Academic Affairs  

Guide to Faculty Searches

VII. The Search Initiation Process

F. Outreach Efforts

1. Solicitation Letter to Institutions and Individuals

Tips & Tricks

"Candidates learn about the availability of faculty positions through solicitation letters to residency or fellowship program directors or chairs at other departments; another source is professional meetings."

"Make sure to include institutions with large minority populations when sending letters of solicitation."

The department chair or the chair of the department search committee should write a letter to the appropriate individual in at least fifteen to twenty institutions with the outstanding programs in the field for which candidates are being sought. These letters may be mailed or sent electronically. The solicitation letter must include the University's statement on diversity, along with criteria for the line. A sample solicitation letter is included on the Office of Academic Affairs website. A copy of the sample letter, along with the list of institutions to which the letter will be sent, should be included as part of the search initiation package.

When it is known that appropriate training programs exist at Meharry Medical College School of Medicine, Howard University College of Medicine, and at medical schools in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, the chair of the search committee should also write to department chairs at those institutions. In addition, letters should be sent to individuals whose prestige and involvement in the field or in diversity activities make them possible sources of information regarding women and minority candidates (as well as regarding other candidates who would bring diversity to the faculty). It is especially helpful to send letters directly to women and minority faculty members who are distinguished in the field.

2. Search Committee Networking

Generating a broad pool of potential candidates requires the active and ongoing participation of search committee members. Often, outstanding potential candidates do not apply for advertised positions, but might be responsive to individual contacts. Committee members should take every opportunity to make personal contact with potential candidates and to communicate with colleagues at other institutions who may have special insight into the applicant pool, including those candidates in the pipeline.

Specific inquires should be made to identify women and members of underrepresented groups, as well as others who would bring diversity to the faculty.

Search committee members should approach such candidates even when it is assumed that these potential candidates might be unavailable, perhaps due to family constraints or a partner's employment. Assumptions should be verified through direct inquiry; Stanford offers many programs designed to aid in recruiting such faculty members.

Departments are encouraged to develop a database of promising potential candidates, especially women and underrepresented minorities. These could be students nearing completion of their medical or doctorate degree programs, postdoctoral fellows, researchers in industry or academia or faculty at other institutions.

3. Professional Meetings and Conferences

Tips & Tricks

"Conferences and meetings have been great places to make inquiries and encourage applicants. We've even used a nice color poster advertisement at a specialty meeting when we had several openings at once for one Division."

"Starting the search near a major conference helps identify candidates more quickly and offers opportunity for ad hoc interviews."

Search committee members and departmental faculty are encouraged to make personal contact with potential candidates at professional meetings and conferences and to publicize the job among meeting/conference attendees.

Most discipline-based professional organizations have both national and regional meetings, newsletters, email lists and websites. These resources should be used by the search committee in its recruiting efforts. Job announcements should be distributed to national or regional contacts with follow-up phone calls to discuss the best ways in which to identify promising scholars in the field.

4. Office of Diversity and Leadership Resources

The Office of Diversity and Leadership has compiled a variety of resources to assist departments in their outreach efforts. We strongly encourage departments to take advantage of this expertise.

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