As you know, the most important decisions in higher education are made by committee. But how much thought typically goes into arranging the administrative process around these decisions in an efficient, long-term way? As a taster, we offer five (often underexamined) examples.

For good reason, the faculty members within an academic institution are the ones who hire, assess, and promote the scholars who ultimately make the institution the hub of knowledge that it is. And those faculty members know how to do it. They’re professionals.

Why, then, does faculty committee work involve so much administrative complication and back-and-forth?

Based on our work with faculty affairs offices, faculty committees, and support staff across the nation, here are five questions we think any faculty administrative office should be asking about the logistics of their recruitment, promotion, and tenure committee work. These are just some prime examples—they’re not the be-all, end-all.

  • How much time are we spending every year just restricting access to documents?
  • Where is our unified record of the communication involved in our committee decisions?
  • How well are we distributing candidate materials to committee membersin a format easy for them to review?
  • How do our staff manage and update detailed lists of applicants and candidates?
  • How much time is our staff spending assisting faculty candidates and committee members?

If you’re involved in any committee decisions around hiring, tenuring, reviewing, or promoting faculty members at your institution, are you confident in your answers to these questions?