Faculty Search: Help Determine the Future of Olin’s Faculty

You’ve probably noticed that we are already in high gear for faculty recruiting. Similar to choosing our next class of students, this process began in the early fall with job advertisements. Applications have been flowing in ever since. There is a Faculty Search Committee consisting of six faculty members, and chaired this year by Siddhartan Govindasamy. Their responsibility is to review applications, check references, conduct phone interviews with candidates, and make recommendations to the dean about who we should invite to campus for a two day interview. This is when you, the community, first hear about the candidate and have the opportunity to make an impact on the committee’s final recommendations. In particular, students play a critical role in this process and your feedback is highly considered. The four main ways to get involved are:
• Attend the faculty seminar
• Conduct a tour
• Join the candidate for lunch
• Participate in one of two student-oriented interview sessions

We are currently experimenting with the design of some of these sessions. Here are details so that you can make informed decisions about how to get involved.

There are two special, student-oriented interview sessions, both of which have been created this year with the goal of giving more insight into how the faculty candidates will collaborate with students, as well as with faculty colleagues. In the “Building the College: Olin Self-Study” session, we ask the candidate to prepare thoughts as a catalyst for a conversation about the OSS. In this session, we are trying to gauge their ability to handle a conversation about an issue that we are currently wrestling with. Are they collegial? Are they open-minded? Are they listening to students and faculty? Can they change their opinion based on feedback? As a student in the room, you can engage with the candidate on the topic and work with them to hash out new ideas.

In the “Developing Students: Course Co-design” session, the candidate, students and faculty work together to explore courses that they might develop and teach at Olin. Main topic discussions will be: What sorts of courses might resonate at Olin? How might they be constructed? How does fit into the current curriculum?

The student lunch is an opportunity to meet the candidate in a relaxed setting. We are looking for someone to host the candidate and introduce them to students in the dining hall – sitting downstairs with a group is a great way to have a dynamic conversation!

Largely unchanged from last year is the tour. It is very helpful if you have experience giving tours, particularly to faculty members from other institutions. It is a great opportunity to connect individually with the candidate, and they candidates often report that the tour and student lunch are pivotal parts of their experiences on campus.

Finally, each faculty candidate gives a seminar. We have changed things a little this year so the session is more open for discussion. We’ve asked the candidate to prepare a 25-minute seminar, in which they share their work with students, staff, and faculty. Ideally, this should set the stage for a good conversation between the candidate and the audience for the remaining 25 minutes. Students should attend the sessions to learn about the candidate’s work and ask questions about their presentation, their plans for the future, and their thoughts about education in general to gauge whether Olin is a good “fit” for the candidate. The lengthened Q&A period was chosen in large part to see how the candidate can answer students’ questions, so students are strongly encouraged to come and join the discussion!

In all of these possible interactions, your participation and subsequent feedback is critical. After the candidate leaves, everyone who interacted with the candidate is expected to provide written feedback. This feedback is reviewed by the committee, and a recommendation is made to the dean about whether to extend a job offer or not. All the feedback collected by the committee is important, whether submitted by students, staff, or faculty.

So please join us in recruiting the next set of Olin faculty! If you have any questions on this process, reach out to John Geddes, Siddhartan Govindasamy or Jamie Gorson.

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