Chapter 5. Faculty Searches

5.1 When is a Search Required?

Nationally or internationally (as appropriate) advertised searches must be conducted to fill a full-time or regular part-time position; a limited or modified search must be conducted to fill a special part-time or temporary position; and a nationally or internationally (where appropriate) advertised search must be conducted to fill any position which changes from special part-time or temporary to full time or regular part time. The incumbent faculty member may become a candidate for the changed position along with other qualified candidates, but should not be pre- selected. An exception to the policy against pre-selection may be made if the initial hiring plan and job information specifies that the position will change to full time at a designated date and all candidates are so informed.

Exceptions may be allowed when an unexpected vacancy must be filled in a time too short to conduct the required search for appointing a visiting faculty member, in the selection of postdoctoral research associates and fellows when justified. They may also be permissible on those rare occasions when there are exceptional circumstances allowing the hiring and/or retention of an outstanding faculty member, enhancing the stature of the University faculty and - where possible - furthering the goals of affirmative action and equal opportunity. Such appointments are sometimes made under the Target of Opportunity program or as “pre-selects.” (See below and also Section 5.3).

The Target of Opportunity program is a mechanism for hiring faculty who could add extraordinary value to the University. Proposed target appointments need to satisfy two criteria. First, they must add extraordinary value to the University, where value is defined in the context of our multiple institutional goals. These include bringing to campus scholars of unusual depth, originality, and impact; diversifying the faculty and thereby better fulfilling our academic mission; and, ensuring greater depth and breadth of our educational offerings. Second, we must feel confident that the achievements and potential contribution to the University are so high, evident, and singular that the candidate would certainly emerge as the top choice from any relevant search that would have been undertaken. The target program enables us to bring such faculty to Brown without a traditional search.

"Pre-select" appointments are similar to "target" appointments in the sense that they must meet the standard that such candidates would emerge as the top choice in a regular search. The main difference is that a pre-select appointment fills an existing vacancy while a target allows a department to temporarily exceed its authorized roster.

Departments wishing to appoint a faculty member as a Target of Opportunity or as a pre-select should contact the Dean of their division and the Associate Provost for Academic Development and Diversity.

5.2 Search Procedures for Regular Faculty

For the department Chair, the first step in the process of making a new appointment is to submit a search request to the appropriate divisional Dean, normally in the spring of the year before the search is to be conducted. All requests will be subsequently reviewed, and a department can proceed with a search only after it receives approval to do so from the Dean.

Once a search request has been reviewed, the Dean's office will ask the department to create a search in Brown’s faculty recruitment system, which serves as a hiring plan.[1]   The department should attach to the search the text of the advertisement and the names of the members of the search committee, including the name of the Diversity Representative, who must be a tenured faculty member serving on the search committee, but who may not be the committee chair.  A list of advertising sources is also required.  Key components of any advertisement are:


[1] Please contact the Office of BioMed Faculty Affairs or Public Health Faculty Affairs & Administration for search procedure guidelines in either of these divisions.

  • Scholarly area(s) in which position is located.
  • The rank and term of the position.
  • The educational level expected [Note: At entry level, candidates may or may not have completed the requirements for the PhD degree. If an academic unit has advertised the position as requiring the PhD, then candidates that have not yet done so may not be appointed. If there is no such restriction, then a successful candidate who had not yet completed the PhD is appointed as an Instructor and promoted to Assistant Professor following completion of the degree].
  • Criteria for teaching, research, and scholarship that will be used by the academic unit to evaluate candidates.
  • Number of letters of recommendation required, or, for searches at the tenured levels, the number of names of referees required.
  • A final date by which candidates are assured of full consideration.
  • Evidence of teaching experience, if required.

Chairs are asked to indicate the types of recruitment strategies they plan to undertake. Most importantly, the strategies must reveal: 1. the method of identifying candidates and eliciting applications. This must include advertising in appropriate national journals and other outreach activities designed to solicit applicants to the pool, and 2. the specific methods which will be used to encourage the maximum number of qualified women and underrepresented minority candidates. Chairs and heads of search committees should plan to meet with the Associate Provost for Academic Development and Diversity to further discuss hiring strategies.

The search documnets must be approved by the Associate Provost for Academic Development and Diversity and the appropriate Dean’s Office. Please note that the search is not officially opened until it receives the approval of the appropriate Dean.

5.3 Preselection and Other Exceptions

Occasionally, there is a need to hire someone with demonstrably unique skills and for a limited period of time. Under such circumstances normal hiring procedures may be waived. The department Chair should consult with the appropriate divisional Dean and the Associate Provost for Academic Development and Diversity, if such a situation arises.

To fill an unexpected vacancy (e.g. due to illness, disability, death, or resignation), a search is required if the appointment is to be for more than one year; no search is required if the appointment is for a shorter period. Appointments of visiting or adjunct faculty require that appropriate documentation confirming the individual's credentials be submitted to the appropriate Dean.

In rare cases, a department may propose the appointment of a faculty member without the usual search process. Any such request for an exception to the requirement for a search must follow the standard procedures of review by faculty in the academic unit, by faculty committees (TPAC), and by senior academic administration. The President will also review and approve such an appointment before it is confirmed.

All requests to do a “pre-selected” hire must provide the Associate Provost for Academic Development and Diversity with:

  • a complete job description for the position, including research and teaching responsibilities;
  • all available letters of recommendation documenting the national/international prominence of the candidate's research;
  • complete minutes of the department's meeting on the candidate, together with the department's vote;
  • a detailed, written justification of the circumstances requiring hiring on a "pre-select" basis, including the candidate's credentials in the areas of research and (except in the case of research appointments) teaching.

Finally, if a department chair is in doubt about the proper title of a position, the appropriate divisional Dean may be consulted. The Chair should also should refer to Chapter 4 or consult with the Office of Faculty Personnel, the Office of BioMed Faculty Affairs, or the Public Health Faculty Affairs & Administration Office about the definitions of faculty ranks.

5.4 Applicant Tracking

The University has an online system for managing searches, which departments are encouraged to use. One feature of this system is the ability to collect demographic and personal data on job candidates as well as the final decision on each job candidate. For departments using this system (Interfolio), it is not necessary to submit an applicant log. However, all departments using Interfolio should be certain to use the "applicant status" markers in Interfolio in order to keep a record of the disposition of all applicants.

Departments that are not using Interfolio must maintain an applicant log that includes the following:

  • The date materials were received, in order of receipt
  • The applicants' names and mailing address
  • Comments on the final outcome of applications and the dates on which these decisions were made (for example, one set of candidates might be determined to lack proper credentials shortly after the closing date for applications)

5.5 Preliminary Interviews

Some departments may wish to conduct preliminary interviews before inviting candidates to campus. Most often these interviews are conducted during the meetings of learned societies like the Modern Language Association’s annual meeting. Departments wishing to conduct preliminary interviews must discuss their interview plans as well as the list of candidates to be interviewed with the Associate Provost for Academic Development and Diversity before the interviews take place. The Associate Provost for Academic Development and Diversity's role is to ensure that if there are concerns related to active recruitment of members of protected groups, they may be raised early enough in the process to be resolved well before the academic unit has made its final ranking of the candidates. The Associate Provost for Academic Development and Diversity will approve the final list.

5.6 The Proposed Short List and the Interim Pool Report

At the time that the search committee and the department agrees upon a final group of candidates ("the short-list") to be proposed for invitations to the campus for personal interviews, the department should complete and submit an Interim Pool Report Form.

Departments not using Interfolio must, in addition to the Interim Pool Report Form, provide:

  • A CV for each shortlisted and second-tier candidate (as described in the Interim Pool Report Form);
  • a report containing the total number of applicants and a numerical breakdown by race, gender, ethnicity, disability, or status as a veteran of the applicant pool;
  • in the case of junior searches, copies of all letters of recommendation for each candidate on the short list;
  • in the case of senior positions, no letters are required until the presentation of the final ranking of candidates, but if the department possesses letters at the time of the Pool Report, these letters must be submitted;
  • after all senior candidates have been interviewed, the search committee should submit any letters solicited for or provided by senior candidates along with the compliance report.

The Diversity Representative should write the section of the interim pool report that addresses the women and minority applicants. The role of the department Diversity Representative is critical at this phase of the process. This individual is expected to act as an advocate for candidates from protected groups who are eliminated from consideration during the search.

All of these materials will be sent to the office of the appropriate Dean. The Dean’s office will forward the materials to the Associate Provost for Academic Development and Diversity. Associate Provost for Academic Development and Diversity's role is to ensure that if there are concerns related to active recruitment of members of protected groups, they may be raised early enough in the process to be resolved well before the academic unit has made its final ranking of the candidates. Note: Approval by the Associate Provost for Academic Development and Diversity and by the appropriate divisional Dean is required before any of the candidates on this list may be invited to campus. The relevant Dean will authorize final approval.

5.7 Campus Interviews: Financial Details

In addition to travel expenses for the candidates, departments are allowed expenses of up to $2,000 per search. No funds will be released until the information regarding the Interim Pool Report (see 5.6 above) has been received and approved. Additional required forms may need to be submitted to the Controller’s Office.

Guidelines for allowable expenses are as follows:

  • The meal of one faculty member who accompanies a candidate will be subsidized, as well, of course, as the candidate's meals. The meals of others who accompany the candidate must be funded from other sources.
  • Cost of travel for our faculty to attend meetings where preliminary interviews will take place is not subsidized.
  • Except under the most extraordinary of circumstances, traveling and other interview expenses for visiting faculty are not subsidized. It is important to keep in mind, however, that in the search and selection procedures for visiting appointments, candidates should not be encouraged or allowed to pay their own expenses to come to campus (without express written permission and again, only under the most extraordinary of circumstances), as this would unfairly eliminate finalists purely on the basis of financial status.

To keep interview costs to a minimum, please keep the following in mind:

  • Automobile travel is the most expensive mode of travel per mile. Car travel should be discouraged unless other modes of travel are disproportionately cumbersome.
  • If it is possible for your department to arrange to be billed directly (rather than reimbursing the candidates) for travel and housing accommodations, this can be helpful to the candidate. This approach provides the additional advantage that applicants for junior positions are often not easily able to absorb the interview costs, even though they will be reimbursed. Those departments which do make these advance arrangements have found that applicants are pleased at the University's willingness to accommodate them financially.
  • It is occasionally possible to split the costs of interviewing a particular candidate with another university.
  • Small miscellaneous expenses, such as postage costs or telephone calls to prospective candidates are not covered by the interview account.

5.8 Unsuccessful Searches

If the department has determined that no offer is to be extended, an explanation, addressed to the appropriate Dean, stating the reasons for this decision should be sent to the appropriate Office of Faculty Personnel. This will be routed to the Associate Provost for Academic Development and Diversity. If a new search is to be initiated or a readvertisement is to be made, it should be so noted with the additions or changes in the hiring plan.

5.9 Unsolicited Applications

Unsolicited applications that arrive when a department is currently not seeking faculty in a relevant area should be kept on file for a period of one year. Should a relevant position be opened in the department within a year of their receipt, unsolicited applications should receive the same consideration as those gathered as a result of the search process.

5.9.1 Record Maintenance (see also 6.7.1)

All materials related to the appointment of an individual to an announced position on the faculty must be retained for five years from the effective date the position is filled.