Step by step: Professor hiring process

Photo by Thomas Maxwell.

Each year, new faculty and staff members join the Franklin College community. But how do they earn their position? Susan Crisafulli, an associate English professor and chair of the English department, sits on several search committees for new hires. She recently sat down with The Franklin to give students an in-depth look at the college’s hiring process.


Departments are required to write a case statement, a 10-page document explaining why it needs to add a position or fill an existing position. In the document, the department must answer a series of questions relating to why the position is necessary or needs to be filled.

“The purpose is to make sure that we’re hiring in the right places—that we’re following student interest and demand,” Crisafulli said.

For example, the psychology department recently added a fourth position, a job that didn’t previously exist.

“When I got here, they had only two positions, but their numbers have grown so much that they’ve been able to expand to four,” Crisafulli said.

In order to add the position, the department wrote a case statement, which was due in April 2017. After it was submitted, it was approved by a series of college administrators, including the Academic Advisory Committee, the provost and President Thomas Minar.


Once the case statement is approved by the Academic Advisory Committee, the provost and the president, a search for applicants begins in the fall, usually near September.

A majority of the time, the committee is formed over the summer or early fall. The provost typically appoints the chair of the committee and then consults with the chair to see who else will sit on the committee.

The search committee generally consists of five people: one staff member and four faculty members, either inside or outside the department. For example, in a larger department like English, the search committee may consist of three members of the department and one from another. But in smaller departments, there may be a different balance.

The committee also involves a search facilitator whose responsibility is to ensure the search committee stays compliant with the rules, including asking legal questions.

Questions such as whether an applicant has children and their marital status are not appropriate.

“The search facilitator is just there to make sure things run smoothly and that we are compliant with equal opportunity laws and with the college’s expectations,” Crisafulli said.


The search committee meets in the fall to draft a job description, which is posted to a variety of sites. These sites may depend on the type of position and what department it is in.

For example, job postings for the English department are shared on the MLA Job List. For history, postings are available on the American Historical Association List. In addition, the committee searches for a variety of ways to diversify the candidate pool as much as possible.

“The majority of Ph.D. candidates in the country are white people and, depending on your discipline, white males,” Crisafulli said. “We’re trying to make the statement that Franklin College cares about diversity.”

The deadline for job applications Typically falls between November and December.


After receiving applications, the search committee reviews all applications and compiles a list of qualifying applicants for Skype interviews. 

Following an initial Skype interview with each potential candidate, the committee narrows down a list of two to four applicants to invite to Franklin College for an on-site interview. The visits typically occur around January or February, and a job is off ered by March.

The interview process usually lasts about a day and a half. During this time, the candidate has scheduled meetings with students, department members, the division head, the provost, the president and other key staff members. They also lead a teaching demonstration.

The teaching demonstration was both the most exciting and nerve-wracking part of new Assistant Education Professor Jose Martinez’s campus visit.

“I had anticipated about nine students but about 30 showed up,” he said. “It gave me a realistic opportunity to see what teaching at Franklin would be like, and I appreciated that they engaged in the lesson.”

For Martinez, the hiring process was a “unique and welcoming experience.”

“Everyone I spoke to wanted to get to know me as a person and as a professional to make sure that I was a right fit for Franklin College,” Martinez said.

After the campus visit, applicants then wait to be offered a job. If the selected candidate declines, the committee has to go back through the other candidates.


“It’s an expensive process. I don’t know the average, but the college pays a lot of money,” Crisafulli said. “We pay for [the

candidate] to fly in. We pay for all of the hotels. We pay for their stay. It depends on how far they’re coming.”

The search committee spends an average of 50 hours on the hiring process, including interviews, meetings and on-campus visits.

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About Quinn Fitzgerald 32 Articles

Quinn Fitzgerald is the leading reporter and a photographer for The Franklin. She is majoring in journalism and English. Her passions are writing and photography, which is why she is also a photographer for the communications office. Outside of The Franklin, Quinn spends her time playing music on either her phone or her instruments. Her love for music led her to join FC’s String Ensemble. If she is not doing any of the activities above, she is probably studying or watching Netflix.

This is Quinn’s first year in the position and her second year on The Franklin staff. She previously held positions as news and sports reporter, photographer, and sports editor.

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