KSU uses a lengthy hiring process to reduce costs

Megan Wilkinson

Why Should Readers Care?

Kent State, along with other universities, has made it more difficult to become a professor in an effort reduce costs at the university.

The road to becoming a Kent State professor takes more time and careful evaluation with the hiring freeze in effect. Kim Hahn, associate professor of fashion design and merchandising, said she was prepared to wait for a while to hear back from Kent State when she applied for a job in Dec. 2010.

“I had to wait a long time due to the hiring freeze at Kent State University,” Hahn said. “But it was a great relief after I heard the news.”

Hahn said it took a year to receive her position as an associate professor. She said she went through an on-campus interview, screening processes, a meeting with the college dean and gave a presentation on her research.

“I think it’s really competitive,” Hahn said. “Professors today need very good communication skills and organization.”

Hahn and 46 other faculty members went through a similar process this past year as they applied for jobs with Kent State for this academic year.

“We’ve hired mostly for critical teaching shortages,” Provost Robert Frank said. “This depends on who is retired and who left the university.”

J.R. Campbell, director of the School of Fashion and Design, said his department hired Hahn in particular because his department was short on faculty.

“The university is looking critically at all job proposals,” Campbell said. “As long as we can have strategic rationale for why a position should be filled, the university considers it, but it’s a rigorous process.”

Tim Moerland, dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, said hiring a new faculty member takes a year or more in some cases, starting from when a person applies to the day he or she arrives on campus.

“It’s a thoughtful process since we’re hiring someone who we want to keep at the university,” said Tim Chandler, senior associate provost. “We want to make sure we get it right, and we’re not going to rush through it.”

Step One:

Assess the situation. Tim Moerland, dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, said schools consult among themselves and figure out whether or not a faculty or staff position is needed for student success.

“The provost will set aside a dollar amount when they hire someone,” Janson said.

Step Two:

Requesting to hire. Once a school affirms it needs a new faculty member, it requests the college dean and university provost for authorization on the hire. Tom Janson, professor of music, said this is important when figuring out if the university will be able to afford a new faculty member.

Step Three:

Form the search committee. Moerland said a department forms a search committee to scope out possible hires for job positions once all is clear with the college dean and university provosts.

The search committee works with the college dean and Kent State’s human resources office to write a national advertisement about the job opportunities.

“These departments normally use a search committee of around five people, although this can vary quite a bit,” Moerland said.

Step Four:

Interviewing the candidates. Janson said the search committee usually agrees upon three candidates for the job, and brings them to campus for an interview.

Hahn said the university only called back three people for the position she wanted.

“It’s a really small chance to get an on-campus interview,” said Kim Hahn, associate professor of fashion design and merchandising. “Many of my colleagues said they are just happy to get to that point.”

Step Five:

Approval from the department chair. Moerland said search committees make a recommendation to the department chair to hire an individual if they feel the candidate would qualify for a spot.

“The university looks for collegiality, good researchers and quality teaching skills in applicants,” said Paul Haradakis, interim director for the School of Communication Studies. “They must be cognizant of the type of place of which they are applying.”

Step Six:

Offering the job. Once the department chair, dean and provost all agree on one person, the school offers the candidate a job.

Step Seven:

Presenting research. Hahn said during her application process she had to present some of her research to students and faculty in the School of Fashion and Design.

Contact Megan Wilkinson at [email protected].