Search committees are the preferred and expected means of facilitating academic searches at Indiana University East. They provide the most efficient mechanism for assessing large volumes of job applications and help to leverage diverse perspectives, expertise, and backgrounds of committee members to advance a fair and unbiased process.
Committees should be constructed to reflect both the area of expertise of the position under recruitment and the diversity of Indiana University East more widely. Multiple studies have shown that diverse search committees are more likely to generate a robust and heterogeneous candidate pool. As such, it is expected that the committee has a balanced makeup in terms of gender and race, as well as those with differing perspectives and backgrounds. This is an essential first step in undertaking an equitable search process.
In the event there is not adequate diversity among existing members of the department to form a diverse committee, the committee chair should consider asking faculty members from related departments to serve on the committee. Graduate students may likewise be invited to serve on either search committees or advisory committees as a means of acquiring additional diverse perspectives.
To support the search committee’s efficient functioning, it should have a member with prior campus search experience or training, as well as members who are knowledgeable about Indiana University East’s hiring and Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action policies and practices.
It is the search committee’s responsibility to attract, evaluate, and recommend the best candidate for a position. To meet this responsibility, the committee must:
- obtain a concise position description/job posting that does not exclude women, veterans, or minority applicants, or persons with a disability;
- attract a broad and inclusive candidate pool through proactive advertising methods;
- use fair, objective, and uniform procedures to evaluate candidates;
- complete the search process in a reasonable amount of time; and
- maintain appropriate confidentiality.
At the beginning of the search, the Dean or appointing official charges the search committee with its duties regarding the specific search. During this charge, it is important to highlight that throughout the process, committee members serve as a representative of the University and must reflect the institution’s values and mission in their dealing with candidates. For this reason, every search committee charge should include the review and reference to Indiana University’s Non-Discrimination/Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Policy.
Information provided to the search committee should additionally include the following search details:
- position information (title, reporting line, duties, requirements);
- particular skills needed for the position (g., teaching skills or areas of research expertise);
- how the search relates to the long- and short-term goals of the department;
- diversity initiatives of the department;
- financial resources available for the search;
- guidelines for maintaining confidentiality;
- search schedule;
- the geographic scope of the search;
- campus, school, and department governance and approvals required for the search process;
- approximate number of candidates to be interviewed; and
- identification of the person with authority to make the decision and appointment;
- and a reminder that the final authority to approve an offer rests with the campus.
Representatives from HR and OAA are available to attend the charge meeting or other early search committee meetings to discuss equal opportunity and affirmative action concerns, procedures, and recruitment strategies.
Generally, search committees should consist of no fewer than three people, including the chair of the committee. Practically, the committee should not include so many members that schedules and discussions cannot be managed effectively, but should have enough members to ensure diverse perspectives and insights. No matter the size, providing an odd number of members on the committee will be of benefit when voting is required.
The committee should be advised about confidentiality. While it may be permissible to discuss candidates with other faculty members at certain points in the search process, these discussions should not involve students who are not members of the search committee. Candidates should not be discussed with other candidates or with colleagues outside the department or the institution. Good candidates may withdraw if they believe their candidacy is not treated confidentially. This is especially important when there are internal candidates for a position. Email, texts, or other forms of messaging should not be used to discuss candidates. Except for indicating if a candidate does not meet the minimum qualifications, comments about candidates should be reserved for meetings, not put into the hiring system.
It is expected that a search committee does not include members with potential conflicts of interest that result in the perception of preferential treatment. Such conflicts could consist of personal relationships with potential applicants such as a spouse, family member or close friend, as well as professional relationships such as student advisors/advisees, colleagues, or research collaborators. Search committee members should not write recommendation letters for applicants. All members should disclose any potential conflicts of interests as soon as possible, and at any time a conflict is identified, the committee member must step down from the committee. While the affected committee member may attend other interactions with the candidates (e.g., social meetings, job talks, presentations), they may not attend meetings where candidates are discussed and/or evaluated for selection.
The IU Conflicts of Interest and Commitment policy prohibits nepotism, which is the supervision or influence over an academic appointee or employee by another university academic appointee or employee with whom they have a familial or personal relationship (romantic/intimate relationship). Influence in the employment situation may concern issues such as hiring, promotion, supervision, evaluation, determination of salary, or working conditions. Academic appointees or employees with familial or personal relationships should not be appointed or transferred to a position that creates a potential nepotism situation without an approved management plan to avoid instances of supervision or influence. If the search committee becomes aware of a potential nepotism concern, they should inform department leaders who can consult with the IU Compliance Office to determine if a management plan is feasible.