This section focuses on Officers of Instruction and outlines the various titles under which a faculty member can be appointed, the means by which a department can seek authorization for an appointment, faculty search best practices and the forms that support this process.
An appointment for a replacement hiring is guided by the Timely Replacement Policy, which can be found here.
As a resource for the search and appointment process, please consult the guide on Best Practices in Faculty Search and Hiring, published by the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Diversity and Inclusion.
The A&S office for Faculty Development & Diversity has also posted Faculty Search Committee Resources here.
Please note that all members of A&S Faculty Search Committees for tenured and on-the-tenure-track appointments are to attend a Faculty Search Committee Briefing. The schedule of briefings is posted here.
Faculty members are those appointed to academic positions as officers of instruction. They hold a doctorate or its professional equivalent. They carry the following titles:
- Professor of (department)
- Associate Professor of (department)
- Assistant Professor of (department)
- Special Instructional (including special instructional staff)
- Instructor in (department)
- Senior lecturer in (department)
- Lecturer in (department)
- Associate in (department)
- Special lecturer in (retired officer of instruction)
- Practice faculty
- Professor of professional practice in (department)
- Associate Professor of professional practice in (department)
- Assistant Professor of professional practice in (department)
Some officer of instruction appointments can also be made in an adjunct capacity. The use of these appointments is described in the Faculty Handbook. Visiting refers to faculty on leave from another institution; these appointments may be held for not more than two years. Adjunct refers to faculty who are part-time at Columbia University and are pursuing their primary careers elsewhere.
The Office of the Executive Vice President collects each department's Instructional Budget Statement (IBS), which outlines its proposal for faculty searches for the coming year. In consultation with the Divisional Deans and the Planning and Policy Committee, the Executive Vice President and Executive Committee consider IBS requests and authorize searches for the coming academic year based on budgetary parameters. Following IBS approval, Divisional Deans send their IBS responses to departments authorizing them to engage in faculty searches. Generally, departments are authorized to search during the ensuing academic year for appointments that will begin the following July.
Hiring proposals submitted outside of the IBS cycle, as well as any proposed changes in the conditions of the searches authorized in the IBS response, should be discussed directly with the appropriate Divisional Dean. If approved, the Divisional Dean will send an addendum to the IBS response, outlining any modifications to the search agreed upon.
Unsuccessful searches from the prior year must be re-authorized explicitly before being reopened in the succeeding year.
For instructions on completing an Instructional Budget Statement, visit this link here.
For a timeline that describes the steps to the Instructional Budget Statement approval process, visit this link here.
An appointment for a replacement hiring is guided by the Timely Replacement Policy, which can be found here.
Once lBS approval for a position is obtained, recruitment may begin. The Standard Search and Evaluation Procedures (SSEP) provides the basis for the creation of the templates that the unit uses for on-line postings in RAPS.
The Standard Search and Evaluation Procedures (SSEP) describe the standard procedures used to recruit full-time officers of instruction and research. Each department, school, institute and center ("the hiring unit") that makes appointments in one of these categories must have an approved SSEP on file in the Office of the Associate Provost for EOAA. The policy for Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action is here. These must ensure a wide solicitation of qualified applicants and a thorough examination of their comparative qualifications.
RAPS is an application management system as well as a recruiting and EOAA clearance and reporting system. It is used by applicants for submission of documents, by reference providers for submission of letters and by search committees for the evaluation of applications and selection of candidates. Support for the use of RAPS is available from the Office of Academic Affairs.
To log-in to RAPS, administrative staff go to MyColumbia at my.columbia.edu or directly to https://pa334.peopleadmin.com/hr/. First, a requisition for search plan approval containing information about the search committee, external advertising, and the text of the on-line posting is submitted via RAPS. The requisition is then approved by the appropriate Divisional Dean and the search is opened in RAPS. At a minimum, a unit must advertise openings in the venue(s) listed in its SSEP. Once the online posting is approved, advertising text may be sent to external agencies/publications. The search is then conducted and potential candidates are identified.
Instructions for completing the SSEP can be found here.
Instructions for completing the SSEP cover page are here.
A sample SSEP form can be found here.
An overview of the entire hiring process is found in the faculty appointment process outline, here.
or questions or more information, please contact Dror Levy, Manager of Operations, firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: (212) 854-5511
Best Practices for Search Committees
This text is a compilation of best practices and resources for search committees*. It is meant to provide some guidelines to search committees to better carry out their searches keeping in mind the need to include women and minorities. The document also aims to shed light on the sort of unconscious biases that exist among both men and women in academic settings. Section I provides information on some of the common biases that are prevalent in the workplace. Section II provides some guidelines on conducting an effective search that would include women and minorities in the applicant pool. This material should be reviewed carefully before evaluating applicants.
*Prepared by the ADVANCE program at the Earth Institute
Section I: Evidence of Bias in Academic Settings
Both men and women hold unconscious biases that are rooted in gender constructs, stereotypes, and gender schemas (Valian, 1998). Cognitive science and psychology has shown that the brain employs these biases to make sense of complex situations (Freedman & Phillips, 1988). These biases disproportionately affect minorities and are apparent in the following:
• Curriculum Vitaes: Even psychologists are more likely to hire a male job applicant than a female job applicant with an identical record. Steinpres et al. (1999) presented 238 psychologists with CVs from actual scientists; only the names were changed. Female tenure candidates were four times as likely to receive cautionary comments such as “we would have to see her job talk” and “I would need to see evidence that she had gotten these grants and publications on her own.”
• Stereotyping: Evaluators who are busy, distracted, or under time pressure give women lower ratings than men for the same written evaluations of performance (Martell, 1991). In such circumstances, evaluators are more likely to rely on stereotypes. Success is more frequently attributed to “skill” for males and “luck” for females, even when the evaluators are presented with evidence of equal success for both genders (Deaux & Emswiller, 1974). Women are also less likely to have demonstrated leadership experience. Because of the negative stereotype of aggressiveness associated with a women leader, women often use a preemptive strategy of avoiding leadership opportunities to sidestep the spotlight of this stereotype (Davies, 2005).
• Funding Success: Analysis of 128 applicants for a prestigious grant in Europe found that differences in male and female success rates depended on the discipline. Gender disparities were especially pronounced in Biology and the Earth Sciences (Brouns, 2000). During 2001-2003 female applicants for NIH grants received only 63% of the funding that male applicants received (RAND, 2005).
• Salaries: Recent data indicate there is still a statistically significant differential (2.9% - 8.4%) in starting salaries for men and women faculty with comparable experience and rank (Toumanoff, 2005). Studies also show that salaries for women don’t progress as quickly as salaries for men (Valian, 2005). Also, there is widespread evidence that women ask for less than their male colleagues (Babcock & Laschever, 2003). Research has also shown that women tolerate lower salaries because they are more likely to compare themselves with other women (Major, 1994).
• Small Numbers: Research has shown that women and minorities are judged more fairly when they are at least 30% of the applicant pool (Sackett et al., 1991; Heilman, 1980).
• Letters of Recommendation: A study of over 300 recommendation letters for successful medical faculty applicants found that letters for females were shorter, placed less emphasis on research, more emphasis on teaching, contained more “grindstone adjectives” such as “hardworking” and “diligent,” contained twice as many doubt-raisers, and were less likely to include stand-out adjectives such as “brilliant” and “superb” (Trix & Psenka, 2003).
• Performance Evaluation: Social psychology research has shown that both men and women are more likely to vote to hire a male job applicant than a female job applicant with an identical record (Steinpres et al., 1999). Beginning in the 1970s symphony orchestras started requiring “blind auditions” or musicians auditioning behind screens. A study done in 2000 shows that since that time, the number of women hired has increased fivefold and the probability that a woman will advance from preliminary rounds has increased by 50%. Researchers maintain that blind audition procedures alone accounted for a significant increase in the proportion of women musicians hired into top-tier American symphonies (Goldin and Rouse, 2000).
• Publications: A study of postdoctoral fellowships awarded in Sweden found that peer reviewers gave female applicants lower scores than male applicants who displayed the same level of scientific productivity (Wenneras and Wold, 1997).
Race & Ethnicity Bias:
• Callback for Interviews: A significant racial gap has been identified in the rate of callbacks for interviews; when resumes have traditionally white names they elicit 50% more callbacks than when they have black names (Bertrand and Mullainathan, 2002).
• Verbal Skills: When asked to rate the quality of verbal skills as indicated by vocabulary definitions, evaluators rated the skills lower if they were told that an African American provided the definitions than if they were told that a white person provided them (Biernat et al., 1991).
• Treatment of Ambiguity: A 2000 study found that evaluators of candidates with ambiguous qualifications (i.e., unclear as to whether qualified or not) indicated stronger support for white applicants than for equally qualified African American applicants (Dovidio and Gaertner, 2000).
Section II: Guidelines for Search Committees
• Search Definition: Broad search definitions produce diverse applicant pools. Language matters. The description should not just encourage women and minorities to apply. More assertive language could include, for example, “The search committee is especially interested in qualified candidates who can contribute, through their research, teaching, and / or service, to the diversity and excellence of the academic community.”
• Expansion of sources: Expanded recruitment sources also produce diverse applicant pools. Active search committees will identify and contact graduate programs with high numbers of women and minority Ph.D. candidates and utilize databases and fellowship directories that identify outstanding and diverse candidates. (A list of potential advertising resources to attract women and minorities has been included in the dossiers given to your Associate Director and Division Administrators; you are strongly encouraged to refer to them).
• Multiple lists: Make multiple lists of candidates, using different criteria for each list. This will remind search committees that many different talents are important to science and candidates will rank differently on each criteria (Georgi, 2000).
• Evaluation Form: Use a candidate evaluation form. Discuss these forms in search committee meetings. Rater accountability has been shown to increase the accuracy and objectivity of ratings (Mero & Motowidlo, 1995).
• Group Discussion: Encourage a discussion format that requires contributions from all members. Asking each member of the committee to comment on a candidate ensures that a vocal minority does not dominate the discussion. This format also provides an incentive for everyone to “do their homework.”
• Eliminations: Do not eliminate a name from the list for personal reasons (e.g., dual-career needs) until you have actively tried to recruit the candidate. Often, qualified potential candidates are struck from the list based on assumptions about their personal life.
• Targeted Questions: When asking colleagues at other schools about potential applicants, follow-up with a second question of “do you know any good women or minorities?” This often introduces an entirely new set of qualified candidates.
Babcock, L. and Laschever, S. (2003). Women Don't Ask. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Bertrand, M. and S. Mullainathan. (2002). Are Emily and Brendan more employable than Lakisha and Jamal?: A field experiment on labor market discrimination. Available online at: https://gsb.uchicago.edu/pdf/bertrand.pdf .
Biernat, M., Manis, M. and Nelson, T. (1991). Stereotypes and Standards of Judgment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 60, 485-499.
Brouns, M. (2000). The gendered nature of assessment procedures in scientific research funding: The dutch case.” Higher Education in Europe, 25, (2), 193-199.
Davies, P.G., Spencer, S.J., and Steele, C.M. (2005). Clearing the air: Identity safety moderates the effects of stereotype threat on women’s leadership aspirations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88, 276-287.
Deaux, K. and Emswiller, T. (1974). Explanations for successful performance on sex-linked tasks: What is skill for the male is luck for the female. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 29, 80-85.
Dovidio, J.F. and Gaertner, S.L. (2000). Aversive racism in selection decisions: 1989 and 1999. Psychological Science, 11, 315-319.
Freedman, S.M. & Phillips, J.S. (1988). The changing nature of research on women at work. Journal of Management, 14, 231-251.
Georgi, H. (2000). Is there an unconscious discrimination against women in science? APS News, January 2000, available https://schwinger.harvard.edu/~georgi/women/backpage.htm.
Goldin, C., and Rouse, C. (2000). Orchestrating impartiality: The impact of ‘blind’ auditions on female musicians.” American Economic Review 90, (4), 715-741.
Heilman, M. E. (1980). The impact of situational factors on personnel decisions concerning women: Varying the sex composition of the applicant pool. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 26, 286-295.
Major, B. (1994). From social inequality to personal entitlement: The role of social comparisons, legitimacy appraisals, and group memberships. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 26, 293–355.
Martell, R. F. (1991). Sex bias at work: The affects of attentional and memory demands on performance ratings for men and women. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 21, 1936-1960.
Mero, N. P. and Motowidlo, S. J. (1995). Effects of rater accountability on the accuracy and the favorability of performance ratings. Journal of Applied Psychology, 80, 517-524.
RAND Corporation. (2005). Gender differences in major federal external grant programs. Available online at: https://www.rand.org/publications/TR/TR307/index.html
Sackett, P. R., DuBois, C. L., Cathy, L., & Noe, A. W. (1991). Tokenism in performance evaluation: The effects of work group representation on male-female and white-black differences in performance ratings. Journal of Applied Psychology, 76, 263-267.
Steinpreis, R.E., Anders, K.A., and Ritzke, D. (1999). The impact of gender on the review of the curricula vitae of job applicants, Sex Roles, 41, 509-528.
Toumanoff, Peter. (2005). The effect of gender on salary-at-hire in the academic labor market. Economics of Education Review, 24, (2), 179-188.
Trix, F. and Psenka, C. (2003). Exploring the color of glass: letters of recommendation for female and male medical faculty. Discourse & Society, 14, 191-220.
Valian, V. (1998). Why So Slow? The Advancement of Women. Boston, MA: MIT Press.
Valian, V. (2005). Sex Disparities in Advancement and Income. Available online at: https://www.hunter.cuny.edu/genderequity/equityMaterials/numbers.pdf
Wenneras, C. and Wold, A. (1997). Nepotism and sexism in peer review. Nature, 387, 341-343.
search and recruitment expense policy
The purpose of these guidelines is to assist Arts and Sciences departments in maintaining reasonable control over the expenses associated with faculty search and recruitment efforts.
The department conducting the search is expected to follow Columbia University policies and procedures on travel (e.g., economy travel, maximum thresholds for meal spending, etc.) and to conduct each search in a cost effective manner. Since Columbia University’s faculty search process is international in scope, special needs may arise in travel and accommodations, and unforeseen circumstances may increase individual search costs. All requests for exceptions to this policy must be made to Ellen Binder. The department, at its discretion, may opt to cover costs not granted an exception.
This search and recruitment expense process is divided into 3 parts:
II.Recruitment of chosen candidate once offer is made
III.Post-recruitment – after offer is accepted
1. Searches must be authorized by Arts and Sciences.
2. Arts and Sciences will cover the cost of advertising in no more than two issues of no more than two publications.
3. Arts and Sciences will reimburse for up to two candidates invited for a lecturer search; three or four candidates invited for each junior search, and five candidates invited for each senior search.
4. For each search, the host department will be permitted a baseline budget of $750 per candidate visiting Columbia University to cover meals, lodging, and all other expenses beyond the cost of transportation, as well as departmental expenses associated with the search. Travel expenses will be covered according to Columbia University travel policy.
5. Search dinners:
a. One dinner per candidate.
b. Maximum of six faculty, in addition to the candidate.
c. Maximum of $75 per person, excluding tip and tax.
6. For departments that conduct initial interviews at annual conferences, up to two members of the search committee can be reimbursed for the cost of conference fees, economy transportation, hotel rooms at the conference rates, and meals at the rate of $25 for breakfast, $35 for lunch, and $50 for dinner.
Under certain circumstances, Arts and Sciences will entertain the costs of an additional visit by a candidate ONCE AN OFFER HAS BEEN MADE. Contact Ellen Binder should you require recruitment funds.
Post-recruitment begins after the offer has been accepted.
1. Travel for one trip to look for housing for the candidate and a spouse or partner will be reimbursed, with a baseline budget of $750 (up to $1,000 with a spouse or partner).
2. Please make sure to let the candidate know that travel expenses reimbursed after the candidate has accepted Columbia’s offer are treated as taxable income.
PROCESS FOR SEARCH EXPENSE RECONCILIATION:
Departments can directly charge the search expenses that are to be covered by Arts and Sciences on our department support project, UR008113. The initiative should be 41549 (A&S Faculty Recruitment). Audrey Rosenblatt will create a segment for each search once it has been authorized by A&S and will let the department know the appropriate segment to use for expenses.
At the end of the fiscal year, the ADA or Business Manager of the department must fill out the search expense description spreadsheet for each search, which the Arts and Sciences will provide. This spreadsheet must be submitted to Audrey Rosenblatt by the announced deadline for that year.
Prior approval must be received from Audrey Rosenblatt for any extensions beyond the announced deadline; late requests without an approved extension will not be processed.
After reviewing the expenses, if there are expenses that will not be covered by the Arts and Sciences, the department will be informed that they must move those expenses off of the Arts and Sciences project.
Offer Letter Templates
Guidelines for Preparing Academic PAFs and Nomination Forms