Wed. Jan 26th, 2022

This semester the Humanities departments have been searching for new candidates to hire for the upcoming school year. Each department will be hiring at least one new faculty member. The process for hiring a new faculty member is long, extensive work for all those involved as they bring in new professors for the upcoming year.

The first step in the search processes is an examination of needs, done by each department. They look at what classes have continuously been taught by adjunct professors and make a request to their Dean. Many times the department will ask for one or two positions extra in hopes of getting some of their requested positions. The Dean then looks over the requests and decides which requests to pass on to the Provost, also known as the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Linda Lamwers. Lamwers then gives permission to the dean and the dean lets the head of the department know that they can start with their search. The department then chooses a search committee of usually about three to five people.

This differs from department to department. If the position is an interdisciplinary position, it is more likely the search committee will be larger. The chair of the department will not sit on the search committee because they must remain independent and unbiased.

Next, the search committee will write and place an ad for the available position(s). This ad must be approved by the Social Equity office to ensure that position is being promoted as an equal opportunity job.

The search committee determines what a person needs to include in their application. Usually an academic resume and a letter of application are two standard requests. Other things may include a writing sample, letters of recommendation, etc.

The next part is a three phase process. The committee looks over all of the applications and makes an initial cut. Those left in the pool could be interviewed over the phone or meet at a conference. The second cut of applicants is then made. Those remaining are brought to campus. How many applicants brought to campus depends on how much the committee’s budget can afford to bring to campus. This number is usually three or four.

Each applicant will then meet with the department chair and present a research topic presentation. Optional events for the applicants visit include, an open forum with students, teaching a class, a campus tour, and meeting with a person of special interest. This could include someone from LGBTQA Services, or a person who works in the library. The person of interest can be requested by the applicant.

The search committee then sits down and has a discussion about all the applicants and makes a ranked recommendation to the dean. With the recommendation is an explanation of the reasons for the ranking. The search committee often looks at each applicants teaching, scholarship and service. The dean cannot overrule what the search committee recommends. The recommendation is then passed on to Lamwers. Lamwers then passes on the hire to the President and the president makes the final decision. The applicant is then notified of their offer for the position.

All searches must follow the CBA, collect bargaining agreement that is set up by the university. Also, it is important to note that even with the budget cuts happening, West Chester is still hiring. There is a rule that says no more than 25 percent of classes can be taught by adjuncts. The Humanities departments are not the only departments hiring right now, however, they have hired a good number of new faculty members.

The history department is still in the process of hiring their faculty member. The Philosophy department has hired Timothy Golden, (who also possesses a law degree). He will come in as an Associate Professor in the fall, and is defending his dissertation next month. Also in the Philosophy department, long-time adjunct Dr. Larry Udell will come in as an Assistant Professor in the Fall and long-time adjunct Dr. Simon Ruchti will come in as Assistant Professor and be shared with the Women’s and Gender Studies Program.

The communication studies department’s new hire is Meghan Peirce, she is an Assistant Professor of New Media. She will be teaching courses in social media and public speaking. The English Department has hired four new faculty members. Will Nessly will be teaching classes specializing in Asian American literature. Teaching sixteenth and seventeenth century literature with a specialty in Shakespeare will be Joe Navitsky. Randall Cream will be teaching digital humanities and Eric Dodson-Robinson will be teaching comparative literature specializing in classical Roman and Greek literature. The cultures and languages department is also in process of hiring three new faculty members. Keep an eye out for these new professors on campus next semester.

Rebekah Balmer is a fourth-year student majoring in women and gender studies and sociology. She can be reached at RB649636@wcupa.edu.

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