Guidelines for hiring senior faculty

Professors (with or without tenure)
Associate Professors (with or without tenure)
Clinical Professors (Professors of Engineering Practice)
Clinical Associate Professors (Associate Professors of Engineering Practice)

1. Department Chair obtains approval for faculty slot through Executive Committee

2. Department completes posting and advertising approval process

3. If the Department does not use Interfolio for collecting applications, the Department solicits data for the AAR via email using the online reporting system.

The message will first go out from the Unit Administrator and a subsequent follow-up email should follow from the Chair to encourage compliance.  These data will be compiled by the ADAA office and supplied to the search committee at the end of the search for completion of the AAR form (submitted as part of the candidate dossier to executive committee).

4.  Department submits faculty candidate slate for review to ADAA for evaluation.

5. Department organizes campus visit

Prior to inviting the first candidate for a visit, the department submits to ADAA office a list of the current pool of viable applicants.

All candidates are required to meet with the ADAA. (If the ADAA is not available, the faculty candidate must meet with one of the other Associate Deans.) In addition, an appointment should be scheduled with the Dean for candidates considered as senior hires (Associate Professor or Professor).

A minimum two weeks’ notice is required to schedule faculty candidates to meet with the Dean, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (ADAA) or the other Associate Deans in the absence of the ADAA. Please contact Mindy Lowe (lowem) to schedule an appointment with the ADAA and Kathleen Grimes (kgviola) to schedule an appointment with the Dean.

It is the responsibility of the department to make sure that the faculty candidate is on time for their appointment and that the candidate is escorted after their appointment in LEC to their next appointment.

Departments are required to fill out the Department Candidate Form for each candidate. This form should accompany the following documents in one pdf file:  candidate’s vita, teaching, research and DEI statements, external letters of reference (if received), seminar abstract, itinerary.  Please email the packet to Sherry Hall (sfolsom) and Mindy Lowe (lowem) prior to the candidate’s visit.

Two College Representatives should be scheduled, by the department, to interview the candidate and to attend the seminar (see Example Letter to College Representatives). College Representatives should be at or above the rank being considered, whose home department resides outside the interviewing department.  The College Representatives are to evaluate the candidate’s presentation and, when meeting with the candidate, provide them with a broad perspective on the College of Engineering as a whole.  It is not assumed that the representatives are an experts within the candidate’s field of study, although CoE representatives usually have some familiarity with the general field.  The evaluations are extremely important as the CoE Executive Committee considers the College Representatives’ evaluations very seriously in its decision to grant the department permission to make a position offer to the candidate.  

The ADAA office will contact the College Representatives to submit an online evaluation of the candidate to the ADAA office. Once Sherry has received the evaluation from the College Representative, she will forward the evaluation to the appropriate department contact.  It will be the responsibility of the department contact to forward the evaluation to the Chair of the Search Committee.

All faculty candidates should be scheduled to meet with one non-evaluative faculty member.  The department staff person arranging the interviews/itineraries will contact the faculty candidate with the following information: 

It is our practice for faculty candidate interviews in the College of Engineering to include a non-evaluative meeting with a faculty member from another department. The purpose of this meeting is to offer a chance to discuss anything about being a faculty member in the College–including issues of special personal concern–with the assurance that such discussion will be held confidentially and provide no input into the hiring decision. Topics of discussion may relate to family status, climate for individuals of varying identities, special interests, or anything at all (you can talk about the weather). Accordingly, we offer the option to indicate any preferences you may have for categories that might be represented by the individual you will meet in this slot: 
(Please indicate “n/a” for no preference.) Note that anything you specify here will also be held confidentially and not disclosed to faculty in the department.
The candidate’s response should not be shared with the search committee or any faculty in the department.  The candidate’s response should be forwarded to Sherry Hall who will match the candidate with a volunteer faculty member.  She will then provide the name of the faculty member for scheduling the meeting.

6. Dual Career Services

When the ADAA Office receives candidate information, Sherry Hall notifies the CoE Director of Dual Career Services with the candidate’s name and contact information.  The Director will then contact the candidate directly, informing them of our services.  It is our hope that this will improve our ability to respond to the needs of dual career candidates with an earlier indication of the possible solutions to the needs of their partners.

There will no longer be the need for the department chair to make a formal request of the ADAA for dual career services.  When a candidate makes contact for dual career services, the Director will work closely with the ADAA, Department Chair and departmental staff to arrange services and coordinate a separate itinerary for the partner if needed.

Please see the following links for further information:

7. Department approves final candidate for position; addresses any immigration issues if applicable

8. Department submits candidate casebook to Executive Committee for hire (for reference please use the casebook checklist) via SmartPath.

Cover letter from chair: The letter should include a) description of the appointment in the context of the field and the specific needs of the department; b) substantive description of candidate’s work and significant contributions to the field; c) space needs; and d) a balanced summary of the strengths and weaknesses of the case.  It should also include a paragraph that describes the search process leading to the candidate’s selection (including the nature of the search – e.g., open or targeted; composition of the pool; information about candidates at each stage of the search) and a separate paragraph justifying the recommendation for the appointment with tenure at the relevant rank.  The letter should address or explain any negative comments in the internal and external letters.  Please also include the final vote tally, without names, such as 4-2-0 (i.e. # of positive votes-# of negative votes-# of abstentions/recusals) of any faculty group (department review and/or executive committee) that voted on the requested potential hire. NEW: Include an explanation for any negative vote and/or abstention. When quoting from an external reviewer, identify as Reviewer A, B, C, etc., (refer to the list of external reviewers in the casebook).

Letter from joint department/program, if applicable.

Cover letter from search committee (optional)

Candidate’s curriculum vitae

At least five external letters of recommendation from reviewers at “arm’s length” are required (more than five are highly desirable). By “arm’s length” we are looking for reviewers who are outside the present institution of the candidate, and who did not work or train with the candidate at other institutions, who have not collaborated with and/or do not have a personal relationship with the candidate.  Teachers, advisors, mentors, and current faculty colleagues are not “arm’s length.”  Co-authors and major research collaborators, or former faculty colleagues are not “arm’s length” unless the most recent association occurred over 10 years prior to the appointment. Letters from persons who have served on a candidate’s thesis or dissertation committee are not “arm’s length”.

Letters should be from reviewers at or above the rank of the position for which the candidate is being considered. Letters should not be from individuals on the research professor, research scientist tracks, and clinical professor track.  If circumstances necessitate letters from out-of-rank reviewers, those should be explained. The letters should be truly evaluative. While letters from persons who have served as a candidate’s thesis advisor, mentor, co-author, or major collaborator can be especially helpful (because they can be presumed to have a good sense of both the person and the work), it is also true that their own reputations are involved in the work being evaluated. If such letters are included, they must be in addition to the minimum requirement of five. Letters from persons who may be unknown to the candidate, but who may have a clear sense of the significance of the candidate’s qualifications are of greater value.  For the Instructional tenure track and the Research Professor track, the five required “arm’s length” letters must include at least two reviewers suggested only by the department (this does not apply to the Clinical track). There should be no more than two external reviewers from the same institution. NEW: External letters must reference the title/rank being considered.

It is important that the Clinical Instructional track parallels the Instructional Tenure track in that it is the regional/national impact on one’s field that should justify a senior academic rank. However, “arm’s length” letters from persons who may not be known to the candidate, but who have a clear sense of the significance of the candidate’s qualifications, are unlikely to tell the story insofar as teaching and clinical work are concerned. Therefore, it is allowable for Clinical Instructional track faculty AEOs only to have up to two of the five “arm’s length” evaluative letters from local sources. The two letters from local sources can be from the candidate’s current institution as long as the local sources are outside of the candidate’s department and have seen the clinical work and actual teaching but are not mentors or scholarly collaborators. At least three of the remaining letters would need to be “arm’s length” as ordinarily defined for the Instructional Tenure track.

Non-academic reviewers (e.g., employed at the NIH or a major research institute) may be included in the required five “arm’s length” letters but only if it is stated that, for those individuals who do not typically hold an academic title, their rank is equivalent or higher to the academic rank for which the candidate is being considered.


  • External reviewers who are tenured faculty can provide letters for appointments on the Instructional tenure track, Research Professor track, and Clinical Instructional track.
  • External reviewers who are Clinical Instructional track faculty can only provide letters for appointments on the Clinical Instructional track.
  • External reviewers who are Research Professor track faculty can only provide letters for appointments on the Research Professor track.

An external letter from an emeritus/ta faculty member could be considered one of the five required “arm’s length” letters if it meets “arm’s length” criteria and if the faculty member is still academically active (e.g., still publishing) and is relatively recently retired.

External Reviewers: Provide an abridged version (one short paragraph) for each reviewer indicating the reviewer’s position, fields of expertise, important contributions and standing in the discipline, appropriateness of the reviewer to provide input, and relationship to the candidate, i.e. dissertation committee, post-doc supervisor, co-author, etc. (Identifiable measures of stature include: chaired professorships, editorships, professional society offices, academy memberships, etc.) SmartPath will generate a list in alpha order the description of the credentials of reviewers and their relationship to the candidate. SmartPath will also print the reviewer’s designation as arm’s length or not arm’s length and selection as suggested by the candidate or by the department.

Copy or example of solicitation letter sent to external reviewers. (Generated in SmartPath.)

At least two internal letters are expected as evidence of the Department’s evaluation of the candidate.  The internal reviewers should be at or above the rank considered. (This is optional for the clinical professor track.)

Two college rep evaluations.

UPDATED: Evidence of experience and quality of teaching: Provide the candidate’s teaching statement, and provide an explanation of the teaching evaluation system and where the candidate ranks in the system (quantitative evaluations on teaching). Teaching evaluations should be summarized in SmartPath step Teaching Evaluation Summary. If the candidate is from industry and tenure is requested, provide in-depth justification for prediction of teaching success in a university setting. NEW: For Clinical track appointees without a record of relevant teaching experience, include in the chair’s letter, a brief statement on how the school/college/unit will support the candidate’s development and/or mentorship skills.

Research/DEI statements.

NOTE: If the appointment is without tenure, a draft offer letter must be provided. (This does not apply to clinical track appointees.)

Appointment Activity Record form (AAR): Required for provost approval of hire. A waiver of posting will be requested for target of opportunity hires and dual career hires.

9. Executive Committee considers candidate for position, ADAA Office notifies department of outcome.

10. If approved, Department Chair negotiates salary and start-up with ADAA and submits draft offer letter, addendum and faculty start-up worksheet for approval.  (No offer can be made until we receive Provost approval.)

11. UPDATED: ADAA requests approval to hire from Provost’s Office (may delay offer anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks.) Once the Provost approves, ADAA will inform department.

12.  Once the offer letter and startup are approved, the department submits a final Faculty Start-Up Worksheet to the ADAA for signature.  A signed copy will be supplied to the department following execution.  If grants will be transferred, please also include the Transfer Grant Form.

13. Department sends approved letter to candidate and copies ADAA.

14. If candidate accepts, department sends the signed offer letter to the ADAA Office and begins employment paperwork for RPM-HR.

15. ADAA Office submits Regents Communication for final approval of new faculty hires.  ADAA office notifies department of Regent approval.