Thursday, July 29, 2010

Higher ed administration job searches...

So far, I've only done one -- but, I can see some basic things that may help others --

Inside Candidates --
  • Don't assume everyone "KNOWS" you and what you can do. Your search committee will more than likely know of you, but not necessarily know you and all of your strengths -- that's up to you to articulate.
  • When you articulate your strengths, we know you know about them and will draw on them in the future... otherwise, your strong performance so far could be a happy accident.
  • Make sure your materials AND your interview present you in your best light.
  • Prepare for the interview by having specific and achievable areas you could improve.
  • Make sure you come up with at least one question beyond "what's the timeline"?
All Candidates --
  • If the position announcement has a list of specific qualifications and desired qualifications, make sure your materials specifically and clearly address those areas. We won't take time to read into your materials -- trust me, we just won't.
  • Create and project an image of yourself -- are you the serious and thoughtful type? Are you the sort who is able to laugh at just about anything? Have that image in mind when you prepare for the interview.
  • If your degrees are 'academic' then highlight your leadership / professional development concerning higher ed administration.
  • If your terminal degree is in higher ed administration, then highlight your more academic accomplishments.
  • In terms of your job responsibilities -- if you were one of those 'one job, many hats' folks, organize the responsibilities so that they make sense in the context of a semi-manageable job. Otherwise, it seems like you are either unfocused or an extreme job-hopper... neither is something I want in a dean.
  • Acknowledge your areas for growth -- one candidate gave us great and achievable goals that would substantially improve hir effectiveness as a dean. It was attractive because s/he demonstrated that they know they have weaknesses and are willing to work on them.
  • Avoid portraying an us/them mentality toward faculty. Faculty are your team -- without them you'd be working at Borders --- and your students would be roaming the streets in clouds of Axe -- it wouldn't be pretty. Your classrooms would be empty and your FTE would be 0.
  • If you want to work in student services -- apply for those jobs.
  • If this job is a substantial move up for you, be ready to articulate what you think will be the next set of challenges -- and articulate reasons you are ready to tackle them.
  • A sense of humor is nearly as important as good communication skills.
  • Give us examples of working with all the "types" of college folks -- there are four basic "types" -- students, support staff, faculty and administration. It's key that you are able to relate to all of them without trying to be their friend.... (if you are the boss).
  • Have examples of times when you stood your ground on a decision, even when it was unpopular with the folks it impacted -- give the big picture justifications and be ready to explain how the situation worked out.
  • Have examples of times you needed to implement a decision with which you personally disagreed. This is key -- because lower level administration jobs have to do this all the time.
  • Have examples of situations where you needed to help someone improve their performance.

No comments: