Five faculty filters
To my list of critical faculty selection criteria that has thus far included credentials, contagious character, competence, and communication, I add one more: compatibility.
From clearance rack to closet
I am an inveterate bargain hunter. I sometimes troll clearance racks looking for a gem of a pair of slacks at a price that is too hard to resist. On occasion the price tag seems so scandalously irresistible I compromise on the comfort. But it never lasts. I’m embarrassed to admit how many items of clothing have gone from my closet to charity over the years because I finally faced up to the fact that discomfort precluded me from wearing them much. Dust and recrimination accumulate in equal quantities.
The folly of a faculty misfit
What does fit have to do with faculty? Everything. Faculty members should be selected and retained on the basis of their strong fit with a college community’s mission, beliefs, values, and ethos. I doubt you will disagree, but I never cease to be astonished how easily we become enamored with the urgency of a vacancy or the glittering resume of a prospect such that we throw aside this essential consideration. No matter the urgency or allure, a faculty vacancy is far less damaging than a bad fit.
The power of the implicit curriculum
Faculty is a collective noun. Superior faculty members must be able to engage institutional colleagues and students in shared governance, educational collaboration, and conflict resolution. Your faculty culture and community comprises a powerful implicit curriculum relative to what your students will learn and what they will replicate in their future workplace, community life, and team leadership patterns.
Faculty credentials and capabilities, no matter how incandescent, cannot offset the damage that occurs when an institution’s “hidden curriculum” in spirituality and leadership is filled with dissonance. Make sure your faculty prospects truly fit. If you don’t, I assure you life will become uncomfortable for you and many others.
Faculty selection criteria: one more time
What criteria should guide your faculty selection process?
- Credentials (your first filter but least important factor)
- Contagious character
But selection is only the first step in faculty-building. In my next post, I’ll begin a close look at faculty development. That’s where the business of real faculty-building continues.
Fresh gleanings to fuel your leadership awareness, reflection, and conversations …
Not least among the memes higher education critics peddle is the “skills gap” between college preparation and employment readiness. The authors of this new book argue that research demonstrates the real gap is a result of teaching and learning processes that fail to produce what employers want: “a hardworking, technically astute individual with strong problem-solving and communication skills who can work effectively as part of a team.” Is your institution good at producing that kind of graduates?
This essay by Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) CEO Judith Eaton asserts that 2016 represents an inflection point relative to forces portending a turbulent re-allocation of power and roles among government, the public, higher education, and accreditors relative to how quality and accountability are defined and affirmed. Brace yourselves, says Eaton: change is not merely in the wind, it is in the wings.