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Faculty Search Committees

The excellence of our faculty is critical to Northwestern University’s position as a leading research and teaching university. The University appoints the strongest possible candidates to its faculty, individuals who show outstanding potential or accomplishment in scholarship and meet similarly high standards in their teaching. We are committed to increasing the diversity of our faculty—success in this requires concerted, well-planned action on the part of search committees, department chairs, deans, and the institution at large.

In addition to providing information on faculty hiring procedures, these resources are designed to assist committees in conducting searches that are both effective and inclusive. Search committees should also contact their school dean's office for school-specific policies and resources related to faculty hiring.

Faculty Search Guidelines

It is essential and expected that search committees conduct faculty searches in accordance with the Faculty Search Guidelines when filling any full-time faculty position. “Full-time faculty” includes all tenure-line faculty, clinical faculty, instructional faculty, librarian faculty, lecturers, and faculty-in-residence, if the faculty member’s appointment is for two academic years or longer.

The Provost may approve an exception to these requirements in special cases, such as when a department or school has identified without a search a truly exceptional candidate who would greatly enhance its faculty, including by bringing additional diversity.

Best Practices for Faculty Searches

These pages on best practices provide guidance and best practices for the following aspects of a search. Tips sheets on best practices for Broadening the Pool and Reviewing Candidates from Application to Interview are also available for printing.

  1. Pre-Search Process - Guidelines for forming a search committee, developing a position description, and other institutional pre-search procedures, including designation of the Equity Representative.
    • This page also includes a link to the WISELI Searching for Excellence & Diversity® Guide, an excellent guide for faculty search committees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Women in Science & Engineering Leadership Institute (WISELI). 
  2. Outreach and Advertising - An effective search is a proactive search in which the committee uses creative approaches to seek out potential candidates. This page outlines best practices for conducting a proactive search, provides links to online resources committees can utilize to search for diverse candidates, and lists advertising venues for faculty recruitment. 
  3. Search and Review ProcessBest practices for establishing effective search and review processes.
  4. The InterviewBest practices for arranging campus visits, providing a welcoming and supportive atmosphere for candidates, and interviewing.
  5. The Offer Best practices for making offers and communicating with candidates. 
  6. Documenting the Search - Guidelines for assembling and retaining records of faculty searches.  

Resources on Unconscious Bias

This page includes resources on unconscious bias and strategies for addressing it, including:

See also our tip sheet on research supporting the existence of unconscious bias and its effect on diversity in recruitment, available for printing.

Legal Considerations

This Legal Considerations page includes guidelines for ensuring that faculty searches comply with applicable law and University policy.

Faculty Recruiting System

The Faculty Recruiting System (FRS) is available to facilitate the collection and review of applicant materials.  More information, and guides to using the system, can be found on the Office of the Provost Faculty Recruiting System page.

The Faculty Recruiting System can be accessed via the following URL:

Other Resources and Forms