Guidance on Completing Ongoing Faculty Searches



Dear search committee chairs, department chairs, deans, equity advisors, and school AP staff:

In light of Chancellor Gillman’s message, sent on March 10, 2020, regarding our campus response to COVID-19, we have been consulting with our campus leadership and the Vice Provosts of Academic Personnel on our sister campuses to provide guidance on completing ongoing faculty searches.

I know everyone would like to see existing searches concluded in a timely fashion, with all candidates treated fairly and equitably.

In some cases you will have candidates who have completed their in-person interviews and others who have not. Given the current situation we do not advise continuing with a process that requires campus visits for the remaining candidates who may be reluctant to or prohibited from travel at this time.

We therefore recommend that you suspend any additional candidate visits and that you arrange for an alternative process via Zoom or similar online methods for the remaining candidates. We do not want any candidate to feel pressured to travel.

Please make every effort to make the virtual interview process as consistent as possible for each candidate and as similar as possible to what would occur during an on-campus visit. For example, if finalists give a certain number of talks, then they should give the same number and types of talks remotely. If finalists meet with certain groups of faculty and students, they should hold such meetings virtually. Arrangements should be made to permit remote viewing of job talks and presentations for faculty in the host departments as they may not be able to attend in-person either. For everything done remotely, efforts should be made to make the remote experience similar to the in-person experience (so, e.g., if people can ask questions during an in-person job talk, arrangements should be made to permit them to ask questions during a remote job talk).

Considerations in preparing for virtual interviews:

  • Confirm that all candidates have access to a laptop or desktop computer.
  • Ensure that all candidates can use Zoom or another online platform for their job talk or interview, includes Zoom help links.
  • Provide candidates with a description of the talk or interview format.
  • Record job talks based on department practices and the discretion of the candidate.
  • Adopt a standard for all job talks with clear guidance for length of time and use of visual aids.
  • Require candidates to make their slide deck available in advance.
  • Chairs should moderate remote question and answer sessions during the job talk.
  • Adopt standards for the “chalk” talk and communicate them to the candidates.
  • Schedule meetings with faculty using Zoom or another online platform.

I’m sorry that you all are having to deal with addressing COVID-19 issues while handling the already complicated process of running faculty searches, and appreciate your flexibility to make these suggested changes.

Feel free to contact me ( if you have questions as you move forward with planning and completion of your searches.

Thanks for your leadership,

Diane K. O’Dowd
Vice Provost for Academic Personnel
Hal Stern, Ph.D.
Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Chancellor’s Professor of Statistics

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