IV. Initiating the Faculty Search Process


Proactive and intentional efforts to recruit, retain and promote outstanding diverse faculty will need to be the new normal in faculty searches. The different recruitment practices, such as those outlined below, are a crucial part of the solution to enhance the faculty search process at Lehigh University.

Completing All of the Appropriate Paperwork

This handbook includes all the required forms that should be completed to launch a faculty search. The most current version of these forms can be found on the Provost’s website at http://www.lehigh.edu/~inprv/faculty/facsearches.html. The forms include:

  1. Faculty Recruitment & Initial Appointment Checklist (see example—Appendix 1)
  2. Faculty Employment Request Form (see example—Appendix 2)
  3. Permission to Advertise Request (see example—Appendix 3)

Note: The forms in this document are examples only. Complete the latest online Word or PDF versions at http://www.lehigh.edu/~inprv/faculty/facsearches.html .

Composition of the Committee

The composition of the search committee and its charge are key factors in determining the success of the search process. At Lehigh we are committed to an aggressive and active search process. Search committee members should be prepared to put in significant time and effort throughout the search process, from initiation through to the end of the campus interview. The search committee must conduct the search in a fair, objective, equitable, and transparent manner. A major part of the search committee's charge is to generate a strong, diverse applicant pool. The faculty search committees should:

  1. Include members with different perspectives and expertise as well as those who have demonstrated commitments to diversity.
  2. Include women and underrepresented minority faculty members whenever possible; include faculty from other departments if there are no women and/or minorities in the recruiting department.
  3. Appoint some search committee members from outside the department, whether or not those individuals are members of underrepresented minority groups, to bring a range of perspectives to the search process. Choose a search committee chair that will commit to conducting the search in a fair, objective, equitable, and transparent manner.
  4. Keep the size of the search committee reasonable (around five faculty).

The Search Committee’s Charge

The committee should be clear that its charge includes gender-equitable search practices, and the goal is to identify outstanding candidates for the position. It may take extra effort to have a pool that includes outstanding women and underrepresented minority candidates. The search committee should include statements that:

  1. Engage in a detailed discussion of selection criteria and position definition prior to beginning the search.
  2. Invite the Vice Provost for Academic Diversity to the first committee meeting.
  3. Compile a periodic report of the search for the Dean and Vice Provost for Academic Diversity, using AcademicJobsOnline, and submitted by the search committee.
  4. Be proactive and intentional in identifying strong, diverse candidates and encouraging applications.
  5. Develop methods for actively recruiting women and underrepresented minorities prior to beginning the search. Some ideas on how to do this are discussed later on in this handbook.
  6. Ensure that all applicants are considered equitably throughout the process.
  7. Maintain appropriate levels of confidentiality throughout the search.
  8. Consider how it can convincingly represent the university’s or department’s/program’s commitment to hiring and advancing female and underrepresented minority faculty. This may be of particular concern for departments/programs that have few or no women or underrepresented minority faculty.
  9. Decide on their role in recommending and/or selecting candidates for campus interviews and in organizing the campus visit.
  10. Discuss the final selection of candidates for campus interviews with the department, search committee chair and the Dean.

How to Make Active Recruitment Work

All candidates, including women and underrepresented minority faculty candidates, want to be evaluated for academic positions based upon their scholarly credentials. Underrepresented and women candidates may already assume that their race or gender may be a factor. They will not appreciate subtle or overt indications that they are being valued on other bases, such as their race or gender. Focusing on their scholarship, qualifications, and potential academic role is critically important.

Reviewing the Previous Departmental Search

  1. Find out how many women and underrepresented minorities have been brought to campus interviews in your field in previous searches.
  2. Determine why any candidate who have been offered a position, did not accept it.
  3. Consider whether positions have been defined too narrowly. If candidates have been ranked on a single list, consider using multiple ranking criteria in the future.

Defining the Position Suggestions

  1. Get consensus on areas of specialty and other specific requirements.
  2. Determine which criteria are truly necessary for the position.
  3. Define the position as broadly as possible while meeting department or program goals.
  4. Develop a clear position description that includes minimum qualifications and experience desired.
  5. Make sure that hiring criteria are directly related to the requirements of the position, clearly understood, and accepted by all members of the committee.
  6. Develop evaluation criteria that will foster an inclusive pool as you define the position.
  7. Consider, among selection criteria, the ability of the candidate to add intellectual diversity to the department/program and demonstrated ability to work with diverse students and colleagues.

Wording for Announcing Positions

  1. Cast the net as wide as possible.
  2. Eliminate unnecessary qualifications and use the description as a tool to widen the pool of candidates and , or broaden the range of teaching and research areas.
  3. Ensure that the position description does not unnecessarily limit the pool of applicants.
  4. Consider how the position will add to the intellectual community and diversity of the department/program.
  5. Include language in position ads that underscore the desire for diversity and inclusion, such as one of the following statements.
    1. “The College of XXXX at Lehigh University is committed to increasing the diversity and inclusion of the college community and curriculum.”
    2. “The College of XXXX at Lehigh University is especially interested in qualified candidates who can contribute, through their research, teaching, and/or service, to the diversity and excellence of the academic community.”
  6. AcademicJobsOnline includes the following statement in all ads. “Lehigh University is an Equal Opportunity Affirmative Action Employer. Lehigh University provides comprehensive benefits including partner benefits.”
  7. Include a statement, as appropriate, that “Lehigh University is a recipient of an NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation award for promoting the careers of women in academic science and engineering.”

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Before the Search Begins
  3. Legal Issues & the Search Process
  4. Initiating the Faculty Search Process
  5. Recruiting Activities During the Search
  6. Managing Campus Visits
  7. Final Selection of a Candidate
  8. Negotiating Contracts / Offers
  9. Evaluating the Search


  1. Faculty Recruitment & Initial Appointment Checklist
  2. Faculty Employment Request Form
  3. Permission to Advertise Request Form
  4. Reason for Declining Faculty Appointment Offer Form
  5. Workshops to Support the Process
  6. Principles of Our Equitable Community Document
  7. Lehigh University’s Core Values
  8. Board of Trustees Diversity Statement
  9. Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action / Non-Discrimination Policy
  10. Resources for Recruitment: Workshops, Publications, Organizations & Websites
  11. College & University Addresses
  12. Women & Minority Institutional Doctoral Directory
  13. Women & Minority Doctoral Award History
  14. Readings on Diversity, Gender & Faculty Recruitment
  15. Handbook References
  16. Faculty Search Resources
  17. Lehigh University Administrative Offices to Support Faculty Search
Female student taking notes