Hiring professors: The process at Whitworth

Whitworth University obtains qualified professors from nationwide searches from a process that selects only the best and most capable for students.

“We have different categories of teaching instructional faculty at Whitworth and the hiring process of these faculties can be very different,” Craig Hinnenkamp, associate dean in the school of business, said.

When looking to hire permanent faculty the hiring process is very extensive and intense. There are two different types of permanent professors: track one: tenure track, and track two: non tenure track. The difference between the two tracks lies in their contracts. However, the hiring process is the same for both.

The first step in hiring a permanent position is to fill a vacancy with approval from the provost. The next step is to conduct a nationwide search. The recruiting announcement includes a job description and then that is sent across the nation, Hinnenkamp said.

“I saw a posting that was on the Whitworth University website but it was also put through a professional organization. I contacted the chair of the [communications] department to find out more about the job on my own,” Dr. Kevin Grieves, associate professor in the communication studies department said.

Search committees are appointed by the discipline to search for and to evaluate potential professors.

“The standard for a search committee is to get diverse representation as best as possible within a department,” Hinnenkamp said.

The search committee usually includes members from the hiring discipline, an outside faculty member and a student representative. The students are usually pulled from the discipline that forms the search committee and are usually the top students in their discipline.

After receiving applications, the search committees will review all of the applications sent in and narrow it down to a manageable number. Depending on the discipline, that number can vary greatly.

After the narrowing process, there are interviews with potential candidates, conducted through Skype. After these interviews, the search committee will bring the best candidates to campus. Usually there are around three brought for their trial-run.

“I submitted my application online and I was invited to do a Skype interview with the committee, Grieves said. “After that I was invited to come here to Spokane to visit and interview.”

Generally, the campus visits last for two days. During that two-day period potential professors will be interviewed by the search committee, the provost, the chaplain and President Beck Taylor, Hinnenkamp said.

Candidates are required to teach a class and put on presentations demonstrating their research, Hinnenkamp said.

“It truly is a grueling process. It is a good process because there are multiple layers to it and multiple pieces of accountability,” Hinnenkamp said. “Our permanent faculty will be a part of our community at Whitworth and we want them to be the best in the country.”

However, there is a less formal process when looking at hiring contingent faculty, or professors who are not considered permanent such as lecturers and adjunct professors, Hinnenkamp said.

The interviewing process for contingent faculty varies across campus. Some departments have the department chair hold responsibility for potential hires, using input from faculty within the discipline, Hinnenkamp said.

Other departments have their applicants come to the university and guest lecture in an existing class. This way the department can get feedback from the student and the faculty that attend the class.

Whitworth requires permanent professors to give a statement of faith, while contingent faculty does not have this requirement.

“They do not require us to sign any sort of statement that somebody else has prepared, which is something I really liked about Whitworth. We can put in our own words our Christian beliefs,” Grieves said.

To be hired, a lecturer’s beliefs have to be consistent with Whitworth’s Christian mission. This consistency is determined by the provost. However, adjunct professors are not required to write a statement of faith or have beliefs consistent with Whitworth’s Christian mission.

 

Sarah Haman

Staff Writer

Contact Sarah Haman at

shaman19@my.whitworth.edu

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