and forms for searches: a form for proposing the members of a search committee; a form for proposing the wording of the position announcement, as well as where it will be posted; information about outreach and networking to build diverse applicant pools, a detailed guide to all the steps of a search, Affirmative Action Report forms, and guidelines regarding the budget for recruitment. At this point, the department sets up a search committee, whose membership must be approved by the dean.

Advertising a Position

The form for placing advertisements is returned to the AA officer. The wording must be approved before an ad may be placed.

The qualifications listed in the advertisement should be explicit, objective, and job-related. The ad should clearly indicate whether a credential is required or preferred. If it is required, the candidate must have that credential by the date employment begins. For example, if a department advertises that the position requires a Ph.D., the person hired must have a Ph.D. by the date employment begins, often July 1 in the Summer prior to the upcoming academic year, or September 1 of the upcoming academic year.

An advertisement for a full-time position must include statements about the following.

  • Discipline/sub-field(s), rank, start date (expressed as the academic year of hire, or a specific date), and tenure status.
  • Preferred or required educational background.
  • Preferred or required teaching experience.
  • Preferred or required research experience and/or research potential (for tenure-track positions).
  • Beginning date for review of applications.
  • Interfolio.com website address [https://apply.interfolio.com/XXXXX ]with the Interfolio ID# for the position replacing the XXXXX, once that ID# is obtained.
  • Name and email address of person to be contacted for questions about the position.
  • Material to be submitted—for example, cover letter, CV, teaching experience/philosophy, future research plans, writing sample, sample syllabus, letters of reference.
  • Affirmative action/equal opportunity statement. The following language should appear in all advertisements.

    Review of applications will begin [date] and will continue until the position is filled. Tufts University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer. We are committed to increasing the diversity of our faculty. Members of underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

After a department has received approval for the wording of an ad, it places the ad in the appropriate discipline-based outlets. In determining where to advertise, the department should consider the most appropriate professional journal(s) and job listings, including those aimed at women and people from underrepresented groups. Postings to online lists are also often an inexpensive and effective way to reach people.

All advertising expenditures ultimately are paid from the School of Arts and Sciences or School of Engineering faculty recruitment budget. Departments that pay for advertising up front are reimbursed. Because of the expense—an ad in some outlets can cost over $2,000—departments should place position announcements in any given venue only once. Placing an ad more than once requires permission from the AA officer or the dean.

Departments that want their advertisements to appear also on online job boards and as display ads in publications such as the Chronicle of Higher Education, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, or The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education should request to do so on the form for placing ads, with concrete justification. Since display advertisements in more general publications can be extremely expensive, they are only approved in special circumstances.

Note that each year the AA officer places a display ad listing all full-time faculty searches in the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, and The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education. This display ad provides the online link to all Arts and Sciences and Engineering faculty searches, including the full-text position announcements. The AA officer also places full-text announcements for all searches on HigherEdJobs.com, InsideHigherEd.com, the New England Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (NE-HERC) website, and the AS&E Faculty Searches website.

Employees who apply for visas or Permanent Resident status in the United States must have either (a) a copy of the print advertisement of the position for which they were hired, or (b) date-stamped print-outs of the announcement as it appeared online, proving that the announcement was online for at least 30 calendar days. Departments must provide copies of the announcement as it appeared online in discipline-based listings/publications, date-stamped at least 30 calendar days apart; copies of print ads are also welcome, although not required. Departments should send these copies to the AA officer for the official files.

In addition to the advertisement, most departments send position descriptions to colleagues and to graduate programs, as part of their outreach and networking. Since letters/emails of this nature are usually longer than advertisements, departments should ensure that such letters are consistent with the text of the advertisement regarding qualifications, deadlines, and other requirements.

Conducting Searches Online

The School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering have contracted with Interfolio.com to provide a web-based platform for conducting full-time and part-time faculty searches. The Department of Mathematics conducts its searches on Mathjobs.org. Via these web-based platforms, applicants submit all of their application materials online; references submit their letters online; and search committee members can read, evaluate, rate, make comments, and sort applications online. One big advantage of this is that it makes it possible for search committee members to review applications anywhere, anytime -- no more sharing paper files, keeping track of them, etc.

In AY2016-17, both the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering are requiring that departments conduct their faculty searches online. For more information, contact the AA officer in Arts and Sciences (Christine Cousineau, christine.cousineau@tufts.edu); the AA officer in Engineering (Darryl Williams, Darryl.williams@tufts.edu); Laura DiBacco in the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences (laura.dibacco@tufts.edu); or Kat Mor (kat.mor@tufts.edu) or Amy Maher (amy.maher@tufts.edu) in the Office of the Dean of Engineering.

PLEASE NOTE: Before you post/circulate any position announcement, you must first post your announcement to the online platform. Your position will then receive an ID number, which should be used in all other job postings.

Building a Diverse Applicant Pool—Outreach and Networking

In outreach and networking to build a diverse applicant pool, each constituency has several responsibilities, as follows.

The AA officer is responsible for the following.

  • Consulting with the chair regarding the composition of the search committee.
  • Attending a meeting of the search committee to discuss outreach and networking, and recruitment procedures.
  • Announcing faculty openings to Tufts faculty and staff and requesting help in locating applicants from underrepresented groups. A list of all faculty searches and full-text position announcements can also be found at http://ase.tufts.edu/faculty/searches/positions/positionsFullTime.htm.
  • Placing a listing of all openings for full-time faculty in publications such as The Chronicle of Higher Education, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, and The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, referring to the full-text listings on the A&S&E website. The AA officer also posts full-text position announcements on HigherEdJobs.com, InsideHigherEd.com and on the New England–Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (NE-HERC) website.
  • Maintaining files, organized by discipline, of potential contacts for outreach and networking to help to build as diverse a pool as possible for each search.
  • Providing information about searchable databases of potential applicants from underrepresented groups.

The department chair is responsible for the following.

  • Monitoring the recruitment process to ensure that the search committee is actively soliciting and locating a pool of underrepresented applicants.
  • Appointing people from underrepresented groups to the search committee wherever possible.

The search committee is responsible for the following.

  • Reading all search-related instructions and materials thoroughly.
  • Drawing on personal and professional networks to identify potential applicants from underrepresented groups.
  • Asking Tufts faculty, administrators, and staff from underrepresented groups about their connections with graduate programs that have a good track record for training graduate students from underrepresented groups.
  • When appropriate to the discipline, extending searches outside of academe.
  • Advertising in disciplinary publications and other outlets aimed at women and/or people from underrepresented groups.
  • Reviewing the AA officer's files on people in the field who are potential contacts for outreach and networking; getting in touch with those who could be most helpful.
  • Reviewing the searchable databases of potential applicants from underrepresented groups (provided by the AA officer), as appropriate to the field.
  • Seeking out women and/or people from underrepresented groups at professional meetings where recruitment takes place. The deans' office will help defray expenses for two members of the search committee to attend such meetings, given prior approval.
  • Considering potential for scholarly work, as well as actual publications, when reviewing applications.
  • Monitoring the search committee's progress to ensure that women and applicants from underrepresented groups are being attracted.
  • Logging outreach and networking efforts on the outreach questionnaire.

Long List of Potential Interview Candidates (First Cut) Stage

IMPORTANT NOTE: We have renamed this list. The old "Short List of Potential Candidates" has been renamed the "Long List of Potential Interview Candidates (First Cut)."

In this discussion, the term "applicant" refers to someone who applies for an open position; "long-list candidate" refers to an applicant who makes it through the first cut; and "interview candidate" refers to someone who makes the second cut and is invited for an on-campus interview. The short list of those granted on-campus interviews is typically drawn from the long list of ten to thirty potential interview candidates.

After the department has developed its long list of potential interview candidates, it should send the form listing the long-list candidates and documenting statistics about them to the AA officer. The department administrator should have access to the information about how the candidates identified themselves with respect to gender, ethnicity, race, veteran status, and disability status, and can provide this information on the form. This form provides the names and basic information about the long-list candidates, as well as a demographic breakdown of both the total pool of applicants and the long list of potential interview candidates.

At the same time, the department should submit the outreach questionnaire, which documents the outreach efforts the department has made in the search.

After the AA officer and the dean have signed off on the Long List of Potential Interview Candidates (First Cut), generally within three working days, the pre-interview stage may begin.

Pre-Interview Stage

When the date scheduled for review of applications has passed and the long list of potential interview candidates has been approved, the department makes the second cut, that is, determines which of the potential interview candidates to recommend for on-campus interviews. Departments gather information to inform this second cut in a number of ways.

  • In-person screening interviews of all long-list candidates, which typically take place at annual conferences in the discipline.
  • Screening interviews of all long-list candidates over the telephone or by videoconference.
  • Review of additional application materials solicited from the long-list candidates. For example, departments may ask applicants to submit only the names of references as part of their initial application, and then request actual letters of reference only from the long-list candidates.
  • Preliminary review of all applications by the search committee, which makes decisions about which applicants should be on the long list of potential interview candidates. The review of the long list of potential interview candidates is then carried out by the department as a whole to determine whom to recommend for the short list of interview candidates (on-campus interviews).
  • In-depth review of the long-list candidates' applications. For example, departments may read carefully the long-list candidates' submitted scholarly work, research plans, and/or teaching statements.
  • In-depth discussion of the long-list candidates' applications.

Short List of On-Campus Interview Candidates (Second Cut) Stage

We have renamed this list. In the past, this was sometimes referred to as the "Interview List."

After the department has made its second cut and selected the candidates it wishes to propose for on-campus interviews, it should send the following material electronically to the relevant dean and AA officer before the candidates are invited to campus:

  • The List of Applicants form (Affirmative Action Report, Section 1), including the reasons for not selecting people for interviews.
  • The names of the proposed interview candidates. This is the Short List of On-Campus Interview Candidates (Second Cut). Both the relevant dean and the AA officer will have access to the search materials on Interfolio, and will be able to read the applications of the proposed interview candidates there.

These materials should be sent at least two weeks before the first interview date if the department has set the interview dates before deciding which candidates will be invited to interview. Although the dean and/or the AA officer will try to respond within three working days, a full two weeks allows time for any necessary discussions among the dean, the department, and the AA officer, along with time to make travel arrangements far enough in advance to minimize expenses. In departments that do not set the interview dates until after the short list of candidates to be invited for interviews has been approved, this two-week interval does not apply.

The AA officer will verify that the reasons for not interviewing other applicants are consistent with the requirements for the position. In addition, the AA officer will check that the candidates proposed for interview do, in fact, have the requirements stated in the advertisement. For instance, if the ad states that teaching experience is required and the candidate has no teaching experience, the person may not be interviewed. If applicable, the dean and the AA officer will also raise any questions with the department about why someone apparently highly qualified was not selected for an interview, or why someone apparently less qualified was selected.

The reasons for not interviewing an applicant must be specific and related to the advertisement—for example, in the case above, "no teaching experience" or "teaching experience limited" or "teaching experience not in the required field" would be specific and relevant reasons. Other examples of acceptable reasons include, but are not limited to, weak letters of reference, insufficient advancement in doctoral studies, insufficient potential for growth reflected in scholarly publications, and research record not strong, etc. Comparative reasons, such as "scholarship and research not as strong as that of the selected interview candidates" or "teaching experience more limited than that of the selected interview candidates," are also acceptable. "Not qualified," "not a good fit," and "not as qualified as others" are too vague and general.

Understanding the importance of time in the interview process, the deans place a priority on reviewing and responding to search-related materials. Often the turnaround time is less than two working days although it is prudent to allow three. If an immediate response is required, departments should alert the dean and the AA officer.

Candidates should not be invited to campus for an interview until the department has received approval from the AA officer and/or dean.

On-Campus Interview Stage

Before the on-campus interviews take place, the department chair should consult with the dean regarding any outstanding issues. In addition, departments should consult with the dean's staff when scheduling interviews to ensure that the appropriate dean is available.

In the School of Arts and Sciences, candidates for positions at the level of associate or full professor should meet with both the appropriate dean of academic affairs for Arts and Sciences and the dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.

Those candidates who need startup equipment, funds, or other resources in order to begin their research at Tufts should be instructed to bring a list of these needs to their on-campus interviews.

The search committee may establish its own set of procedures for the interviews—for example, asking candidates to give a seminar or inviting students to meet with candidates. However, once those procedures are in place, they must be applied consistently to every candidate in that search, including internal candidates. Search committees often find it helpful to prepare questions and points of discussion in advance so as to cover the same topics with all candidates. Departments should be sensitive to the work/life needs of their own faculty when scheduling interview itineraries, and avoid scheduling essential parts of the interview (for instance, the job talk) at times when it would be difficult for people with family responsibilities to attend.

Questions related to gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, and disabilities are inappropriate, as are questions unrelated to the requirements of the position (such as references to pregnancy or to childcare arrangements). Interview candidates should also not be asked where else they are interviewing or whether they have received other job offers.

However, if the interview candidate asks questions or volunteers information about topics such as parental leave policies at Tufts, child care needs, elder care resources, or where else they are interviewing, it is fine to answer questions and discuss the issues.

It is permissible to ask candidates whether they will be able to provide, by the date their employment at Tufts would begin, appropriate documentation supporting their authorization to work in the United States. However, if this question is asked of any candidate, it should be asked of all. If candidates have questions about visas or their immigration status, please refer them to the International Center.

Conclusion of Search

When the interviews are over, the department chair discusses the candidates with the dean before (and after) the department deliberates and ranks candidates. Before an offer can be made to the candidate who is the first choice, the department must submit electronically the completed Affirmative Action Report, including Section 2 about the candidate selected, to the dean and the AA officer. When the proposed first-choice candidate has been approved, the dean contacts the department chair with a specific offer, which the chair can then relay to the candidate. Note that chairs should not write offer letters/emails that could be construed as contractual. After a candidate accepts an offer, the department chair informs the dean, under whose signature the dean's office sends a formal contract.

In the event that the first-choice candidate declines the offer, the dean must approve making an offer to the second-choice candidate before it is made.

Acknowledgment and Rejection Letters

In the ideal, departments acknowledge all applications via letter or electronic mail. Departments must send rejection notices to all applicants at the conclusion of the search. Departments may send rejection notices earlier in the search, provided they are certain they will not want to invite those applicants for an interview. However, no rejection notices may be sent before the date published for review of applications to begin. There is no required format or content for rejection letters; departments should craft these letters with language appropriate to the department and the search. The goal is to inform applicants of their status in a timely and professionally courteous way.

Keeping Search Files

Departments must keep all materials from a faculty search for seven full academic years in secure, confidential files. This includes copies of all advertisements, search forms, applications received, and correspondence with applicants. Files may be kept electronically. At the end of seven years, departments may destroy all the materials from a search. For AY16-17, departments should have on file materials from searches that took place in AY09-10, AY10-11, AY11-12, AY12-13, AY13-14, AY14-15, and AY15-16. Older search materials may be destroyed. The AA officer maintains certain portions of all faculty searches for much longer (currently, seventy-five years).