University introduces new, improved faculty recruitment model
Continuous active recruitment pushes positive values of Charlottesville, University community
As a part of the administration’s proposed strategic plan, the University is set to adopt a new model of what University President Teresa Sullivan calls “continuous active recruitment,” in which faculty will be recruited and hired on a rolling basis rather than episodically.
The new process will involve collaboration among deans from different schools to help implement broader faculty hiring practices, which Sullivan said would help to combat departmental isolation.
Nursing School Dean Dorrie Fontaine spoke to the Board last week and said the new system would help people find the best faculty for research.
Following a five-year recruiting process led by Fontaine, the Nursing School recently hired Dr. Susan Bauer-Wu to join the in the department of Acute and Specialty Care. Bauer-Wu said she was impressed with with the school’s interdisciplinary research. According to Fontaine, it took years of “Dating and mating, and falling in love with U.Va. … to close the deal [with Bauer-Wu].”
The new recruitment model comes in anticipation of a large wave of faculty retirement. In the past 10 years, between 2 and 5 percent of tenured faculty have left the University either for retirement or to pursue other jobs, said Gertrude Fraser, vice provost for faculty recruitment and retention. Faculty on the tenure track have also been leaving the University regularly at a rate between 5 percent and 10 percent, she said.
In its process of faculty recruitment, the faculty search committee aims to bring potential faculty members to the University to lecture and gain exposure to the University community. “If we show them Charlottesville is a warm and welcoming place, they can make a home here… that will help our diversity as well,” Fontaine said.
Fraser said the new approach will help the University attract and retain the faculty needed to stay competitive, and also involves looking at post-doctoral students who have graduated from the University. “If we cultivate a network, when it comes time for [potential faculty] to make decisions, they will have a sense that they already know us and the institution,” Fraser said.
The benefits of cultivating a relationship with potential hires became evident with the hire of Assoc. Religious Studies Prof. Willis Jenkins this year. Jenkins received his doctorate from the University, and was lecturing at Yale before he joined the Religious Studies department this spring. “Just by the fact that the department kept a really active and engaged relationship with me … when an opportunity did come up it was really attractive to come here,” Jenkins said.
Prior to accepting the job, Jenkins often returned to the University to participate in workshops and give lectures at the University.