Good evening. It feels great to be back on campus at the start of a new semester.
Today, the faculty panel on four connections was strong. The break-out session on stress and burnout led by Counseling Faculty Silvia Donatelli and Dennis Emano provided explanations and ways to address the growing challenges a lot of us face. Given the strong faculty turnout I think this panel was timely and needed. We should consider a check in later this semester.
On my way to and from the MAC yesterday I encountered students and parents walking their schedules. Eager to start their college experience from the looks of it.
A big part of this in-service week’s success is due to the diligent efforts of Tina Bures, Jenn Kelley, and Nicole Matos. Thank you for your work. It makes ours easier and allows many of us to focus on Monday morning.
Much of what makes COD a great place to attend is the people that teach and work here. That starts with hiring committees. The search committee process is problematic to say the least, across a number of areas.
To be clear, I am not referencing any current faculty search committees.
There are a number of problems from minor to potential ethical lapses about which we should all be concerned.
The high turnover and missing out on good people from vice-presidents, directors, managers, groundskeepers and associate vice presidents is an issue.
Outgoing employees should not populate committees to pick their successors. That is a conflict of interest without extenuating circumstances.
There are three large issues that need to be addressed immediately:
Most searches in the academic world are announced via discipline and area specific communications earlier in the fall. Jobs are announced internally, externally, locally, nationally and internationally. The committee is convened begins the process and by mid-spring is having on campus interviews and making offers.
At COD recently, search committee work starts at odd times. Some began in the summer when at least 1/3 of faculty are not on campus. This is not the norm and not consistent with our best practices. The outcome is we are not getting the best applicants, who in many cases have already accepted positions elsewhere.
2. Training of Committees and conducting their work
Greater direction and training of all search committees is needed on campus. That’s hard to do when there is so much turnover in HR.
If the will of the committee is routinely ignored or overruled, that has a trickle-down impact on morale. People don’t want to work on committees for dozens of hours over months and months when there is a pre-determined outcome. This is bad for our institution.
3. Lowballing Candidates
From groundskeepers, faculty, student assistants, to upper management, applicants are turning down positions because they can earn a better wage/salary elsewhere. Beyond understaffing key positions, it hurts our reputation as an attractive place to work that attracts the best candidates.
Given the economic circumstances, this is not the time to lose candidates as it is, anecdotally, a reason frequently given.
Replacing permanent positions with interims that last for a significant time also hurts our internal culture and has been noted both internally and externally. It’s time to remove the interim label from so many.
Timing, training and lowballing need to be addressed.
This is not a contractual issue. It is an issue that this board can and should address by clarifying the process for everyone involved.