New faculty members selected for next year

In the past four months, USF has hired 114 new faculty members, many of whom are assistant professors. But 60 of them won’t begin work until next fall because they will be replacing retiring faculty members.

Renu Khator, dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, met with many of the new faculty during the interview process.

“The caliber of the new faculty that we have hired is absolutely outstanding and very impressive,” Khator said. “We have hired the faculty that any Research I institution would hire if you take a look at their training, productivity and the institutions they came from. I feel they are going to be the powerhouse that is really going to take us to the next level in our growth and development here at USF.”

Before hiring new faculty members, Khator said each department forms a recruiting committee that consists of faculty who are familiar with the college’s policies and other areas such as the sunshine laws. Khator said she gave detailed instructions about what the university is looking for and how to move forward by selecting faculty for employment. Khator said the most important thing about the recruitment process is the outcome.

“This year we recruited 60 new faculty members and only 12 last year because of the budget cuts,” she said.

Vice Provost Tennyson Wright said the increasing student population was one factor involved in hiring new faculty.

Wright said the faculty would be added to the College of Arts and Sciences, Education and Engineering and six other colleges.

“We are growing from 34,000 to over 40,000 students,” Wright said. “Due to retirement or when a faculty member leaves to pursue a job elsewhere, there is a demand in faculty.”

Wright said every year, a recruitment plan for each college is approved, and new faculty members are hired through the use of a strategic plan determined by the college and academic affairs.

Wright said the dean prepares the strategic plan and consults with all departments to determine their needs. A list of desired positions is then formulated and submitted to the provost. The dean examines the budget for the university and then assesses the available resources.

Wright said he reviews the plan along with Associate Vice President Carol Rolf, Vice Provost Catherine Batsche and Deborah Love, from Equal Opportunity Affairs and Diversity, who all act on behalf of the provost. The recruiting plan, along with the budget, is reviewed, and if it is consistent with the strategic plan, it is approved and possibly amended.

Wright said it is at this point in the plan that the hiring process begins.

“Colleges are authorized to advertise for faculty,” he said. “These individuals are selected, then processed and then approved.”

Kevin O’Brien, professor of internal medicine, said he came to USF because he was offered a chance to become more involved with medical education instruction.

“I’ve been working here for four months, and I enjoy working with medical students and residents,” O’Brien said.

He said the internal clerkship was an outstanding opportunity for him at USF.

“I’m very happy. It’s so organized and computer driven,” he said.

Sometimes, Wright said, an individual is chosen and hired without an advertisement being placed or an interview. This is called a faculty waiver and is used in times of underutilization of minorities and women. The waiver means a search is not necessary, and one person is under consideration for the job. Underutilization is when there are a number of minorities and women in a field that USF is not currently employing, which creates a necessary position.

Wright said underutilization was used during this year’s search and affected the Arts and Sciences, Education, and Engineering colleges.

Excluding the College of Medicine, New College or visiting faculty, 13 Asians, nine Hispanics and four black faculty members were hired this year.

“Underutilization is based on need, which continues the quality of the academic program or causes the quality of the program to grow,” Wright said.

Wright said that, traditionally, it takes at least three months to hire an individual, but it can take just a few weeks from the time of approval to appointment based on the available pool. This process can take even less time if a faculty waiver is used for underutilization and individuals are hired on the spot.

Wright said the overall appeal of the university is what entices new faculty to come to USF.

“People come (to USF) because they want to be part of a growing institution that is still in its formative years,” Wright said.

Wright said many departments on campus have strong and capable academic leadership, and this is a deciding factor for new faculty in determining if this is a good place to work.

“Our faculty is the best and getting better,” Wright said. “Everyone sees growth and opportunity.”

The strategic plan is not the only way to hire new faculty. A second plan called the Faculty Academic Enrichment Program is a way to enhance the strategic goal. The program has a pool of $300,000 used to entice 23 individuals. Only four highly qualified individuals will be selected, Wright said. A search is started, reviewed and individuals are nominated. The nominees are reviewed by faculty and must have the full support of the faculty to be hired. Wright said he hopes the program will be successful in bringing diversity to campus.

“The Faculty Academic Enrichment Program will have a major impact on the faculty ranks and increases the number of minorities and women,” Wright said.

Wright said one of the most exciting parts of the hiring process is that each year USF attracts high quality people.

“It’s something that they choose to not go to other universities but they choose to come to USF,” Wright said. “Many of the individuals had multiple job offers, and that says a lot about USF.”

Wright said many of the candidates are exceptional. “Each year we find that the departments do an excellent job in selecting candidates.”