Faculty Recruitment (Low Cost) Wish List

Thanks to Dan, Angel, and the rest of the Concurring Opinions crew for inviting me to blog this week.  I’ll try to vary posts between scholarship/ideas, faculty life, and pop culture (and all permutations thereof).

With the FAR form due later this week,  all those of us who went through this process as entry-levels can commiserate with our students, fellows, etc, just beginning the process. Love or hate the entry-level recruiting process, one thing seems obvious to me: we can make it better. To that end I invite readers to add to this thread with their suggestions for improving this process, with one proviso: make it cheap! If you could change something in the process at low or zero cost, what would it be? I give a few of my own answers below, but hope others will contribute through the comments:

1. Re-work the course listings to be selected on the FAR form. As I recall there were 4-6 differently named courses in my primary field (law and medicine, health law), while for others their field was not an option at all. I recognize that nomenclature is fluid, but it seems to me it would not be that hard for someone at AALS to compare their categories to course offerings at 5 member schools and bring them more into accord.

2. One tower, please. Did you know the Faculty Recruitment process measures not just legal acumen and collegiality but athletic ability? You have if you have ever tried to get from the top floor of one tower of the Marriot Wardman tower to the top floor of the other in less than 5 minutes using the stairs. Candidates are stressed and late, interviews go over, chaos ensues. Is it really impossible to put every committee in one tower, if you are booking the conference several years in advance? I know committees are of different size, and also opt for rooms of different grandeur, but a tighter squeeze or less opulence would be easy prices to pay for less rushing.

3. Get a blowhorn. At attending the American Law and Economics Association meeting one year I was amazed to find that each session is so precisely divided by the number of allocated minutes to each speaker, that at the designated point a blowhorn is aired throughout the hallways, and people leave and enter rooms to hear different speakers in the same session. Assuming that the FRC takes up much of the Wardman, could something similar be done to keep interviews on their timetable? That way there would be no awkward knocks on the door, or sweating when a particular committee held you over cutting into your next appointment.

I’m thinking small (too small?) but I’d be curious what other constructive cheap fixes people have thought of over the years.

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2 Responses

  1. Daniel Solove says:

    The FAR form needs to contain more lines for publications. These days, many top candidates have more publications than the FAR form allows to be listed. They must then squeeze these into the comments section. The form should allow up to 6 publications.

  2. Anon says:

    No matter how large the FRC, there will still be guests who are not affiliated with the conference and therefore a blowhorn is not possible. It might be feasible to schedule an automated phone call in all of the interviewing rooms though at the appointed times. That would probably be more effective anyway and could piggyback on the hotel’s existing wake-up call system.

    The real innovation (albeit perhaps outside the confines of your low-cost limitation) would be to have all first interviews by videoconference or some other such electronic communications, thus obviating most of the hustle and bustle of the FRC. You could still have an FRC, but it would be shorter, smaller, and less rushed (and perhaps optional in certain cases where everyone agrees that they know enough to schedule the on-campus interview). Only the survivors from the e-interviews would attend, sorting would be more efficient as schools can adjust their interview slots as spaces open up, and candidates would be more focused on specific schools.