Hiring faculty members, adjunct instructors, and office staff personnel is a critical responsibility for a department head. It is important that the department head become familiar with the various documents and procedures for hiring personnel in order to hire the most qualified applicant and to ensure that all applicants are fairly treated.
The entire hiring process for tenure-track faculty may be found at the Office of Social Equity’s website (OSE). The current (August 11, 2006) Recruitment Handbook may be accessed at this site (Appointment Process). It should be reviewed in its entirety prior to starting the search process and should be referred to on a regular basis. The following guide briefly explains the hiring process and the following information provides a flow chart and a brief synopsis of the process.
In preparing and completing the search process, please refer to the Human Resources website and click on Forms which will provide you with additional hiring information. The Recruitment and Selection Guide can be accessed on the HR website and it is recommended that it be reviewed as well. The Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs website will also provide you with additional information regarding the hiring process and the Faculty Handbook (1997), “Appointment to Faculty,” (pg. 76). The Faculty handbook may be accessed on the Academic Affairs and Human Resources websites.
Examples of the necessary forms can be viewed in the Recruitment Handbook at the Office of Social Equity (under Attachments, A-J; pgs. 25-36). A sample job vacancy announcement appears in Appendix B of this handbook.
#1. Request the Position
To initiate the hiring process for a tenure-track faculty position, the department head or director must consult with the dean. The appropriate paperwork should be submitted to the dean with supportive rationale and justification for requesting the position.
Consult with Dean and Request Position
Hiring Process for Tenure-Track Faculty Flow Chart
#2. Position Announcement
A position announcement must accompany the request for a position. Appendix B outlines the format for announcing the job vacancy. The Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs must approve the position announcement and will post on three higher education websites. You may further request additional website postings commensurate with the respective discipline. The following sections should be covered on the announcement: Position Title, Responsibilities, Qualifications (required & preferred), Description, Salary, Application, and Closing Date. Departments or programs should construct the qualifications as completely as possible. This will ensure to include or exclude potential applicants appropriately.
#3. Assemble Search Committee
The department head or director will select faculty members to serve on the search committee. A search committee should be reflective of the faculty make-up of the department. Generally, the committee will consists of 3-5 faculty members with gender and minority group representation. If a department has difficulty in meeting faculty diversity participation, the department may request assistance from another faculty member within the College of Arts and Sciences. One faculty member will be appointed as the chair of the committee and serve as the liaison to the Director of the Office of Social Equity. The department head may appoint the chair of the search committee. Departmental policy should provide guidance on forming the search committee. The committee chair shall document all aspects of the search process.
It is highly recommended to certify the search committee for each new search, regardless if committee members have served on previous committees. Each committee member should review the Recruitment Handbook to ensure VSU’s hiring policies and hiring laws are followed. A meeting with the search committee and the director of OSE should be scheduled prior to reviewing candidate files to ensure that hiring procedures will be followed. The search committee chair should review the OSE faculty Search Checklist found on the OSE website.
#4. Review Applicant Files
The search committee cannot begin to review the applicant’s materials until the position announcement has been posted for 30 days. Also, the position announcement should identify when the committee will begin review of the applications. The committee should ensure that all requested documents are submitted in order for the candidate to receive full consideration. Applicants who meet the minimal qualifications and who have submitted all of the required documents will receive full consideration. Candidates who do not meet the minimum qualifications should be sent a letter thanking them for their application and informing them that they will not be considered. When excluding a candidate, ensure to make the decision consistent with the job announcement.
All candidate application materials shall be reviewed in the same manner and the search committee chair shall ensure that each applicant is treated equally. Criteria for evaluating each candidate should be followed and documented. In accordance with the policies of the University System of Georgia, all application materials and committee actions (including written records) are subject to the Open Records Act.
#5. Identify and Call Top Applicants
Once the top candidates have been identified, the search committee shall conduct phone interviews. The same list of questions will be asked of each candidate, but this does not restrict committee members from asking follow-up questions based on a candidate’s response to initial questions. Refer to the OSE question checklist regarding the appropriateness of the list and wording of phone interview questions.
Department heads or directors should make sure that an applicant recommended for a campus interview is work eligible if the applicant is not a U.S. citizen. Historically, VSU does not cover any of the applicant’s attorney costs or legal expenses associated with securing a work visa.
#6. Request to Invite a Candidate for a Campus Interview
After concluding phone interviews, the search committee will identify their top two candidates and request that they be brought to campus for an interview. The committee must submit a certification packet to OSE illustrating how the search process has been convened (see the Recruitment Handbook for which documents must be submitted). Every effort shall be made, as feasible, to include females and minorities for campus interviews. Rationale for not including such candidates must be articulated in the certification packet.
The request to bring candidates on campus shall be made to the department head, the dean, and the provost. A memo shall be sent requesting that the top two candidates be brought to campus. If potential candidates decide to drop out of the pool or decline to come for a campus interview, then the committee should proceed to the next person in the pool of candidates submitted to the Affirmative Action Office for review.
#7. Conducting the Campus Interview
All travel arrangements for each candidate will be handled through the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs (see Reimbursement for travel of job candidates page 55). Remind candidates to keep all receipts for reimbursement. All candidates will be treated equally, asked the same questions, and allotted the same amount of time for various interviews, tours, and presentations. All candidates should be scheduled to be interviewed by departmental faculty, the department head, the dean, and a representative from the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The candidate’s CV should be sent to each respective office outside the department.
#8. Request Authorization to Make Employment Offer
After the campus interviews have been completed, the search committee shall meet and decide who they recommend to hire. The search committee only makes a recommendation to hire a candidate and forwards the request via a memo to the department head.
#9. Department Head Contacts the Dean
The department head makes the actual recommendation to offer the candidate employment to the dean. The dean then recommends hiring the candidate to the provost. Once an appropriate starting salary has been negotiated, the department head/dean/ director should begin informal negotiations with the candidate. Once the informal negotiations have been accepted, the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs will send out a formal offer letter to the specified candidate. All agreed upon rank, tenure, experience, publications, moving costs, and/or other negotiated components need to be included in the hiring letter.
#10. Submit Affirmative Action Packet Items to the Office of Academic Affairs
After an offer is accepted, the employing unit will complete the Affirmative Action packet and submit it to the Office of Academic Affairs (see the list of items in the Recruitment Handbook). The search committee chair shall send a letter of rejection to other candidates.
The department head shall retain all candidate application materials for four years (per BOR policy and the Georgia Records Retention Policy) and shall retain the search packets submitted to OSE to document the search process.
Hiring full-time temporary faculty will follow the same process as stated above. FFT instructors are generally hired for a “one-year” period and teach a five-course load. FTT should be reminded that their appointments are for one-year only and will terminate at the end of the given academic year.
From time to time, department heads and directors will have to hire adjunct faculty. Department heads and directors are now required to seek the dean’s approval before hiring. Prior to the submission of the semester schedule, department heads must complete the Request for Adjunct Faculty form (see Appendix C) and submit it, along with the Valdosta State University Part-Time Instructor Agree Form and a CV for each instructor. Once the CV is on file in the dean’s office, the CV will not have to be resubmitted each semester. The Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs will request an official transcript as well. The hiring of adjuncts is done on an as-needed basis. If the adjunct is being hired as the result of a faculty course reassignment for scholarship or a Strategic Focus initiative, please indicate this on the request form. If the person being hired is already a VSU employee, you will also need to submit the Extra Compensation request form. Dips in enrollment and decreases in funding demand that we keep the hiring of adjuncts to a minimum, even though it is easy to argue that they provide us with the most cost-effective coverage of classes.
The rate of pay for adjunct faculty in 2012-2013 is as follows for each course: $2,300 with a terminal degree; $2,150 for an education specialist degree; and $2,000 for a Master’s degree. Adjunct faculty must not teach more than 15 hours of coursework across the University System of Georgia in an academic year. Adjunct faculty must not teach more than 9 hours in a given semester. All part-time faculty members should receive the Part-Time Faculty Handbook and should maintain regular contact with the department head during the semester. All faculty must possess at least a Master’s degree and have at least eighteen semester hours in their field or a closely related field.
Hiring of staff is normally the responsibility of department heads, but it is important that the candidates meet at least several other members of the department. Department heads will receive a list of eligible persons from the Office of Human Resources and should interview several who look like good possibilities for the department. Following interviews, department heads request permission to hire a candidate. They also play the key role in hiring graduate assistants and student assistants. Departmental secretaries likely will share responsibilities for hiring work-study students. If a department head or director reclassifies secretarial staff, the funds must come out of the departmental or program budget.
To review the hiring procedures, access the HR website, click on “Administrators,” under Recruitment, click on Recruitment & Employment Policies and Procedures, § 800.
Each spring, faculty members submit an Annual Faculty Activity Report and Action Plan (AFARAP) to the department head. These forms should be both complete and reflective, with faculty addressing their progress toward last year’s goals and their proposed goals for the coming year. Non-tenure-track faculty whose duties are limited to teaching complete only the “Teaching and Instruction” section of the AFARAP. Department heads also propose merit pay for each faculty member. The criteria for determining merit pay should be made clear to all faculty and these proposed figures must receive the agreement of the dean, provost, and president before department heads inform faculty members.
Department heads write Annual Faculty Evaluations (AFE) of all full- and part-time faculty members within their departments in the spring. Evaluations should be frank and direct, with the department head listing specific goals and recommendations for all faculty. The annual evaluations should clearly assess progress toward upcoming personnel actions, especially noting advancement toward goals stated in the previous year’s evaluation. If a faculty member is performing poorly, the evaluation should describe a course of action a faculty member should follow to improve their performance.
Department heads assign “satisfactory” and “unsatisfactory” ratings to each of the three performance categories as well as to the “Overall Evaluation.” An evaluator has the option of assigning an overall “unsatisfactory” rating to any faculty member receiving one or more ratings of “unsatisfactory” in the individual performance categories. The overall evaluation will have an impact on the candidate’s eligibility for promotion and tenure. The department head distributes the AFEs to faculty, who sign the forms and return them to the department head. The department keeps a signed copy and forwards another copy to the dean. Annual evaluations should employ a wide range of evaluative input: SOIs, peer reviews, grade distributions, general student comments, etc. Where appropriate, they also must note any recommendations from both pre-tenure reviews and post-tenure reviews.
Department heads or directors should ensure that faculty inform students of the need to complete Student Opinions of Instruction (SOIs) within the time parameters. The questions on these forms are standardized across the university, but departments are free to add a limited number of their own questions. SOI results are usually available to department heads and faculty two weeks after the semester’s end through the online portal: http://www.valdosta.edu/academic/FacultyAccesstoEASPortal.shtml.
While SOIs are a valuable measure of teaching effectiveness, they should not be the only measure utilized to evaluate the quality of teaching, especially for tenure-track faculty. Peer evaluations are a required element of the College of Arts and Sciences Promotion and Tenure process.
Department heads supervise the procedures for personnel actions, the deadlines of which are established each year by the dean. The College of Arts and Sciences’ Promotion and Tenure Policies and Procedures addresses all procedures for both promotion and tenure http://www.valdosta.edu/cas/forms/index.shtml. University-wide pre- and post-tenure reviews as well as tenure and promotion policies are found in the Faculty Evaluation Model at Valdosta State University http://www.valdosta.edu/academic/documents/FEMfinal.pdf. The university-wide tenure and promotion document can be found at http://www.valdosta.edu/academic/documents/UTP_FAC-final-050111.pdf.
A candidate for promotion and tenure submits a current curriculum vitae with his or her application. Department heads should ensure that this document reflects a candidate’s full employment history at VSU, including all previous promotions. For example, if a faculty member were hired at the rank of assistant professor in 1997 and were promoted to the rank of associate professor in 2001, the employment history should list these dates in the following style:
- “Assistant Professor, Department of XYZ, Valdosta State University, 1997-2001”
- “Associate Professor, Department XYZ, Valdosta State University, 2001-Present”
On cover sheets for promotion and tenure applications, department heads should note that “number of years at institution” and “years in present rank and title at the institution” include the current year. For example, if faculty were hired in 1997 and apply for promotion in Fall 2001, they are in their fifth year at VSU. When completing cover sheets for faculty recommended for promotion and tenure, the appropriate response to items which call for recommendations of either the promotion or tenure review committees is “recommended.” The department heads should complete only the “departmental level” item as well as the summary at the end of the page, the latter within the space provided. They should provide both hard copies and electronic copies of cover sheets to the Dean.
Tenure-track faculty will go through pre-tenure review during their third year of employment unless the faculty member received years towards tenure at the time of hiring. Tenure-track faculty should complete the College of Arts and Sciences Promotion and Tenure Application, which will be reviewed by the departmental promotion and tenure committee as well as the department head. The review at the departmental level should note the candidate’s strengths and areas for improvement. The application and letters from the departmental committee as well as the department head will be reviewed by the dean who will then schedule a meeting with the faculty member and department head to discuss the results of the pre-tenure review and progress towards promotion and tenure.
Department heads should remind faculty that the submission of materials for post-tenure review is not equivalent to applying for tenure or promotion to full professor. The preparation of a dossier for post-tenure review should not be a major burden for the faculty member. As noted in the Faculty Handbook (page 67), faculty should provide the following for post-tenure review: (1) a current curriculum vitae; (2) copies of annual evaluations for the five years under consideration; (3) measures of teaching effectiveness including, but not limited to, written student ratings and/or peer evaluations; and (4) a self-assessment.
Department heads and directors evaluate all staff members in the spring. Human Resources sends the appropriate evaluation forms to heads a month before they are due back. Once completed, department heads should review these forms with individual staff members and submit signed copies to Human Resources.