Affirmative Action

4.2 Search Committee as University Representative - Affirmative Action Searches

Given the current state of employment in higher education, it is not unusual for a University of the stature of Michigan State to receive a substantial number of applicants for one open faculty position. Since the search committee may be the only contact many of these individuals have had with Michigan State, it is in a unique position to enhance the reputation and image of the University. While a search committee is evaluating an applicant, the applicant is also evaluating the search committee, the unit it represents and, ultimately, the institution.

Most of the applicants for positions at Michigan State will eventually enter the profession and will, in turn, work with colleagues and students. The impression, then, that an applicant receives of the University will reach many individuals beyond the applicant and will influence our reputation and the success of future search committees.

If a search committee has been candid and forthright with applicants, if time lines have been met, if promises have been kept, if correspondence has been warmly professional, if form letters have not sounded like form letters, if telephone inquiries have been politely answered, if interviews have been probing yet cordial, if campus visits have been well-planned and well-executed, then the search committee will be seen as professional, humane and sensitive and the University as a healthy, pleasant and supportive place to work. In a very real sense, it is possible for a search committee to have been thoroughly successful even if it has failed to hire its top candidate.

Back to the Handbook for Faculty Searches with Special Reference to Affirmative Action