Faculty appointments should strengthen key interdisciplinary programs as well as meeting departmental needs. Going forward, we will require interdisciplinary program representation on every tenure-track faculty search committee.
Trinity University has revised its hiring guidelines, a change meant to help create productive collisions. The revisions began about three years ago with the hiring of Deneese Jones, vice president of Academic Affairs. The new guidelines are meant to “help to include the interdisciplinary focus into hiring” according to Lisa Jasinski, special assistant to the vice president of Academic Affairs.
These new guidelines are meant to increase Trinity’s unique ability to mix liberal arts and professional programs. The University wants its faculty to reflect the interdisciplinary focus of its students, so the administration is looking to hire “unicorns”, or educators who both excel in their fields and are interested engaging with students and other faculty through interdisciplinary programs. “We want to make sure we are hiring citizens of the community,” notes Jasinski.
The new guidelines foster improved hiring practices by harmonizing job postings across departments. For example,all postings must mention that the candidate is expected to participate in either First-Year Experience, experiential learning, or study abroad programs. Additionally, each search committee must include at least one professor from a different department in order to achieve a higher level of institutional cohesiveness.
“We’ve built shared awareness around the institution’s larger goals,” says Jasinski. “The guidelines look for ways that department goals and university goals can both be achieved. They ensure that a variety of perspectives are used in the faculty search process.”
“The idea is that people being in their own lane doesn't help us solve the hard problems that we would be looking to solve,” explains Jasinski. By encouraging an interdisciplinary focus, these guidelines aim to solve these hard problems.