Saturday, September 13, 2014

Crowdsourcing: Hiring Timelines with Boards of Trustees/Regents/Visitors Approval

As surely all of you know by now, the hiring then unhiring of Steven Salaita at the University of Illinois has highlighted many important issues for higher education. Much of the discussion has, correctly, focused on how we may and may not discuss Israel and fundamental questions about academic freedom and faculty governance.

As the case heads to the courts, I am shifting my attention to an issue on which I think we can all agree: Final approval for a job cannot take place weeks after a professor has started his or her classes.

Whatever you think of Steven Salaita, there is no way that an acceptable system can involve having to quit your job, prepare to travel across the country, start teaching, and then find out a few weeks later whether you're actually hired. Ian Bogost has thought through some of the consequences in his piece on "Academic Paydom," (a play on academic freedom).

Meanwhile, boards are getting more active, as discussed in these two pieces.


I will be spending the next week doing some research on the timing of final reviews of hires at universities. I am going to be calling Midwestern state schools (just to keep the project doable), but I need help with the broader context. Crowdsourcing is notoriously unscientific, but it does provide with a way to get a sense of the scope of these practices.

Can you please, in a comment, in an email, on my public facebook thread, or even on twitter tell me the timing of your final reviews for new hires at your school? I need to get a sense of how common this kind of delayed rubber stamp is.

Thank you.