Handbook for Faculty Recruitment
Drexel University strives to recruit outstanding faculty members and to create an academic climate that welcomes diversity in many areas, including ethnicity, national origin, religion, race, gender, age, disability and sexual orientation. Our immediate goal is twofold: 1) to broaden our recruitment net to include a wide-range of highly qualified candidates and 2) to keep track of our recruitment efforts and outcomes so that we can assess our progress and continue to improve. There are no specific numeric targets or quotas – only the important goal of broadening the search process for each of our open full-time positions.
This handbook gives guidelines for conducting a search that will yield the best candidates. Although nothing substitutes for actually reading this handbook, here is a summary of five key points:
Data show that, of all possible interventions to increase diversity, a diverse search committee is most likely to bring in a wide range of candidates. Include men and women on your committee, even if that means that your search committee will need to include some junior faculty, and seek ethnic and racial diversity as well. Try to include members with diverse experiences, backgrounds and perspectives to avoid the phenomenon of "groupthink."
Consider the job description and whether it can be broadened to include more diverse specialties or perspectives. An unduly narrow job description may restrict your applicant pool and ultimately inhibit the scope of ideas that help create a dynamic academic community.
Advertise in at least one publication or website that specifically attracts women or underrepresented minority faculty members. This demonstrates Drexel’s commitment to broadening our search process and may attract individuals who might not otherwise apply. Use the list of venues in this handbook and the suggested wording to indicate Drexel’s commitment to a welcoming academic climate.
Actively recruit. Drexel doesn’t recruit star basketball players by running an ad and waiting; we shouldn’t recruit star faculty members that way either. Ask each person on the search committee to contact at least three people in the field to suggest candidates with diverse experiences and perspectives, and have the search committee discuss active ways to widen the candidate net. Seek out desirable candidates at professional meetings, and plan ahead by making broad contacts before faculty positions become vacant.
Direct all applicants to Drexel's online application system.
Initiating the Faculty Search Process
Efforts to recruit, retain, and promote women and underrepresented minority faculty members have produced slow and uneven results across the nation. Studies reveal that women in academe are tenured and promoted more slowly, and earn less on average than their male counterparts, even when controlling for productivity and time in rank. The reasons for the relatively low representation of women and underrepresented minority faculty at the highest levels of academics are complex and will not be solved by recruitment alone. However, different recruitment practices, such as those outlined here, are a crucial part of the solution. Indeed, increasing the number of women and underrepresented minority faculty can do a great deal to change the academic climate, making it better and helping to ensure that the best students and faculty thrive.
Composition of the Committee
- Faculty search committees should include members with different perspectives and expertise as well as those who have demonstrated commitments to diversity.
- Faculty search committees should 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.
- Faculty search committees should consider appointing some search committee members from outside the department, whether or not those individuals are members of minority groups, to bring a range of perspectives to the search process.
The Search Committee's Charge
The committee should be clear that its charge includes gender-equitable search practices, and the goal of identifying outstanding women or underrepresented minority candidates for the position.
Committee members should determine whether the subject specialty of the position includes issues of race or gender.
The committee should be encouraged to engage in a detailed discussion of selection criteria and position definition prior to beginning the search.
The committee should consider how to accurately represent the school or department’s commitment to hiring and advancing underrepresented minority and female faculty. This may be of particular concern for departments that have few or no women or underrepresented minority faculty members. In these cases, it may be helpful to develop long-term strategies for recruiting diverse faculty members. For example, the department might consider inviting women or minority faculty to give presentations and then invite them to apply for positions the following years.
- Search committees, departments, and colleges will be held accountable for casting a broad net to facilitate an inclusive search and will be asked to provide documentation of an inclusive search.
How Active Recruitment Efforts Can Backfire
All candidates, including women and underrepresented minority faculty candidates, want to be evaluated for academic positions based upon their scholarly credentials. They will not appreciate subtle or overt indications that they are being valued on other bases, such as their gender or race. Women candidates and candidates of color may already assume that their gender or race may be a factor. It is important that contacts with women and minority candidates for faculty positions focus on their scholarship, qualifications, and potential academic role.
Defining the Position
Develop broad hiring goals. Get consensus on areas of specialty and other specific requirements while planning to cast the hiring net as widely as possible.
Make sure that the position description does not needlessly limit the applicant pool.
Consider, among selection criteria, the ability of the candidate to add intellectual diversity to the department and demonstrated ability to work with diverse students and colleagues.
If women or underrepresented minority candidates are hired in areas that are not at the center of the department’s focus and interest, they may be placed in a challenging situation. It is important to avoid this, which may require careful thought about how the department will support not only the individual, but also the development of that person’s area within the department. Consider "cluster hiring," which involves hiring more than one faculty member at a time to work in the same specialization.
If women and underrepresented minority faculty members are expected to play an especially active role on a variety of institutional committees and by mentoring students, be sure to recognize this additional service burden in their overall service load. This is especially important in colleges or departments in which there are few women or minority faculty members so the disproportionate service burdens fall on just a few faculty members.
Establish selection criteria and procedures for screening, interviewing candidates, and keeping records before advertising the position and before materials from applicants begin to arrive.
Make sure that hiring criteria are directly related to the requirements of the position, clearly understood, and accepted by all members of the committee.
Get committee consensus on how different qualifications will be weighed. Plan to create multiple short lists based on different criteria. (See "Screening Applications")
Wording for Announcing Positions
Make certain that the Drexel University publicity materials appear welcoming to women and underrepresented minority faculty. Proactive language can be included in job descriptions to indicate a department’s commitment to diversity. This may make the position more attractive to female and underrepresented minority candidates.
All advertisements should state, "Drexel University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and encourages applications from women, members of minority groups, disabled individuals and veterans."
Consider also including one of the following statements:
"Drexel University and the (department/program) are interested in candidates who are committed to the highest standards of scholarship and professional activities, and to the development of a campus climate that supports equality and diversity."
"Drexel University welcomes and encourages diversity and encourages applications and nominations from women and minorities. Drexel seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce to enhance our global presence, broaden our research, and offer our students richly varied disciplines, perspectives, and ways of learning."
"The Department is particularly interested in candidates with experience working with students from diverse backgrounds and a demonstrated commitment to improving access to higher education."
"The Department is particularly interested in individuals with a history of promoting diversity."
"Experience in mentoring women and minorities in historically underrepresented fields is desired."
"Drexel University is especially interested in qualified candidates who can contribute, through their research, teaching and/or service, to the diversity and excellence of our academic community."
Committee Activity Before the Search Begins
It is likely to be extremely useful for the search committee, or a larger group in the department or college, to engage in a review of the national context, as well as the department’s own past history of searching and hiring, before beginning a new search. The department is more likely to be able to achieve the desired outcome if it has some understanding of factors that may have played a role in limiting past success, or fostering past achievements, in diverse recruitment.
Reviewing the National Pool
The Office of Faculty Affairs can help identify the national pool of qualified candidates for the field in which you are hiring.
The National Science Foundation Survey of Earned Doctorates is published yearly and can be helpful in estimating the number of new graduates in some fields.
Identify any institutions or individuals nationally that are especially successful at producing women doctorates and/or post-doctorates in your field. Be sure to recruit actively from those sources.
Reviewing Past Departmental Searches
If possible, find out how many women and underrepresented minority applicants have been brought to campus for interviews in your field in previous searches.
If women and minority applicants have been hired in recent searches, consider asking the search committees, the department chair and the candidates themselves how they were successfully recruited.
If women and underrepresented minority applicants have been offered positions but have turned them down, consider finding out why they declined. Be sure to collect multiple accounts; they often conflict. Listen for potential insights into departmental practices that might have been a factor in candidates’ decisions. Stories that appear to be highly individual at first may reveal patterns when considered in the aggregate.
Find out what has happened to women and underrepresented minority faculty members who were offered appointments in previous searches. Where are they now? Does it appear that something interfered with your assessment of their likely success?
If no women or underrepresented minority candidates have been offered positions in recent searches, consider redefining departmental evaluation systems in ways that might take strengths of diverse candidates into better account. 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.
Recruiting Activities During the Faculty Search
Broadening the Hiring Net
View your committee’s task as including a process of generating a pool rather than merely tapping it. The goal is to search for outstanding candidates and not merely sort through applications as they arrive. This may be accomplished when committee members attend presentations at national meetings and develop a list of potential future candidates. Candidates identified in this way may be in any field, not necessarily the one targeted for a particular search. Alternatively, the department or college may consider creating a committee to generate women and/or underrepresented minority candidates, who can then be considered for targeted recruitment outside of subfield-defined searches. Before Drexel or candidates are ready for an active search, the committee may consider issuing invitations to highly qualified women or minority candidates to visit Drexel informally to present their research. Cultivating future candidates is an important activity for the search committee to undertake, and may require that the search have a longer time horizon than is typical.
Contact women and underrepresented minority candidates in their final year of their Ph.D. studies to inform them about Drexel University and describe potential vacancies. Consider inviting them to present their work at a seminar.
Consider a faculty exchange program with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), colleges with large underrepresented minority populations, or women’s colleges.
Search for senior scholars outside academia, such as in industry, some of whom may be well suited to a faculty position.
If your department generates a significant number of qualified applicants nationally, consider setting aside the traditional constraint against "hiring our own." It may be important, if your department or related ones at Drexel are a significant provider to the faculty pipeline, to avoid unduly constraining the search to those trained elsewhere.
Keep in mind that some eminent universities have only recently begun to actively recruit women and underrepresented minorities as students. Therefore, consider candidates from a wide range of institutions.
Consider the possibility that women or underrepresented minority candidates who have excelled at their research in departments less highly ranked than Drexel’s may be under-placed and might thrive in the Drexel University research environment.
Make sure that the committee’s system of evaluation does not inadvertently screen out well-qualified applicants from HBCUs, HSIs, universities with large populations of underrepresented minority candidates, or women’s colleges.
- Be careful to place a suitable value on non-traditional career paths. Take into account time spent raising children or getting particular kinds of training, unusual undergraduate degrees, and different job experiences. There is considerable evidence that evaluations of men frequently go up when they have such work experience, while evaluations of women with the same kinds of experience go down.
- Keep in mind that female candidates are more likely to be hired when more than one woman is brought in for an interview.
- Re-open or intensify the search if the pool of applicants does not include female or underrepresented minority candidates who will be seriously considered by the search committee.
Active Recruiting Practices
All positions must be posted on Drexel's online application system for at least 30 days.
Advertise the position for at least 30 days before the application deadline.
Use electronic job posting services, newspapers, journals and publications that are targeted at diverse groups in your discipline. Consider purchasing a posting package with certain advertising sites (See page "Resources for Recruitment" for more information about packages.)
Make personal contacts with women and minority group members at professional conferences and invite them to apply.
Consider visiting lectureships and visiting professorships that invite women and underrepresented minority faculty to the Drexel University campus to broaden Drexel’s environment while exposing diverse faculty to the institution.
Ask faculty and graduate students to help identify women and minority candidates.
Ask each member of the search committee to contact three colleagues at other institutions to seek nominations of students nearing graduation or others interested in moving laterally.
Identify suitable women and minority faculty at other institutions, particularly faculty members who may currently be under-placed, and send job announcements.
Contact relevant professional organizations for rosters listing women and minorities receiving PhDs in the field.
Resist the urge to use one standard to measure achievement. Candidates who received their terminal degree later in life, or worked part-time to meet family responsibilities, or whose teaching and publication experience is not mainstream, may bring rich experiences to the campus.
Attracting International Faculty
International faculty members bring valuable experience, knowledge and perspectives to Drexel University and are a key element in any global institution. Attracting the best faculty is now a worldwide competition, and Drexel is eager to create a supportive and globally engaged academic home. To help meet the various needs of international faculty, the Office of Faculty Affairs and the Office of International Programs has published the Drexel University Guidebook for International Faculty: A Practical Guide to Working at Drexel and Living in Philadelphia.
Active Recruiting Resources
Be aware that most fields have resources — listservs, email groups, etc. — that can help identify or reach qualified women and underrepresented minority candidates.
The National Science Foundation Survey of Earned Doctorates is published yearly. While it does not list individual doctorate recipients, it is a good resource for determining how big the pool of new women and minority scholars will be in various fields.
As you evaluate applicants and candidates, be aware of the evaluation biases that psychological research has identified in both women's and men's judgments of job candidates. You may want to view the videotaped lecture by Dr. Virginia Valian summarizing this research, and discuss it as a group or read some of her written work. The most important general point about the process of creating the short list is to build in several checkpoints for considering whether you are satisfied with the pool of candidates.
- Get consensus on the multiple criteria that will be used to choose candidates for interviews. Notice that different criteria may produce different top candidates. Be sure to consider all criteria that are pertinent to the department’s goals (e.g., experience working with diverse students). In addition, discuss the relative weighting of the different criteria, and the likelihood that no or few candidates will rate high on all of them.
- Develop a "medium" list from which to generate your short list. Are there women or minority candidates on it? If not, consider intensifying the search before moving on.
- Consider creating separate short lists ranking people on different criteria, such as teaching, research potential, and mentoring capacity. Develop your final short list by listing the top candidates across different criteria. Evaluate this step before finalizing the list; consider whether evaluation bias may still be affecting your choices.
- Alternatively, generate a separate "medium" list that ranks the top female or underrepresented minority candidates if only one or two appear on your first medium list. Consider whether evaluation bias might have played a role in the committees judgments by comparing the top female or minority candidates on the new '"medium" list with the original medium lists. Create a new short list by drawing the top candidates from both "medium" lists.
- Plan to interview more than one woman and minority candidate. Interviewers evaluate women more fairly when there is more than one woman in the interview pool, and the same may be true for minority scholars. Data show that when there is only one woman, she is far less likely to succeed than women who are compared to a mixed-gender pool of candidates, probably because of the heightened salience of her gender. (See Valian, Virginia . Why So Slow? Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. See especially Chapter 7.)
To save unnecessary travel time for candidates and expense for the University, faculty search committees are increasingly using phone or Skype interviews as the first step in the screening process. In many cases a 30-minute phone interview can enable the search committee, and the candidate, to determine whether the candidate and the position are likely to be a good match and whether the recruitment process should proceed to an on-campus interview.
The phone or Skype interview should be taken as seriously as any face-to-face interview, with plenty of advance notice given to all participants and at least 30 minutes set aside without interruptions for everyone on the call. The entire search committee or just two or three members who represent the group can participate. It can be conducted via Skype or conference call with the candidate and search committee members at various locations, or by having the members of the search committee gathered in one room. In general, the most simple method is to use a conference call number and have everybody just call in.
Since the decision of whether or not to move ahead with the candidate is based on a relatively short conversation, it is best if one person – generally the search committee chair – participate on every call to ensure consistency and fairness. A standard list of questions should be used for every candidate and either provided to every candidate in advance or not provided to any candidate in advance. A sample list of questions is provided in this handbook, but the actual list should be devised by the search committee and customized to fit the requirements of the faculty position.
Immediately following the conversation with the candidate, the search committee members can communicate by completing a brief assessment of the candidate with a recommendation about whether or not the candidate should be invited to campus. The chair can then determine the consensus and whether the candidate should move to the next step. Alternatively, the search committee can discuss several candidates’ phone interviews at the committee’s next regular meeting in order to compare the merits of several candidates and rank them. In any case, prompt communication to the candidate about the outcome of the phone interview is extremely important.
The three messages to communicate during any interview, whether on Skype, telephone or on-campus, are as follows:
Drexel University is seriously interested in the candidate’s scholarly credentials and work;
Drexel University is a good place to develop an academic career and thrive in a lively academic atmosphere; and
Drexel University has a variety of supportive, family-friendly policies in place and cultivates a diverse educational environment.
How these messages get communicated can make a critical difference and can determine whether the top candidate joins the Drexel faculty or chooses to join the faculty at another institution.
The following list provides useful tips for managing interviews:
Make it clear that you are interested in the candidate’s scholarship and skills, rather than his or her demographic characteristics. It is generally not helpful to make a point with candidates that the department is eager to hire women and minorities.
Consider how the department will represent Drexel University as a place in which all faculty, including women and underrepresented minority faculty, can thrive. Distribute information about potentially relevant Drexel policies (tuition remission, tenure "clock stop," etc.) and Drexel’s work-life resources to all job candidates regardless of gender. For information, see http://www.drexel.edu/facultyaffairs
Review legal/illegal questions to ensure that all interviewers and committee members know the parameters. (See "Guidelines for Interview Questions" for more information.)
Present clear and public policies and procedures for evaluation and promotion.
Schedule interviews and events consistently. Allow equal time for each candidate to interview and meet with the same personnel whenever possible.
Use a set of common questions with all candidates to allow comparative judgment and ensure that crucial information related to the position is obtained.
Treat internal candidates with the same consistency. If you often recruit from among alumni, be sure to consider the fact that those non-alumni who don’t have the "head start" that comes from knowing people on campus might need to spend more time here in order to receive equitable consideration.
Give the candidate a chance to interact with the department’s faculty in multiple venues.
Formal talks may not reveal every candidate’s strengths. Consider including Q+A sessions, "chalk talks," and other less formal interactions. Focus on the candidate’s ability to perform the essential functions of the job and avoid making assumptions based on perceived race, ethnic background, religion, marital or familial status, age, disability, sexual orientation, or veteran status.
If the candidate will assume a leadership role (division chief, department chair, etc.) examine the candidate’s commitment to goals of diversity and gender equity, as well as the candidate’s history of mentoring women and underrepresented minority faculty.
Create opportunities for the candidate to meet with other faculty or community members who can provide relevant information to candidates who are women or members of underrepresented groups. Be sure to offer information and access to faculty who might represent opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration. Opportunities should be offered to all candidates, not just women and underrepresented minority candidates.
Avoid leaving candidates alone with faculty who may be hostile to hiring women or members of underrepresented minority groups. If a candidate is confronted with racist or sexist remarks, take positive and assertive steps to defuse the situation. Be sure there is a practice in place in the department for dealing with the expression of racist or sexist attitudes, and that the candidate is made aware of it, if the situation arises.
Introduce women and minority members of the department to all candidates, not just women and minority candidates.
Guidelines for Interview Questions
All candidates should be asked the same interview questions and given the same amount of time for the interview. This list of specific suggestions has been provided by the Office of Equality and Diversity.
Understanding the types of questions that are appropriate and lawful to ask during a pre-employment interview is essential to ensuring compliance with our equal opportunity obligations.
Three basic guidelines should be followed when selecting questions to be used in the interview process:
Ask only for information you intend to use in making a hiring decision.
Know in advance how you will use the information to make that decision before you ask the question.
Recognize that it is extremely difficult to defend the seeking of information that is not directly relevant to the job.
The following are guidelines about specific question areas:
- Age and Date of Birth– Federal and state law prohibits discrimination on the basis of age. The applicant may be asked if he/she meets the minimum age requirement as set out by law (usually 18) but may not be asked to state age or date of birth or to provide proof of age.
Name and National Origin – No inquiry should be made about an applicant’s maiden name, a person’s lineage, ancestry, national origin or descent. This also applies to questions about partners, parents or other relatives. Applicant should provide current legal name for identification purposes and may be asked to provide any other names he/she has used in the past (needed for checking academic and work history).
Marital Status – Any questions about an applicant’s relatives, marital status, dependents (number, ages, child care arrangements, etc.) and partner's employment (salary, shift or travel schedule) are prohibited. You may ask only whether the applicant is able to meet the work schedule.
Birthplace/Citizenship – You may ask an applicant if he/she is legally eligible to work in the U.S. You may not ask for an applicant’s country of citizenship or country of origin.
Religion/Creed – Inquiries about an applicant’s religious denomination, affiliation, parish, pastor, or holidays observed are not permitted.
Military Service – It is permissible to ask about the type of education and experience gained from military service if it is related to the job. Interviewers should refrain, however, from asking about the type of discharge received. Since Drexel University is required to take affirmative action in the employment of special disabled, Vietnam era and other eligible veterans, if the candidate offers this information during the interview, it may be recorded in the interview notes.
Education – It is permissible to ask about an applicant’s academic, professional or vocational educational background, when it is related to the applicant’s ability to perform the essential functions of the job. Asking about national, racial or religious affiliation of a school, or its gender restrictions, is prohibited.
Organizations – It is permissible to ask about professional organizational memberships as long as the applicant is made aware of his/her right to exclude the name or character of any organization that is predominantly racial, religious or sexual in nature.
Financial Data, Credit Record, Garnishment Record or Fidelity Bond – Questions to applicants about these issues are inappropriate unless there is a clear business necessity for this information. In the latter case, Human Resources will handle this inquiry.
Arrest/Conviction Record – It is inappropriate to ask about the arrest record of an applicant because an arrest does not necessarily mean that the individual was convicted. Inquiries about convictions may not be made unless they are made of all applicants. A conviction may prejudice the applicant’s status only if the nature of the conviction has a bearing on job performance in that specific position. The required background check by Human Resources, after an offer is made, will generate pertinent information.
Photographs – Photographs may not be reviewed or requested prior to employment.
Height and Weight – This information may not be requested of applicants and should not be used as a consideration for employment.
- Physical/Mental Disabilities – No questions should be asked about whether a person has a disability or about the severity or nature of the disability. You may ask whether the individual is able to carry out all essential job requirements in a safe manner, as long as this question is posed to all candidates. Drexel University is required to make reasonable accommodations for physical or mental limitations of employees if they are able to perform the essential functions of the job. This includes alteration of duties and physical settings as well as provision of aids. (See "Guidelines for Providing Accommodations for Disabilities" for information on accommodation of a candidate’s disability during the interview process.)
- Language Skills – Questions about ability to speak, read or write English or a foreign language are permitted only if that skill is required by the job.
- Race – No questions are appropriate or permitted.
- Sexual Orientation – No questions are appropriate or permitted.
The Importance of Dual Career Considerations
While it is critical that all candidates be treated first and foremost as the scholars they are, it is equally important that search committees and departments understand the importance of dual career considerations. Dual career problems are especially acute for women faculty, especially those in science and engineering.
However, it is critical that committee members know that it is illegal and inappropriate for an individual’s marital status, family situation, or gender orientation to affect evaluation of his/her application. Knowledge, guesses, or intimations about these matters should not enter hiring discussions, either formal or informal.
Female faculty members are much more likely to be partnered with other professionals than are male faculty. For example, about 50% of married female physicists are married to other physicists, while only about 7% of married male physicists are married to other physicists. This means that disadvantages that affect two-career academic couples have a disproportionate impact on women. Moreover, female scientists are also twice as likely as male scientists to have no partner at all, and thus to have no household support system. Recognize that there is variability among women faculty members in their personal and household circumstances. Do not assume a uniform model involving a husband and children.
Make sure everyone on the search committee is familiar with Drexel’s dual career support programs coordinated by the Office of Faculty Affairs.
Provide candidates information about dual career options at Drexel and make sure candidates know about the diverse employment possibilities their partners might find not only at the University, but throughout Philadelphia and the Greater Delaware Valley.
Consider including a sentence like the following in job postings, if the committee and department chair are in fact willing to do their best to help place qualified partners: "The University is responsive to the needs of dual career couples."
Let candidates know that they may ask about dual career issues or other policies that may make Drexel University more attractive to them and that assistance is available. Do not, however, ask the candidate for information about relationship or family status if they do not volunteer it. Some candidates will fear that any focus on this issue would place them at a disadvantage. Instead, make sure that candidates have all available information about Drexel University policies and resources that might help them so that the candidates will feel comfortable about making use of them if they so desire.
Finalists should meet with the Office of Faculty Affairs to discuss possible dual career issues during their campus visit.
All finalists should be provided with the link http://drexel.edu/facultyaffairs/work-life-balance for the Office of Faculty Affairs. In addition, departments may request hard-copy versions of this information.
Sample Phone/ Interview Questions (30-Minute Phone Interview)
Welcome & Introductions of everybody on the call
Discuss vitae/experience (if anything needs clarification or elaboration)
Questions for Candidate:
How does your work fit in with the approach of the department? The college? Drexel University?
What interests you about this position? What motivates you to consider leaving your current position?
How would your work expand upon the department’s current areas of focus?
How will you balance all functions of a faculty member/administrator? What percentage of time do you envision in scholarly work, teaching, administration, artistic activities, and community engagement/clinical work?
The college focuses on scholarly work, teaching, artistic activities, and community engagement/clinical work. Let’s look at those areas:
- Tell us about your experience teaching with undergraduates and graduate students. Specifically, please tell us about your experience with doctoral/master’s level programs, curriculum design, accreditation and advising graduate students.
- How would you define your area of scholarship or artistic engagement as it has developed over your career? Tell us about your work. How will it continue at Drexel? How would it be funded?
- Tell us about your experience working with the community/clinical work. If you plan to continue, how will it be funded?
- If the position involves administrative responsibility, it is helpful to ask:
- How would you describe your management style?
- How do you feel about "growing" a department or program?
- What was your most challenging personnel problem and how was it resolved?
- How would you characterize your work with teams? With peers? With students? Administrators? Staff? Community members?
- What, in your opinion, are some of the attributes of an optimally functioning academic department or college?
- What would you say are your administrative strengths? What about your administrative weaknesses?
- How have you supported the growth of your direct reports? How will you support the growth of junior faculty, including those outside your area? How have you supported the growth of women/underrepresented minority faculty/staff who report to you?
At the end of the call, offer to answer the candidate’s questions and thank the candidate, providing a timeframe for when the candidate will hear back.
Guidelines for Conducting Reference Checks
Drexel University must make a reasonable effort to learn about a candidate before inviting him/her to join the community. The University can best protect against liability for "negligent hiring" by checking background and references to the extent possible. Also, reference checks may help clarify or dispel any concerns or uncertainties about a candidate and may give information that will help you supervise the employee more effectively.
It is true that many organizations give only the slightest information about a former or present employee (e.g., position title and years of employment). Nonetheless, you should attempt to conduct a reference check and document that you have done so with the results noted. This will protect the University in the event of a situation after the person is employed or if the person does not get the job and files a lawsuit.
Do not do online research about candidates, for example by "Googling" them or going to LinkedIn or Facebook. You should not conduct your own online research about a candidate, although it is acceptable to visit a candidate’s website if the candidate has specifically referred you to it, for example by listing the website on their CV. Online research through Google, LinkedIn, Facebook or other sources has the potential of inadvertently uncovering private information about the candidate that is irrelevant to his/her ability to perform the job duties, including information about the candidate’s race, religion or sexual orientation, potentially introducing bias into the process. In addition, many people have the same name and it is easy to obtain information that pertains to someone else with the same name as your candidate. Finally, what is online may be incorrect, and we have no way of verifying accuracy. To be safe, avoid doing your own online research about candidates.
Call only the references that the candidate has given you permission to contact. If you would like to contact the employee’s direct supervisor or present employer, be sure that you obtain permission from the candidate. If you would like to go "off list," secure the candidate’s permission first.
Identify yourself immediately, explain your position with Drexel University, and tell the person that you are calling for a reference on a candidate for employment with the University.
Ask if he/she is free to discuss the candidate, and assure him/her that the discussion is in confidence.
If you sense that the person doubts the legitimacy of your call, offer to have him/her call you back.
Describe the position for which the candidate is being considered so that the reference can give a more accurate evaluation of the candidate’s suitability.
Let the reference talk freely for as long as he/she wishes without interruption. Often a question at the wrong time will prevent you from getting important information.
Follow up and probe when you feel the contact is reluctant to discuss certain factors. Many times a further explanation of why you are "digging" will elicit the information you want.
Do not conclude the call until you are sure you know the opinion of the person you have called. You may have received ambiguous answers or the reference may not have provided much useful information. You may want to summarize the conversation by saying "I take it that you don’t recommend the candidate very highly for this position" or "It sounds like you highly recommend the candidate for this position." This may encourage the reference to clarify his/her opinion.
Conclude the call by thanking the reference.
If you have received very positive or very negative information from a reference, it is recommended that additional references be checked to ensure that you are not getting a one-dimensional opinion.
- It is important to remember that all questions asked during references checks must be job-related. It is illegal to ask questions of references that cannot be legally asked of the applicant.
Guidelines for Providing Accommodations for Disabilities
For assistance in preparing to interview or evaluate a candidate with a disability, please contact the Drexel Office of Disability Resources at 215-895-1401.
As an employer, Drexel University is subject to both Section 503/504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. To be covered by the law, a person must currently have an impairment that substantially limits "one or more major life activities." The Supreme Court, in interpreting eligibility, has decided that when judging whether or not an individual has a disability recognized by the law, one must take into account any corrective measures that are being used to control or overcome the impairment, such as corrective eyeglasses, medication to control diabetes, or other illnesses.
One provision of the laws on disability is that the University must provide reasonable accommodations for applicants and employees with disabilities who are able to perform the essential functions of the job in question.
These requirements should be well understood by those involved in a search process. All employers must be sensitive to the barriers faced by the qualified individuals with disabilities and must ensure that they have the same opportunity as all other applicants to be considered fairly for positions at the University. This may require providing accommodations in the interview process or in testing. In addition, we must clearly identify the essential functions of the job in order to determine whether or not each applicant can perform those tasks, with or without reasonable accommodations. When conducting an interview, all questions must be job-related and focus on the candidate’s ability to successfully perform the essential functions of the job.
Qualified candidates cannot be rejected for employment because they need, or it is thought that they need, reasonable accommodations. It is important to note that the cost of potential accommodations should also not be considered when making employment decisions.
Although it is important to understand that people with the same disability or functional limitation may not have the same needs, the following guidelines might be helpful to hiring officials and search committees when interviewing candidates with specific disabilities.
Candidates who use wheelchairs
People who use wheelchairs can hold physically demanding jobs and need not be confined to desk jobs.
Make sure that the interview is conducted at a wheelchair-accessible location.
Don’t be surprised if the person transfers, or asks to transfer, from a wheelchair to a piece of furniture or gets out of the wheelchair to move about for a short while.
- Don’t be overly sensitive about using words like "running" or "walking."
Candidates who are blind or visually impaired
A person’s visual acuity may change under different light conditions. Keep in mind that visual impairment is not necessarily total lack of vision.
If the candidate seems to need assistance, offer your services. If you need to guide a person who is blind through a door or to a chair, let the person take your arm and follow the movement of your body. Guide his or her hand to the back of the chair.
Speak directly to the individual who is blind or visually impaired. Inform the person when you are leaving or entering the room.
Introduce other people in the room or have them introduce themselves in order to assist the candidate in orienting him or herself to the room and its occupants.
When you are guiding the candidate into a new or strange surrounding, you may want to describe special features or decorations.
When giving directions, use directional words with the orientation of the person who is blind.
Be prepared to read aloud information that is written, or ask the person if he or she will need a reader.
Candidates who are deaf or hearing impaired
Face the candidate directly. Do not position yourself so that you are directly in front of harsh light or window as it obscures/silhouettes the interviewer’s face, making it difficult to see.
Not all people who are hearing impaired can lip-read, but many do it quite well. When speaking, use meaningful facial expressions and gestures to emphasize your intent and attitude as a substitute for tone of voice, even in the presence of a sign language or oral interpreter. Do not change the subject without warning.
Do not shout. Use a normal tone of voice and do not restrict yourself to monosyllabic words.
If you cannot understand the candidate with a hearing impairment, do not be afraid to ask that the statement be repeated. If this does not work, try paper and pencil.
Candidates who have Cerebral Palsy (and other conditions that have muscular or neurological limitations)
Cerebral Palsy may affect motor ability and/or speech but does not affect intelligence. Some involuntary or halting movement or limitation of movement may be observed, as well as lisping, disrupted speech or flatness of tone due to lack of motor control of the tongue and lips. The severity and functional effects of the disability vary from person to person. Unless the candidate is severely disabled, or has other disabilities, no accommodation may be needed for the interview itself. If the candidate’s speech is difficult to understand, the interviewer should not be afraid to ask the candidate to repeat what was said. If a candidate has severe cerebral palsy, he or she may find it more effective to communicate by writing, typing or using communication boards of electronic devices.
Mental illness can be successfully treated, and people who are mentally restored have skills, experiences and abilities that are not affected by their illness. For the purposes of employment, a person who is mentally restored is one who has experienced a mental or emotional difficulty that currently is under control to the extent that the individual is able to function effectively and satisfactorily in a specific job. The qualifications of people who are mentally restored must be given the same consideration as those of other applicants.
Candidate Evaluation Sheet
(image of evaluation sheet from PDF edition of the handbook)
The way in which contract negotiations are conducted can have a huge impact not only on the immediate hiring outcome, but also on a new hire’s future success at Drexel. Candidates who believe that negotiations were conducted honestly and openly will feel more satisfied in their positions and more committed to staying at Drexel than those who feel that a department has deliberately withheld information, resources, or opportunities from them. Equity in the negotiated conditions and in the department’s follow-through on the commitments is likely to be very important factors in retention as well as recruitment.
Women and underrepresented minority faculty candidates may have received less mentoring at previous career stages than their counterparts, and may therefore be at a disadvantage in knowing what they can legitimately request in negotiations.
The actual negotiation is often between the candidate and the dean and may not involve the search committee. However, to ensure equity the search committee and dean should consider providing all candidates with a complete list of things it would be possible for them to discuss in the course of negotiations. These might include:
Course release time / Teaching Load
Release time for research
Tenure clock stoppage
Lab equipment / space / renovation
Research assistants / Teaching assistants
Clerical / Administrative support
Discretionary funds – books, journals, memberships, etc.
Assistance with partner career options
- Tuition exchange or remission for dependents
Be sure to provide clear, detailed information about mentoring practices as well as all review criteria and milestones such as annual reviews, third year reviews, tenure reviews, and post-tenure promotion reviews.
Evaluating the Search Process
Evaluation should be both ongoing and summative. If at any point during the search it becomes apparent that the applicant pool is not diverse enough, or sufficiently well-qualified, reassess the advertising and recruitment process. Analyze whether the hiring net was cast broadly enough and, if not, what can be done. Although sometimes the outcome is the result of the pipeline, often a committee can be more aggressive in attracting outstanding candidates.
If the department hires a woman and/or underrepresented minority candidate, consider the factors that may have enabled it to do so and keep a record of good practices and successful searches for future reference. If the applicant pool was not as large, as qualified, or as diverse as was anticipated, consider:
Could the job description have been constructed in a way that would have brought in a broader pool of candidates?
Could the department have recruited more actively?
Were there criteria for this position that were consistently not met by women or candidates of color?
If women and/or underrepresented minority candidates were offered positions that they chose not to accept, what reasons did they offer? Consider as many factors as you can identify. Are there things that the department could do to make it more attractive to such candidates in the future? Be sure that any analysis and insight is shared with departmental decision-makers and is part of the process of initiating future searches.
Readings on Diversity, Gender And Faculty Recruitment
Bensimon, E.M., Ward, K., Sanders, K. (2000). Creating Mentoring Relationships and Fostering Collegiality. In The Department Chair's Role in Developing New Faculty Into Teachers and Scholars (113-137). Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing. Describes the department chair's role in developing new faculty into teachers and scholars.
Euben, D. (2000). "Hiring and Promotion: Legal Issues for Department Chairs." American Association of University Professors. A summary of legal issues regarding affirmative action, especially for private colleges.
Georgi, H. (2000). "Is There an Unconscious Discrimination Against Women in Science?" APS News Online. An examination of the ways in which norms about what good scientists should be like are not neutral but masculine and work to disadvantage women.
McNeil, L., Sher, M. (1999). "The Dual-Career-Couple Problem." Physics Today 52(7): 32-37. Women in science tend to have partners who are also scientists. The same is not true for men. Thus many more women confront the "two-body problem" when searching for jobs. McNeil and Sher give a data overview for women in physics and suggest remedies to help institutions place dual-career couples.
Mickelson, R. A., Oliver, M. L. (1991). Making the Short List: Black Faculty Candidates and the Recruitment Process. In Altbach, P., Lomotey, K. (Eds.) The Racial Crisis in American Higher Education. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Examines issues involved in recruitment of racial minorities to faculty positions, especially issues associated with the prestige of training institutions.
Moses, Y.T. (1989). "Black Women In Academe: Issues and Strategies." Association of American Colleges and Universities. Explores the climate for black women students, faculty, and administrators in both predominantly white institutions and historically black institutions. Focuses on the way race and gender stereotypes create obstacles for black female faculty.
Nieves-Squires, S. (1991). "Hispanic Women: Making Their Presence on Campus Less Tenuous." Association of American Colleges. Discusses the various definitions of "Hispanic" and the cultural and climate issues in higher education.
Ponjuan, L., Conley, V.M., Trower, C. (2011). "Career Stage Differences in Pre-Tenure Track Faculty Perceptions of Professional and Personal Relationships with Colleagues." The Journal of Higher Education 82(3): 319-346. Discusses the need to replace faculty members as the retirement rates of senior faculty increase and how future vacancies of tenure-track positions provide opportunities for diversity.
Sagaria, M.A.D. (2002). "An Exploratory Model of Filtering In Administrative Searches: Toward Counter-Hegemonic Discourses." The Journal of Higher Education 73(6): 677-710. Describes administrator search processes at a predominately white university in order to explore whether searches may be a cause for the limited success in diversifying administrative groups.
Smith, D.G. (2000). "How to Diversify the Faculty." Academe, 86(5): 48-52. Enumerates hiring strategies that may disadvantage minority candidates or that might level the playing field.
Steinpreis, R.E., Anders, K.A., Ritzke, D. (1999). "The Impact of Gender on the Review of the Curricula Vitae of Job Applicants and Tenure Candidates: A National Empirical Study. Sex Roles, 41(7/8): 509-528. A study demonstrating the operation of gender bias in the evaluation of job applicants and tenure candidates.
Trix, F., Psenka, C. (2003). "Exploring the Color of Glass: Letters of Recommendation for Female and Male Medical Faculty." Discourse & Society 14(2): 191-220. Letters of recommendation for successful female and male medical faculty showed differences in terms used to describe them and in the length of letters. Letters for females were shorter than those for males; included more phrases expressing doubts; were more likely to include only minimal information; mentioned their personal life more often. Letters for males included more repetition of standout words like "outstanding" and included more references to research, skills and abilities and career.
Turner, C.S.V. (2002). Diversifying the Faculty: A Guidebook for Search Committees. Washington, D.C.: AACU. This guidebook offers specific recommendations to faculty search committees with the primary goal of helping structure and execute successful searches for faculty of color.
Valian, V. (1998). "Evaluating Women and Men." Why So Slow? The Advancement of Women (125-144). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. In this chapter, Valian presents research that demonstrates that men and women who do the same things are evaluated differently, with both men and women rating women’s performances lower than men’s, even when they are objectively identical.
Wenneras, C., Wold, A. (1997). "Nepotism and Sexism in Peer-Review." Nature 387: 341-343. This Swedish study found that female applicants for postdoctoral fellowships from the Swedish Medical Research Council had to be 2.5 times more productive than their male counterparts to receive the same "competence" ratings.
Wolf-Wendel, L.E., Twombly, S., Rice, S. (2000). "Dual-Career Couples: Keeping Them Together." The Journal of Higher Education 71(3): 291-321. Addresses academic couples that face finding two positions that will permit both partners to live in the same geographic region, to address their professional goals, and to meet the day-to-day needs of running a household that, in many cases, includes caring for children or elderly parents.
Yoder, J.D. (2002). "2001 Division 35 Presidential Address: Context Matters: Understanding Tokenism Processes and Their Impact on Women’s Work." Psychology of Women Quarterly 26(1): 1-8. Research on tokenism processes is reviewed and coalesces around gender constructs. Reducing negative tokenism outcomes, most notably unfavorable social atmosphere and disrupted colleagueship, can be done effectively only by taking gender status and stereotyping into consideration.
Background Readings on Women’s Scientific Careers
A Study on the Status of Women Faculty in Science at MIT. (1999). The MIT Faculty Newsletter 11(4). This is the original MIT report that has spurred so many other studies.
Hopkins, N., Bailyn, L., Gibson, L., Hammonds, E. (2002). "The Status of Women Faculty at MIT: An Overview of Reports from the Schools of Architecture and Planning; Engineering; Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences; and the Sloan School of Management." Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The overview of MIT’s more recent study of all of its schools.
Etzkowitz, H., Kemelgor, C., Uzzi, B. (2000). "The 'Kula Ring' of Scientific Success." Athena Unbound: The Advancement of Women in Science and Technology (115-130). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Explores the ways in which the lack of critical mass for women in science disadvantages them when it comes to the kinds of networking that promotes research collaboration.
Long, J.S. (Ed.). (2001). "Executive Summary." From Scarcity to Visibility: Gender Differences in the Careers of Doctoral Scientists and Engineers (1-8). Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. This excerpt provides an overview of differences in the science careers of men and women.
National Research Council of the National Academies. (2006). To Recruit and Advance: Women Students and Faculty in Science and Engineering. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. Describes actions actually taken by universities to improve the situation for women.
In addition to the articles listed previously, and several other resources, material from each of the following recruitment guides was used to help develop this Handbook. (Accessed May 28, 2015.)
"ADVANCE Handbook for Faculty Searches and Hiring, Academic Year 2009-2010," University of Michigan.
"Guidelines for Recruiting a Diverse Workforce." Penn State University.
"Guidelines for Recruiting & Appointing Academic Personnel, Appendix A: Recruiting a Diverse, Qualified Group of Applicants." University of Minnesota.
"Massachusetts Institute of Technology Faculty Search Committee Handbook." (2002). MIT.
"Recruitment and Retention Subcommittee Report on Recruitment," University of Pittsburgh, March 15, 2002.
"Status of Women Faculty at the Johns Hopkins University: Report of the University Committee on the Status of Women, Faculty Subcomittee." Johns Hopkins University.
"Equity & Diversity Toolkit Resources," Graduate School, University of Wisconsin – Madison.
Resources for Recruitment
Publications, Organizations and Websites
Below are a few places to consider advertising in order to broaden the search. The Office of Faculty Affairs contracts with selected advertising sites and you can request that a position be posted by working with your department's HR contact. In addition, the Office of Faculty Affairs places an ad annually in a diversity-oriented publication. Please note that in some cases, an ad placement fee is collected from the department by HR. Find your department's HR contact by visiting their site.
HigherEd Jobs. Posts positions online and advertises itself in a wide range of diverse journals. E-mails faculty monthly with job openings in their field, and lists over 10,000 faculty and administrative positions on the site.
Diverse Jobs (From Diverse Issues in Higher Education). A leading journal for recruiting diverse faculty members at higher education institutions, with both print and online advertising. Job seekers can browse listings for associate professor, assistant professor, and full professor positions across a variety of disciplines.
The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education (JBHE). A journal which reaches a highly targeted demographic of African American scholars at colleges and universities across the United States. A weekly bulletin provides job listings to all of its subscribers at their personal e-mail addresses.
IM Diversity. This site was conceived by The Black Collegian Magazine, now known as Diversity Employers Magazine, which has provided African American college students with valuable information on career and job opportunities since 1970. It provides career and self-development information to all minorities, specifically African Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Latino/Hispanic Americans, Native Americans and women.
Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). This site lists faculty positions at colleges and universities nationally and is the only national educational association that represents Hispanic-Serving Institutions.
Women in Higher Education (WIHE). Women in Higher Education advertises job listings either in print or online from schools actively seeking qualified women candidates for administrative and faculty positions.
General Resources for Faculty Searches
Diversity Search. Career development and job search site, with searchable database with extensive links. Diversity Search may be useful for posting some types of faculty positions.
WorkplaceDiversity. WorkplaceDiversity.com is a career web site for corporate and executive recruiters who want to reach experienced, high-caliber diversity candidates.
Top 100 Graduate Degree Producers. This listing, by school and categorized by area of specialization, is useful for finding diverse candidates with graduate degrees.
African American/Black Faculty
Diverse Issues in Higher Education. A news magazine dedicated exclusively to minority issues in higher education. Published biweekly, Diverse Issues in Higher Education provides in-depth coverage of relevant and timely educational concerns to its approximately 200,000 readers. Diverse publishes a special report each year that features its annual ranking of the top 100 institutions that confer the largest number of degrees to students of color in the United States. The report is broken down by undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees.
National Black MBA Association, Inc. (NBMBAA). This is a nonprofit organization of minority MBAs, business professionals, business students and entrepreneurs in both the private and public sectors throughout the country. Members share a commitment to education and business. Advertisements will be electronically posted, and listings are sent to all chapters for distribution to members.
National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). With more than 29,900 members, this society is the largest student-managed organization in the country. The NSBE's mission is to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community. The organization stimulates and develops student interest in the various engineering disciplines and encourages and advises minority youth in their pursuit of an engineering career.
National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP). The NAAAP fosters an online community that connencts Asian and minority professional talent with companies across the globe.
Faculty with Disabilities
American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). The American Association of People with Disabilities is the nation's largest disability rights organization; they promote equal opportunity, economic power, independent living, and political participation for people with disabilities. AAPD publishes a quarterly newsletter.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Faculty
Equality Forum. Based in Philadelphia, Equality Forum is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance national and international lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights through education.
Hispanic and Native American Faculty
National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is the oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization serving the broad interests of tribal governments and communities. The website contains a tribal directory with leadership and locations, among its membership of over 250 tribal governments from every region of the country.
Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education. This is the sole Hispanic journal on today's college campuses that reaches a broad cultural audience of educators, administrators, students, student services and community based organizations, plus corporations. Hispanic Outlook's readership is primarily composed of progressive decision-makers in academia and in public and private sectors.
Association for Women in Science (AWIS). The Association for Women in Science (AWIS) was founded to expand educational and employment opportunities for women in sciences. The organization has over 5,000 members. About 60% of members hold PhDs and an additional 20% have master's degrees. Their national publication is circulated to all members as well as 60 libraries across the country.
Women in Technology International (WITI). WITI provides women in technology inspiration, education, conferences, online services, publications and an exceptional worldwide network of resources. WITI is the first and only international organization solely dedicated to advancing women through technology.
Society of Women Engineers (SWE). The Society of Women Engineers’ bimonthly magazine publishes openings for faculty positions in higher education as well in a variety of industries. The society maintains a mailing list for electronic job postings. Individual members, as well as companies, are encouraged to post their available jobs. The service is free.
Association of American Medical Colleges, Group on Women in Medicine and Science (GWIMS). Founded in 1876 and based in Washington, D.C., the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) is a not-for-profit association representing all 136 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools. The mission of the GWIMS is to advance the full and successful participation and inclusion of women within academic medicine by addressing gender equity, recruitment and retention, awards and recognition, and career advancement.
American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA). The American Medical Women's Association is an organization that functions at the local, national, and international level to advance women in medicine and improve women's health by providing and developing leadership, advocacy, education, expertise, mentoring, and strategic alliances.
American Bar Association (ABA), Commission on Women in the Profession. As the national voice for women lawyers, the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession forges a new and better profession that ensures that women have equal opportunities for professional growth and advancement commensurate with their male counterparts.
Many of the resources listed in this handbook are from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, Equity and Diversity Toolkit Resource, and the University of Michigan ADVANCE Handbook for Faculty Searches and Hiring.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation at multiple universities. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.