The most common procedure is to have a search conducted by a single committee comprising board members and faculty, with the faculty having been chosen by their colleagues.5 That system is most likely to generate consensus concerning the needs of the institution and the strengths of the candidates. Given that our procedure will involve parallel structures--an advisory committee with faculty chosen by the administration and a decision-making committee consisting of board members--the Faculty Senate recommends the following steps to insure significant faculty participation in the search process and support for its outcome:
- The advisory committee should be actively involved in the selection of search consultants and in the formulation of their role.
- The advisory committee should prepare a statement of the institution's goals and challenges--a statement which will serve to identify qualities sought in the new president.
- The advisory committee should see all documents, including applications, as they are developed or received by the board committee.
- The advisory committee should be actively involved in the successive stages of narrowing the pool of applicants.
- The advisory committee should be actively involved in planning campus visits by the final applicants.
- Following the visits by final applicants, the Faculty Senate should provide the advisory committee with a ranking of the candidates indicating any who are unacceptable.
- The advisory committee should identify a pool of two or more of the final applicants who have faculty support, and the board committee should make the final choice from that pool.
Any statement of the qualities of an ideal candidate for president should remain tentative until there is a full, public discussion among the constituencies of the UT campuses concerning the goals and challenges of the institution and until the conclusions from that discussion are presented in the advisory committee's formal statement. The list of qualities will include many that are not directly academic, such as political acuity and skill at fund-raising; we expect that the academic qualities on the eventual list will include these:
- Commitment to academic freedom and tenure. The new president should have a record of actions consistent with the Trustees' recent statement that "A healthy tradition of academic freedom and tenure is essential to the proper functioning of a University."
- Commitment to intellectual diversity. The new president should have a record of fostering a climate of intellectual diversity and dissent, recognizing that such debate is at the heart of the University's search for knowledge.
- Experience in teaching and research. A president who has been a classroom teacher and involved in an active research program will be better able to influence the academic policies of an institution of teaching and research and to explain the mission of the University to external constituencies.
- Commitment to affirmative action. The new president should have a record of active, public support for the affirmative action and equal opportunity policies in effect at the University of Tennessee.
- Commitment to shared governance. The new president should have a record of active support for faculty participation in the institution's decision making.
1UTK Faculty Handbook, 1996 edn., 1.6-14. (Back)
2The UTK Faculty Handbook identifies participation in the selection of University officers as a governance function specifically delegated to faculty: "A less direct but no less important role of the faculty is to advise University officers about certain administrative matters that are intrinsically related to the health and credibility of the University. These matters include ... 5. the selection of University officers.... The voice of the faculty in these areas is indispensable. Its advice cannot be lightly given or peripherally received" (UTK Faculty Handbook, 1996 edn., 1.7-22). (Back)
3UTK Faculty Handbook, 1996 edn., 1.7.3-24. (Back)
4A search in the ERIC database (1982-1998) identifies 121 publications on the subjects Administrator-Selection and College-Presidents. See the recent comment in "On the Use of Executive Recruiters in Presidential Searches," Academe Sept.-Oct. 1997: 83: "Hiring on the executive level has its own specialized lore, its own research studies, its own protocols, about which most faculty members and administrators do not have sufficient knowledge." (Back)
5The UTK Faculty Handbook (1996 edn.) anticipates an active role for the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate in selecting faculty representatives to the search committees: "When campus or system administrative appointments are to be filled, and where it is appropriate for faculty to be of assistance in recruitment and screening of candidates, the Executive Committee assists in the selection of faculty members of such screening committees and lends its counsel to the development of procedures for recruitment and screening of such candidates" (1.6-20). (Back)