Faculty Search & Hiring Process

Please note that many policies governing faculty affairs at BU Wheelock are currently undergoing revision. Because of this, we ask you to consider these pages “under construction” and all content within them unofficial.

Typically, when a faculty member departs from the university or retires, their program will request permission to search for a replacement. However, programs cannot assume that their requests will invariably be granted. Faculty lines are ‘owned’ by the central administration of Boston University, which has responsibility for staffing all schools within BU, and so from year to year, there is variability in how many search requests will be approved. Therefore, it is important that faculty work together to make thoughtful and well-reasoned requests, using information about rates of application and admission, student-faculty ratios, and programmatic goals to argue for the necessity of a position.

Initiating a Request for a Faculty Hire

Early in the Spring semester, programs and departments consider their hiring needs for full-time faculty. Most of these are occasioned by the departure or retirement of a colleague. During meetings of programs and departments, Program Directors and Department Chairs gather information about search proposals, and construct their arguments in favor of one or more proposals for faculty searches.

In late Spring, the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs distributes templates for search proposals and works with faculty to refine their requests. Each request includes a rationale for the position, the relation of the position to the program’s history and current goals, the expected teaching and service load, and any other considerations. A job advertisement is drafted and a Search Committee is proposed.

By the end of July, the Dean, the Executive Director of Operations, and the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs will review all proposals, finalize membership of proposed search committees, and finalize the details for submission to the Provost’s Office.

In late August or early September, faculty will receive notification of approved searches, and the job ads are posted by the Office of Operations.

Conducting a Search

A central goal in all faculty searches at BU is to increase the diversity of the faculty. In the Fall semester, the Office of the Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs and the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee hold events in which search committee chairs and members meet to review practices and procedures that will ensure a fair and equitable search.

As applications arrive, the Associate Deans’ Administrator facilitates their collection through Academic Jobs Online and Search Committee members begin their review. Once the search deadline has passed, Search Committees meet to discuss applications received and to identify a list of approximately four to ten potential interviewees. As part of this process, Search Committee members interview this list of candidates via Skype. After the Skype interviews, the search committee narrows their list to four to seven candidates to present to the relevant department meeting. The chair of the Search Committee presents this list of four to seven top candidates to the members of the Department. The Department membership, in coordination with the Search Committee members, decide on a “short list” of three candidates. The chair of the Search Committee writes a letter to the Dean making the case to interview each candidate.

When the Dean approves the list, the chair of the Search Committee works with the Associate Deans’ Administrator to schedule visits for the candidates.

Faculty are expected to attend all research presentations by the candidates for positions in their Department and are strongly encouraged to attend as many other research presentations as possible. Search chairs will solicit responses from faculty concerning their impressions of each candidate they observe.

After all interviewees have visited BU Wheelock, the Search Committee will convene to choose their top candidate, and will submit a detailed letter to their Department for a vote prior to submitting the recommendation to the Dean providing the rationale for their choice. If the Dean accepts the recommendation, s/he will secure the Provost’s approval and will negotiate an offer with the candidate. If the Dean rejects the recommendation s/he will meet with the Department Chair and Chair of the Search Committee to discuss next steps.