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Faculty Governance at the University of Florida Libraries

Library Faculty Assembly (LFA) Special Meeting to discuss the draft of the Smathers Faculty Recruitment Policy

Minutes - April 7, 2008: 3:00pm

Marston Science Library, Room L107

Discussion Summary

The Smathers Libraries' Faculty Recruitment Policies and Practices Committee sponsored a Special Meeting of the LFA to discuss the draft of updated policy. Draft 1 is available at until the end of April 2008.

Topics for discussion included:

Final decisions:

Currently, the Hiring Authorities make final decisions for interviewing and for hiring faculty. Recommendations by search committee, dept chair, and other faculty/staff are merely recommendations. In a shared governance environment, should this model be altered? Models from other academic departments where faculty vote for a candidate were described. Favorable comments include the in-house knowledge and because we work in cohesive units very closely together. Others think a "binding" vote part is troublesome because voters may not see or be able to consider all aspects of a candidate's performance. In some colleges, the vote replaces written assessments but the vote is only taken after lengthy departmental discussions. Votes are seen as more valuable when faculty and staff are committed to the search process and have time to participate. The Assembly agreed that written assessments are valuable, and the use of an assessment form should assist the Search Committee and the Hiring Authorities with weighting the opinions of those who assessed the candidates. A critical issue is the weight given to the search committee's recommendations. Committees need to communicate preferences beyond first choice and to justify non-recommendations. The Hiring Authorities should explain the final decision to the Committee to acknowledge the work done by the Committee and to provide the Committee members with a deeper understanding that will inform their future assignments on other Search Committees.

Anonymity in assessments:

Faculty and staff are strongly divided on the issue whether candidate assessments should be signed or anonymous. The Assembly agrees that signed assessments are a critical element in responsibility and faculty governance. Faculty and staff must be made aware of the details of the process to alleviate fears or feelings of being threatened, and the process should be briefly outlined on the assessment form and in the interview sessions. Currently, signed assessments are shared with the Search Committee; the Department Chair and Hiring Authorities may or may not choose to view individual assessments; the Search Committee removes assessor names when summarizing the assessments for the final report. Many also express a lack of understanding of what to include in a candidate assessment; use of a new form should assist. The proposed Assessment Form (Appendix R) will undergo extensive revisions to include awareness of the process and to accommodate which candidate(s) the respondent is assessing. The draft policy includes a role for the Department Chair in ensuring that departmental staff members remain engaged and informed throughout all stages of the search process, which should include an awareness of the assessment process.

Future work:

The Committee welcomes comments on Draft 1 until the end of Monday, April 14, 2008. Those new to the process are especially encouraged to assess the Draft for clarity and level of detail.

Draft 2 will be distributed to staff on April 17 or 18.

Draft 2 will be brought to the LFA Meeting on April 21 for a vote to indicate that the updated policy is acceptable to the Assembly. The final Committee report, including the policy and related documentation, will be submitted to the Dean by April 30.

The appendices (with the exception of university documents) are suggestions, best practices, and aids to the search process, and they may be modified at any time. The policy document itself will be modifiable only through formal procedures.

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