The search for five tenure track professors is currently underway at Augustana College. Professors of math, theater, Spanish, a director of the writing center in English, and an individual specializing in bio mechanics and kinesiology are currently being sought.
The hiring process is a first time experience for Academic Dean Susan Hasseler. “It’s a pretty demanding process, but it is well worth the time we put into it. If you look at the professors here, they are outstanding. That is in large part due to people working really hard to hire the right faculty.”
Hasseler said the process typically begins during the summer when division chairs meet with the ean and associate sean of students to discuss hiring needs across campus. Departments seeing need for new faculty members submit requests for hires that are used to determine which positions will be filled.
Search committees responsible for assisting in the hiring process are developed within each department seeking a new hire. Each committee consists of the department chair, two additional members of the department, the division chair and one faculty representative from each of the other two divisions.
Senior Luke Hannemann agreed to serve as part of the search committee for the new mathematics professor this year.
“Even though I am a senior and I will never be able to experience the new professor in the classroom, I hope to help provide influence in selecting a professor who is going to be satisfactory for underclassman and future students of Augustana,” Hannemann said. “I want a professor who is interested in mathematics, but more importantly interested in preparing students for their future plans whether that be in higher education or in the work field.”
Search committees review applications and work to narrow the pool of candidates to two or three applicants who are brought to campus for an interview. Depending on the department, candidates can do a number of things in addition to interviewing while on campus.
Scott Fish, professor of French, said language candidates teach a class during their time on campus. Students in the candidate’s class complete an evaluation to provide feedback to the search committee about the candidate. When possible, each candidate teaches the same group of students to ensure comparable evaluations.
“Student feedback is absolutely essential and it does play a serious role in our hiring process,” Fish said.
In addition to teaching courses, candidates might also present research or hold mock office hours during which students can get a better idea of what working with the professor might be like.
Search committees will consider candidate characteristics that will fit Augustana and the liberal arts education it offers as they continue their searches this winter.
“We obviously want to protect our credibility and that means to hire competent, gregarious researchers,” mathematics professor Tim Sorenson said. “But they have to be teachers from the get go. That’s a hard combination. There are a lot of people that know their subject area and can’t teach. There are a lot of people that can teach but don’t like the research, they love to teach. What’s the right balance at Augustana College?”