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Faculty Search Procedures – Full-time Faculty

Assistant, Associate and Full Professors, Full-time Lecturers, Professors of the Practice

The following describes the processes involved in conducting searches for full-time faculty at the School of Arts and Sciences. Consult the Administrative Guidelines for Faculty Searches for related financial and administrative policies.

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 department chair submits the proposal 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.

Conducting the Search

  1. Schedule meetings and establish timeline:
    a) As soon as possible after the position is approved, schedule a meeting of the Search Committee with your department's academic dean and the AA Officer (Christine Cousineau), even if members of your Search Committee are not yet all confirmed.

    b) Place HOLDS in your academic dean's schedule for meetings with your interview candidates. Contact your academic dean's administrative assistant and put two to three HOLDS per interview candidate in your academic dean's schedule in the months you expect to bring candidates to campus. In the case of senior positions, candidates also meet with the Dean of Arts and Sciences.

  2. Write the position announcement. Adapted from the position description submitted by the department in their request to the deans, this is the job ad that candidates will read and apply to. The initial description often goes through several rounds of editing before the final text is approved by the department chair and academic dean. The format should be as follows:

    DEPARTMENT: Field
    Rank (tenure status)
    Example:

    SOCIOLOGY: Race and Ethnicity
    Assistant Professor (tenure-rack)
    • Position description: "The Department of (...) at Tufts University is seeking a (rank) in (field, sub-field, topic) for (academic year)." Mention key characteristics of the position: definition of the field or sub-field, interdisciplinary approach, relationship to the department's faculty research, type of scholarship and teaching involved, course load, student engagement and mentoring, and any other relevant aspect of the position.

    • Qualifications: required and preferred qualifications candidates should possess – which degree in which field or discipline, evidence of excellence in scholarship and teaching, publications, funded research, ability to engage with diverse students with different pedagogies, and anything else the candidate should have or show promise of developing. The qualifications for the position need to be to clear and specific.

    • Application requirements: the first sentence should read: "All applications are submitted via Interfolio, at https://apply.interfolio.com/XXXXX." (The Math department uses Math Jobs, a similar platform.) Specify what applicants need to submit on Interfolio – cover letter, CV, letters of recommendations (or names of references for senior hires), teaching statement, research statement, writing sample, student evaluations, portfolio, videos, etc. Include the name of whom the letters of recommendations should be addressed to. There is a menu of choices on Interfolio for documents to submit, and new ones can be created by choosing "Other" and specifying one. Include the name and email (and phone number if desired) of the person to contact for candidates to ask questions about the position. This is usually the department administrator.
      The following are options to express the deadline for applications: "To ensure full consideration, applications must be submitted by (date)."; "Review will start on (date) and continue until the position is filled."; "Review of applications will start immediately and continue until the position is filled."

    • EEO Statement: The two paragraphs below are Tufts' EEO statement, and need to be included at the end of the position announcement:

      Tufts University, founded in 1852, prioritizes quality teaching, highly competitive basic and applied research, and a commitment to active citizenship locally, regionally, and globally. Tufts University also prides itself on creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community. Current and prospective employees of the university are expected to have and continuously develop skill in, and disposition for, positively engaging with a diverse population of faculty, staff, and students.

      Tufts University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. We are committed to increasing the diversity of our faculty and staff and fostering their success when hired. Members of underrepresented groups are welcome and strongly encouraged to apply. If you are an applicant with a disability who is unable to use our online tools to search and apply for jobs, please contact us by calling Johny Laine in the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) at 617-627-3298 or at Johny.Laine@tufts.edu. Applicants can learn more about requesting reasonable accommodations at http://oeo.tufts.edu.

      The EEO statement appears automatically when the position is posted on Interfolio, but must be included in the text that is sent out to be advertised. Review examples of position descriptions.

    Submit this form: Position Announcement

  3. Post the position on Interfolio. The department administrator, staff assistant, or search committee chair posts the position on Interfolio. The AA Officer approves and opens it, and Interfolio generates a number for the URL that candidates use to apply. That number replaces the XXXXX in the position announcement and is then used in all subsequent ads and in the posting on the AS&E website. For first-time users, instructions on the Interfolio Support website are very useful.

  4. Complete the composition of the Search Committee and meet with your academic dean and AA Officer. Forming the search committee can be done well before, simultaneously, or shortly after the writing of the position announcement. Search committee members should be full-time faculty from the department. When appropriate to the nature of the position and field, search committees are encouraged to include faculty from other departments, to strengthen interdisciplinary collaboration.

    The purpose of the Search Committee meeting with your academic dean and AA Officer is to:
    • ensure that everyone has the same understanding of what this position is and what kind of ideal candidate the department is looking for to join the faculty;
    • establish a timeline for the search – review period, search committee meetings, faculty meetings at which to report on the search, screening interviews of candidates, on-campus interviews of finalists;
    • establish a process for decision-making – determine how the search committee will interact with the department chair and full-time faculty to decide the first cut (Long List), second cut (Short List), and final selection;
    • go over the search procedures and forms.

    Submit this form: Search Committee

  5. Advertise, outreach, and recruit. The Dean's Office advertises the position in Higher Ed Jobs, Inside Higher Ed, and the New England Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (NE HERC), and posts it on the AS&E website at Faculty Searches, Full-time Openings.

    Each department is responsible for placing additional ads in more field-specific and diversity-oriented venues. The cost of these ads is reimbursed by the Dean's Office. Send receipts to Erica Colwell erica.colwell@tufts.edu.

    Once a year in early fall, the Dean's Office also publishes a display ad in The Chronicle of Higher Education and in Diverse Issues in Higher Education, with a full list of new full-time positions that Tufts will be searching for over the coming academic year and that will start the following academic year. Only the department, title, and rank are given on this list, with a link to Tufts' AS&E website for the full description on Interfolio.

    The Search Committee is responsible for searching The National Registry of Diverse and Strategic Faculty. The site lists venues in which to advertise to increase diversity, by field, and contains a searchable database of CVs from doctoral students, PhDs, and faculty from underrepresented groups.

    Account Login: Institution (Limited Access)
    Username: Tufts University
    Password: search

    Personalized outreach is critical to recruit a desired pool of applicants. Call or email colleagues and programs at other institutions, former students, and faculty in your professional network who might be interested in the position, know others who would be, or can circulate the ad. Post the ad on your department's website and on social media. Annual conferences and professional meetings in your field are good venues for recruiting candidates. Seek out women and people from underrepresented groups at these meetings where recruitment takes place. The Dean's Office will help defray expenses for two members of the search committee to attend such meetings, with prior approval.

    Submit this form: Outreach

  6. Identify the Long List. Search committee members develop evaluation criteria, review all applications, and agree on a first cut or Long List of potential candidates to interview. The review of all applications can be done by all search committee members, or can be divided among members, preferably to pairs of evaluators. Depending on the size of the applicant pool, the Long List is usually between 10 and 20 candidates. Use tags on Interfolio to identify Long List candidates.

    The table on p.2 of the Long List form lists all applicants with their academic and demographic characteristics, states their relationship, if any, to members of the department, and identifies applicants who are potential interview candidates. The demographic characteristics (gender, ethnicity, race, disability status, and veteran status) are self-reported by applicants as part of their application process. The table is filled by the department administrator or faculty member who on Interfolio has the status of Committee Manager, Administrator, or Administrator with EEO Access. The table can be filled by downloading an EEO report from Interfolio into Excel, and adding a column for "Relationship to department members". Read instructions on how to run an EEO report.

    The summary table (p. 3) compares the demographic characteristics between the total pool of applicants and the long list of potential candidates to interview.

    It is good practice to let candidates who did not make the Long List know that the search has passed the first screening stage and although they have not made the first cut, their application will be considered is something changes.

    The Long List needs to be approved by the AA Officer and academic dean.

    Submit this form: Long List of Potential Candidates to Interview

  7. Conduct screening interviews. The purpose of screening interviews is to pare down the Long List (10-20) to the Short List (3-4) of candidates to interview on campus. Screening interviews can be conducted in person or remotely by phone, Skype, or WebEx. In-person interviews are conducted at annual conferences and professional meetings, and can also occur if all candidates are local. If possible, all interviews should be carried in the same way (i.e., all by phone, all by Skype, all in person, etc.). Determine which same questions to ask of all candidates. Interviews can be as short as 20 minutes or as long as search committee members will allow, but should contain the same set of initial questions. Having two search committee members present for each interview is recommended.

    If screening interviews are not feasible, other ways of identifying a Short List from the Long List include the following:

    • 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 recommendation from the Long List candidates. For senior hires, you should let candidates know ahead of time that you will be contacting their references.
    • After the search committee has identified the Long List, the review of their applications is then carried out by the department as a whole to determine the Short List.
    • Careful review of all of the Long List candidates' application materials – scholarly work, research plans, and/or teaching statements – and in-depth discussion of their comparative merits.
  8. Identify the Short List. From the results of the screening interviews, or other methods used, agree on the Short List of candidates to interview on campus. This is usually three to four candidates. After the academic dean approves the Short List, contact the candidates and schedule their visits, keeping in mind the times you reserved in the deans' schedules. Use tags on Interfolio to identify Short List candidates.

    Send regrets emails to applicants who did not make the Short List. This can be done through Interfolio, in one email from the department administrator or search committee chair, that will be sent separately to each candidate. Read instructions.

    The Short List form lists the applicants, with their academic and demographic characteristics, identifies the 3 or 4 candidates who were selected to be interviewed, and gives the reasons why those who did not make the Short List were not selected. The reasons must be specific and objective, such as "wrong field," "no teaching experience," "insufficient publications," "weak letters of recommendation," "poor student evaluations," etc. "Not a good fit" is not a specific enough reason.

    The Short List needs to be approved by the department's academic dean and AA officer before interviews can be scheduled.

    Submit this form: Short List and Other Applicants (AA Report Section I)

  9. Conduct on-campus interviews. On-campus interviews involve job talks, meetings, informal discussions, lunches, and dinners. The department decides the type of events to hold and who is to be invited to each among the department faculty, students, and other departments. However, once those procedures are in place, they must be applied consistently to every candidate in that search, including internal candidates. Prepare questions and points of discussion in advance so as to cover the same topics with all candidates. Candidates for positions at the level of associate or full professor should meet with both the appropriate academic dean 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 encouraged to bring a list of these needs to their on-campus interviews.

    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). Departments are encouraged to schedule a short meeting between their interview candidates and the Associate Director for Work/Life (Christine Cousineau) to introduce them to work/life policies at Tufts. This covers nonacademic leaves (parental, medical, and family illness), child care, and housing resources.

    Interview candidates should not be asked where else they are interviewing or whether they have received other job offers. If questions about work authorization are asked of any candidate, they should be asked of all. If candidates have questions about visas or their immigration status, please refer them to the International Center.

    For guidelines on costs and eligible activities for reimbursement, see Administrative Guidelines for Faculty Searches.

  10. Recommend the finalist to the dean. 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 first-choice candidate, the department must submit the Final Selection form 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. For senior hires, offers are made by the academic dean.

    If negotiations are needed because the candidate has other offers to consider, they are conducted between the department chair and dean. 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.

    After a candidate accepts an offer, the department chair informs the dean, who then works with the Faculty Affairs Office to send a contract. Once the offer is accepted by the final candidate, the department administrator or search committee chair sends regrets letters or emails to the short list interviewees who were not selected.

    Submit this form: Final Selection Report (AA Report Section II)

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. At the end of seven years, departments may destroy all the materials from a search. For AY17-18, departments should have on file materials from searches that took place in AY10-11, AY11-12, AY12-13, AY13-14, AY14-15, AY15-16 and AY16-17. Older search materials may be destroyed.