Wednesday, January 05, 2011

You Want Me to Chair the Search Committee - Seriously?!

For the first time in WAY TOO long, my department gets to conduct a search. I was very psyched about it at first. After all what better indication of my accomplishments as chair than attaining this 'plum' for the department. My joy, unfortunately, quickly faded. Just as I was getting ready to ask one of my senior colleagues to run the search, the Dean informed me that I should be the chair of the committee. *Sigh*

So, like any good academic, I started my preparations for this new task by doing research about what makes a good search and what pitfalls I should avoid. I talked to the Dean, talked to the last person in our department who chaired a search, talked to the Human Resources staff, and talked to the department secretary. That got me through writing and posting the ad. Now, however, I face a big list of deadlines that have to be set, schedules that have to be worked around, and a host of other details to take care of. Luckily, the Chronicle has a few articles that might help.

1. Attention Search Committees
2. The Slip Ups of Search Committees
3. How to Conduct a Successful Search
4. How to Conduct a Successful Search II

All this information has at least given some things to think about, including two things I never considered before. 1. Having some sort of committee-wide 'grading rubric' for candidates (3 points if you are from a top 20 institution, 2 if you are from a top 50, 1 if you are in the top 100). I'm not sure about this, but I'm at least going to look into it more. And 2. Wiki Jobs for History. Very cool for candidates and not so bad for me. I can at least see where in the process other institutions are and how our position/search stacks up against others being conducted this year.

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