Carnegie Mellon University

Forming the Search Committee

1. Some principles for forming effective search committees include:

  • Considering both junior and senior faculty and sub-disciplines within the Department can help support diverse perspectives.
  • Including members with diverse backgrounds and viewpoints who value diversity.
  • Involving a search committee member from outside the department, aside from the benefit of their specific research expertise, (1) facilitates questioning of disciplinary or departmental traditions that may serve as barriers to open searches and (2) expands the network of colleagues who may recommend a diverse group of potential applicants.

2. A short email from the Department Head when the committee is finalized can stress the importance of their service and direct them to the link about becoming familiar with implicit bias and ways to reduce its effects on evaluations throughout the search process. Department Heads can provide additional emphasis according to the diversity needs of their programs.

3. All members of a search committee are advocates for an open and equitable search process. In particular, the committee, as individuals and as a whole, is responsible for:

  • making evaluations that are free of bias or stereotyping of applicants in verbal or written communication,
  • ensuring that candidates are evaluated fairly,
  • developing a campus visit that provides similar opportunities for each candidate,
  • following interview procedures which treat all applicants consistently.