Guidelines for Search & Screen Committee Selection
The Search and Screen Committee is composed of five or six members acting on behalf of the institution. This number provides enough necessary participation and expertise without losing effectiveness. A larger committee of seven to nine persons would be warranted for positions of increased responsibility (e.g. a provost, dean or athletic director).
Some items to consider when making the selection are: personal qualities, interest in outcome and areas of interest. The best members will be those with good judgement, integrity and independence of view as well as devoted to the institution (even though sometimes critical of it). As a group the committee should have status commensurate with the position at stake and be willing to serve. The composition of each search committee should be tailored to the position. Faculty members should comprise the majority of any search for a provost, dean or academic chair and sit on all other search committees. For non-academic searches, administrators, students and academic staff should be included in the selection. In addition, ask the following questions:
- Is the membership of the committee senior enough to signal the importance
of the appointment?
- Does it reflect diversity by gender and race?
- Does it reflect the interest of non-tenured faculty?
- Does it include a champion or two for affirmative action goals?
- Are there two or three persons with search committee experience?
- Does it include someone with access to special networks of talent that can
be tapped for nominees?
- Are any of the members adept at personnel assessment or interviewing?
- Does the membership include someone who can confidently chair the committee?
Some suggestions for broadening the pool from which committee members are drawn:
- Students. Consider a student as a sixth appointee to an approriate search
(e.g. director of the student center, all student affairs positions, etc.).
- Support Staff. Senior clerical and support staff can be invaluable to a
search (e.g. registrar). In addition, the signal sent to classified personnel
can do much to enhance relationships.
- Emeritus/Emerita. These persons can lend a sense of balance and detachment
to a group. They may also be the only persons with enough time to thoroughly research
the position history. This group is an important resource and should not be overlooked.
- Community Members. External members bring a unique insight
to the committee, however they may need to be “coached” as to
the intricacies of academia. Selection of a member from without the university
should reflect an interest and background which is appropriate to the position.
Selection should begin with appropriate consultation and appointment of the chair. This must be someone in whom the appointing officer has confidence. In addition to the qualities already mentioned, a chair must be able to motivate a group, be skilled in conflict resolution and be an advocate of the university. The person must also be senior enough and independent enough to command the respect of the committee.
The chair and appointing officer assume responsibility, with appropriate consultation, for forming the committee. Governance bodies may contribute nominations but do not appoint members or designate representatives to serve.