Requesting a Search


What is an internal candidate?

Currently or previously employed at Stanford

Trained at the undergraduate, graduate or postgraduate level at Stanford

Currently or previously affiliated with Stanford, as, for example, a visiting faculty member

Requesting Initiation of Search

To start a search, complete the Search Initiation Request form in the Letters, Templates, + Forms section of the Faculty Affairs Resources page. Search initiation request forms should be submitted to your OAA Manager in the Office of Academic Affairs.  

Billet Number

Departments or institutes must provide a billet number for each requested search.  This information is available through the Faculty Billets system to which departments and institutes have access.

Rank and Line

Using the definitions in the School of Medicine Faculty Handbook as a guide, a rank and line must be identified for each position.  The request may be very specific (e.g., assistant professor in the University Tenure Line) or a combination of ranks and/or lines (e.g., assistant or associate professor in the University Medical Line or University Tenure Line).  Occasionally, a clinical department may want to initiate a search that might attract both UML and Clinician Educator candidates.  Open rank and/or open line searches may also be requested.  Boxes should be checked for all that apply.

If the rank, line, or field specified in the search initiation has to be changed later, please see instructions below in Change of Rank, Line, or Field.

Programmatic Need

The programmatic need for the position must be explained clearly, including its relationship to the department or institute’s long-term academic plan.   

If the position would replace an existing position which has been vacant or will soon be vacated, the name of the current occupant of the position must be identified, along with the date of their departure.

The field in which the search will be conducted should be defined.  In the University Tenure Line, searches should be conducted broadly for the “best of field” rather than in narrowly defined subfields.  In the University Medical Line, departments may search in specialties that align with their programmatic need.  In the Non-Tenure Line (Research), searches may be for candidates who have special expertise in a relatively narrow field that is of particular benefit to a broader research program.

Expected Pool Size

Small applicant pools can prompt significant concerns regarding the validity of the search effort and/or the representation of the field itself in the Professoriate.  This latter concern is particularly relevant to University Tenure Line appointments.

Departments or institutes should provide a rough estimate of the anticipated applicant pool size.  The table provided on the Search Initiation Request form includes recommended thresholds for the types of appointments.  If an applicant pool is expected to fall below that threshold, an explanation must be provided.

Increasingly, departments are initiating searches that are open as to line, rank or degree (e.g., MD, MD/PhD and/or PhD) in order to cast the widest possible net for applicants.  Under normal circumstances, if a candidate holding a PhD is selected as the candidate of choice in an open line and/or rank search, the applicant pool size should have been 100 or more.

Searches for leadership positions (e.g, division or section chief, center director, etc.), may result in smaller pool sizes.  If applicable, this explanation should be noted in the pool size field.  

Outreach Plans to Increase Pool Size and Diversity of Applicants

The Search Initiation Form must include information about efforts to increase the pool size and the diversity of applicants that extend beyond advertising and sending solicitation letters to institutions and individuals. 

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 inquiries 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.

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.

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.

All such anticipated efforts should be reported in the Search Initiation Request Form and outcomes – whether positive or negative – should be documented in the search report.

Solicitation Letter to Institutions and Individuals

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 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 copy of the sample letter, and an explanation regarding its planned distribution, should be included as part of the search initiation package.

The chair of the search committee should also write to department chairs of institutions that have higher populations of candidates who contribute to diversity broadly defined. 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.

A solicitation letter template is available in the Letters, Templates, + Forms section of the Faculty Affairs Resources page.

Advertising the position

All Professoriate searches must use FSAT to create a faculty job and field applications. In so doing, the job advertisement is automatically posted to the Stanford Faculty Positions page. The search committee is expected to publicly advertise all vacancies. In addition to the Stanford Faculty Positions page, committees must use other appropriate methods of candidate solicitation.  In general, the advertisement should define the position broadly in order to attract a large and diverse pool of candidates; this is particularly crucial for positions in the University Tenure Line.  A draft advertisement should be included as a component of the search initiation request. 

Required Branding

Departments must use either the Stanford Medicine master logo or create a custom department logo to use with the logo generator. Where possible, departments should use “Stanford Medicine” instead of “Stanford University School of Medicine.”

Required Advertisement Text (Faculty Lines)

The required advertisement text (faculty lines) can be found in the advertisement template for FSAT, in the Letters, Templates, + Forms section of the Faculty Affairs Resources page. 

Required Advertisement Text (Affirmative Action)

The required advertisement text (affirmitive action) can be found in the advertisement template for FSAT, in the Letters, Templates, + Forms section of the Faculty Affairs Resources page. 

Required Advertisement Text (California Pay Transparency)

The required advertisement text (CPT) can be found in the advertisement template for FSAT, in the Letters, Templates, + Forms section of the Faculty Affairs Resources page. Additional guidance regarding the California Pay Transparency Law including an implementation guide and assistance determing pay ranges can be found here.

Advertisement Text (When there is a known candidate)

When a potential finalist is known to the search committee at the beginning of the search process, special care should be taken to prevent the advertisement from being tailored to fit that particular candidate, as too-specific advertisements have been found to not only limit the candidate pool but also, in the event that the known candidate is chosen, may prevent acceptance of the final candidate on the grounds that the search was not sufficiently broad.

Advertisement Placement

All positions to be filled in the professoriate must be advertised in at least one issue of at least one national journal (e.g., New England Journal of Medicine). It is at the department's discretion whether to place ads in print or online venues. Departments are encouraged to also advertise in journals targeted to women and minority candidates; this indicates awareness about diversity and may identify promising applicants. A list of such journals is available through the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity.

Advertising Timeframe

A minimum of four weeks must elapse after publication of the advertisement in a national print or online journal before the department may make the final evaluation and selection of a candidate for the position.


Advertisement samples for ideas on how to structure your ad, and an advertisement template for FSAT, can be found in the Letters, Templates, + Forms section of the Faculty Affairs Resources page.

Search Committee

The search committee chair, diversity officer (see below) and each member of the committee should be listed on the Search Initiation Request form.

Membership Composition

While the structure of search committees may vary among departments, normally the minimum is three faculty members with a senior faculty member serving as chair.  Faculty members should normally serve as chair of only one search committee at a time. 

At the department’s discretion, committee members may be drawn from the ranks of assistant, associate or full professors or at the same rank or above that of the position under search.  Members of the committee may be from outside the department, when appropriate (for example, if the field is new, if the department is small or if the search is in an interdisciplinary field).

A department may permit clinician educators to serve on a search committee.  Emeriti faculty and/or non-faculty (e.g., residents and/or fellows, medical and/or graduate students, hospital management) may also serve on a search committee as a complement to, rather than a substitute for, the committee of faculty members.  A brief explanation should be provided regarding the inclusion of any non-faculty members. 

A diverse search committee helps to encourage a diverse candidate pool.  Department chairs are encouraged to appoint committee members with different backgrounds, perspectives and expertise and with demonstrated commitment to diversity. 

Sometimes the small number, junior rank or workload of women or minority faculty (for example) in a department prevents them from serving on search committees.  In such cases, departments should consider adding an individual from outside the department with relevant expertise who would add diversity to the search committee. 

Diversity Officer

Departments should ask one member of the committee to serve as a diversity officer. Faculty serving in this capacity are expected to monitor the procedures of the search process, the diversity of the total applicant pool and of the group selected for interviews. The diversity officer is also responsible for authoring the section of the appointment long form that describes aspects of the search related to diversity. The Office of Faculty Development and Diversity is available to brief the diversity officer so he or she feels competent to perform this role.

Identification of Known Candidates and Search Committee Recusals

The department chair or institute director should consult with members of the search committee to determine if there are any known candidates – either internal or external – who are likely to be competitive for the position.  Any such known candidates must then be declared on the Search Initiation Request form.  The candidate's curriculum vitae and an explanation of how the known candidate came to be identified must be provided.

Whenever possible, a search committee should be composed of members who have not served as a mentor to or collaborator with a known candidate. Search committee members who have a relationship with a candidate who is a finalist in a search should step off from the search committee.

If in doubt about whether a particular faculty member should serve on a committee, chairs and/or search committees should seek advice from OAA and the Vice Dean, who may in turn want to seek advice from the Provost’s Office of Faculty Affairs.

The search committee should be instructed that although the credentials of internal candidates may be more easily assessed than those of others, its members are still obliged to consider by all appropriate means the credentials of candidates having no prior association with the University.  This obligation should be made clear to any internal candidate who holds or has held a non-faculty Stanford appointment.

In some cases, conflicts of interest might emerge only at a later stage of the search. Should this occur, the search committee member with the conflict should step off from the committee immediately. Whether a conflict exists is often a fact-specific question requiring case-by-case evaluation. Faculty members with questions should contact their chair or the Office of Academic Affairs.

Search Length

Upon approval, searches are authorized for a period of twelve months.

Committee Charge

In the School of Medicine, our collective goal is to recruit the best possible candidates through search processes that:

  • Are conducted with integrity and transparency;
  • Are thorough, comprehensive, and national in scope;
  • Use the resources available to ensure and maintain a diverse candidate pool;
  • Move expeditiously and systematically;
  • Respect confidentiality;
  • Provide candidates with appropriate access to information;
  • Leave all involved with a sense of fairness;
  • Provide the requisite information and administrative flexibility to enable a final decision by the department and a smooth appointment process;
  • Result in the recruitment of an outstanding candidate who will flourish as a member of the Stanford Community and bring distinction to the School and University.

Search committee members should understand the labor-intensive, proactive nature of a successful search and be willing to commit the time and effort that is needed. Under the leadership of the chair, each committee member is expected to participate actively in casting the hiring net widely in order to obtain an outstanding pool of candidates. Toward this end, the committee should engage in a detailed discussion regarding the rigor expected of the search process; the programmatic need of the division, program or subfield for which the search is being conducted; the current composition of the department; the ways in which the search fits into the department's academic plan; the criteria for the position being sought; and the methods for actively recruiting women and minority candidates, as well as others who would bring diversity to the department.

To avoid frustration and a negative effect on both the members of the search committee and the candidates, searches should move forward in an orderly manner. A realistic timeline for recruiting applicants and interviewing candidates should be developed, working backward from a target completion date.

Early in the search, the committee should establish selection criteria and procedures for screening and interviewing candidates and for keeping records before advertising the position and before materials from applicants begin to arrive. The committee should also reach a consensus on how different qualifications will be weighted.


In order to keep the process as focused and self-contained as practicable, specifics of the search process should not be discussed with anyone outside the search committee with the exception of the department chair or their delegate. This policy ensures that the candidacy of each person is treated with utmost confidentiality. It also provides an opportunity for those making the selection to have the freedom to discuss the candidates during committee meetings without fearing that their comments will be shared outside the deliberations. A breach of confidence by a participant in the search process would be considered a serious violation of professional ethics and could result in disciplinary action.

Meeting with the Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Diversity

The Office of Faculty Development and Diversity (FDD) is responsible for providing search committees with resources and support to help ensure that the School of Medicine is vigorously pursuing its goal of a diverse faculty. Once the membership of a search committee has been approved, the Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Diversity will contact the search committee chair to schedule a time to attend the first meeting of the committee. During this meeting, the Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Leadership will discuss recruiting resources, the role of the diversity officer (if applicable), ways in which the FDD can help support search efforts and ways in which to avoid unconscious bias.

Please see the Guidelines section for Faculty Search on the Faculty Affairs Resources page for an outline of the process for focusing on diversity in faculty search, and an example of the FDD presentation to search committees. 

Search Extensions

Search extensions can be requested to continue negotiations with an identified candidate.

Once a candidate has been identified, the search period may in general extend as long as necessary (normally up to six months) in order to conclude negotiations with that specific candidate. If negotiations with that specific candidate fail and the twelve-month period expires, the department must seek the approval of the Vice Dean for the search to be extended if there is another identified competitive candidate. Otherwise the search will close and the department will need to initiate a new search. 

Change of Rank, Line, or Field

If no candidate who is qualified for the specified rank is found in the pool of candidates identified by the search, the department chair or institute director may wish to change the rank, line or field. In that case, he or she should request authorization from the Vice Dean by the same procedure described above for authorization of the original position. In some cases, the composition of the search committee will need to be adjusted as a result of the rank, line or field change. If the Vice Dean grants approval, the search process must then be repeated in order to announce the availability of a position at the altered rank, line or field to the new group of potential candidates. In such cases, time spent before the change in rank does not count against the new search, and the new search is effective for a full twelve months.