Guidelines for Conducting Searches for Heads of Adademic Units and Other Faculty Administrative Positions

These guidelines pertain to the permanent (as opposed to interim) appointment of faculty to serve in formal administrative positions, primarily head of an academic unit, which require approval outside of the College. In accordance with Section II.D. of the RCB Bylaws, the Dean appoints a search committee comprised of faculty members in accordance with policies and procedures contained in the RCB Policies and Procedures Manual. These guidelines are intended to meet this requirement of the RCB Bylaws and are intended to be in conformance with applicable University affirmative action policies and other personnel administration policies of the University and Board of Regents.

To provide context for members of search committees, the major administrative steps are briefly mentioned in chronological order below. These guidelines are written from the perspective of conducting a search for the head of an academic unit, since most of the College’s searches applicable to these guidelines are for that position; minor modifications for other searches (e.g., associate dean) will be required.

Steps Prior to Appointment of Search Committee

Determination of Internal or External Search

The Dean, in consultation with representative faculty of the academic unit, associate deans and other individuals, makes a determination as to whether approval will be sought for the search to be internal or external. Factors taken into consideration include the relative number of faculty in the academic unit and the ability of the RCB budget to fund the hiring of an external candidate if this will increase the size of the faculty in the academic unit, and assessment of the potential for having willing and able internal candidates.

University Approval to Advertise for Position

University permission is formally obtained through the issuance of a “log number” in the Provost’s office which permits the College to proceed with the placement of advertisements for the position.

Establishment of Search Committee

Appointment of Committee

The Dean, in consultation with representative faculty of the academic unit, associate deans and other individuals, appoints the members of the search committee from the faculty of the College.

Normally, the chair of the committee will not hold faculty appointment in the academic unit in which the search for the head is being conducted. Because chairing a search committee involves considerable administrative activity that must be conducted in accordance with University and Regents’ personnel policies and in coordination with dean’s office personnel, an associate dean will normally chair the search committee.

In addition to the chair, the search committee members will be comprised of (a) a minimum of two and a maximum of four members of the full-time faculty of the academic unit in which the search is being conducted for the head and (b) one or two other members of the College faculty from other academic units, including a member of the Executive Committee if the chair of the search committee is not a member of the Executive Committee.

Dean’s Charge to Search Committee

Once the search committee has been appointed, the Dean will write a memorandum to the committee outlining the committee’s responsibilities and asking that the chair call the initial meeting to approve advertisements for the position. Normally the application deadline in advertisements is flexible through provision of language such as “preference given to applications received by (date).” Among other things, the charge memorandum will indicate that the Dean expects to receive the search committee’s recommendations as soon as possible after all campus interviews are completed and, at that point, the search committee will have completed its work with the Dean being responsible for completion of the hiring decision.

Solicitation and Screening of Candidates


The critical element of a search for the position of head of an academic unit is identifying, soliciting and recruiting strong candidates. This is accomplished through (1) a letter from the Dean to all RCB faculty announcing the vacant position, announcing the search committee and encouraging faculty to contact their colleagues at other institutions to solicit qualified candidates; (2) individual solicitation of potential candidates by members of the search committee and other faculty in the disciplinary area through letters to members of appropriate groups, meeting with individuals at professional meetings and other means; (3) advertising the position in the Chronicle of Higher Education and any other appropriate publications (subject to cost considerations); and (4) posting the position in the University System Clearinghouse as required by Board of Regents policy.

Screening of Applicants

After enough applications have been received to warrant the first iteration of the screening process, the search committee starts the process of reaching conclusions on which candidates should be invited to campus for formal interviews. Normally about three to five candidates are ultimately selected for on-campus interviews.

Campus Interviews

As a minimum, the candidate’s agenda should normally include meetings/interviews of the candidate with the following individuals or groups:

  • Search committee
  • Small groups of the faculty of the academic unit
  • Meeting with all faculty of academic unit (with agenda to be determined by the members of the search committee from the academic unit)
  • Dean
  • Associate dean(s)
  • Faculty Affairs Committee (two members to permit candidate to ask questions about RCB environment)
  • Executive Committee (two members to permit candidate to ask questions about RCB environment)

Search Committee Recommendations to the Dean

The search committee’s recommendations should be submitted to the Dean as soon as possible after the completion of the last campus interview.The memorandum containing the recommendations should normally be signed by all members of the search committee. Normally, the search committee’s recommendations will include all of the candidates that, in the opinion of the search committee, could successfully perform the job; the candidates may be ranked or unranked by the search committee, but they are usually ranked. When the search committee has submitted its recommendations to the Dean, the committee’s work has been completed and it is discharged.

Steps Subsequent to Search Committee Submitting Its Recommendations to the Dean

In order for the Dean to be able to extend an offer to one of the search committee’s recommended candidates, approval of the applicant pool by the University’s affirmative action office must first be obtained. The Dean then asks for formal approval of the University administration to make an offer, at which time an offer letter is sent.

(Approved by Executive Committee 7/95 and Faculty Affairs Committee 8/95)