By WINSTON TAYLOR
The search for a new professor of political science began with the announcement Joanne Mosser gave last year, that for family reasons she would be leaving the university. With an upcoming slot in the faculty, the department entrusted Rachel Paine Caufield, Ph.D. and associate professor of politics, with the task of finding a suitable replacement. There is a process the political science department follows to fill a position.
“In our department, we constitute a search committee first,” Caufield said.
According to Caufield, the committee is made up of mostly American politics professors, but it also includes one student member and a member of the faculty from outside of the politics department. This is designed to allow not only the student body more of a role in finding a desirable candidate, but it also keeps the university at large engaged in this hiring. The student member was chosen from the political science department, and their name has not yet been released.
With a search committee in place, the next step taken will be accepting applicants from across the country. Dennis J. Goldford, Ph.D. and chair of the politics department, knows this process all too well, having been the chair during the previous search for a new professor.
“We had something like 103 [candidates] apply,” Goldford said, explaining the process he went through two years ago in the search that eventually chose Professor Wolf.
However, while many candidates applied, not all of them were right for the job. “Sometimes people will apply … we screen out ones obviously not suited, given what they say what their background or training is,” Goldford said.
With those unsuited for the job weeded out, the search narrows.
“We go through [the applicants], and we try to come up with a top ten,” Goldford said. “From there we do a series of phone interviews and narrow our search to a group of two or three for on-campus interviews.”
The best candidate that the committee decided upon from those interviews, in this case, Professor Wolf, was then hired.
Gregory Wolf, Ph.D. and associate professor of politics at Drake, went through the exact process when applying to teach at Drake.
“On the academic job market, we basically just apply everywhere,” Wolf said. “There are quite a few jobs for quite a lot of candidates.”
Competition is fierce, and opportunities are scarce.
“I think I’ve applied to upwards of 80 jobs,” Wolf said. “And maybe you get a handful of interviews, of phone interviews, and sometimes you don’t hear anything at all. So, it’s a terrible experience being on the job market.”
The search should be concluded this spring, with the new professor in place by the fall semester of 2019.