III. Recruiting and Appointment of New Faculty

Appointments to the Rhodes Faculty are made by the Board of Trustees on the recommendation of the President of the College. Responsibility for the formulation of recommendations in these matters is delegated to the Faculty as described in the College By-laws, Article VII, Section 1 and Article VIII, Section 2. Appointments to the Faculty are made to those persons who are expected to combine intellectual excellence with a strong commitment to the liberal arts and to Rhodes’ mission.

The allocation of all full-time Faculty positions among the various departments shall be made by the President after receipt of a recommendation from the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Vice President for Academic Affairs′s recommendations are formulated in consultation with the Faculty Governance Committee, and, with departmental chairs. The recommendations will define the educational qualifications and experience required of candidates for the position, the rank(s) at which the appointment can be made, the anticipated teaching responsibilities, and the approximate level of remuneration.

A. The Search Committee. The search is normally carried out by a search committee. The Vice President for Academic Affairs appoints search committees after consultation with the chair of the department where the appointment is expected to be made.

B. The Search Process. The appointment of excellent candidates to on-going Faculty positions requires that the search be carried out in a timely way with special efforts made to attract a large, well-qualified pool of applicants representing as great a diversity in its composition as possible in support of the recruitment and hiring goals for the College. Announcements describing the position should be written to attract the broadest possible group of applicants whose preparation is consistent with the requirements of the position. When doubts exist about the adequacy of the applicant pool or the excellence of the best candidates, the search will be reopened or continued in the next academic year.

In conducting the search, the following steps will normally be followed:

  1. The position will be announced in appropriate disciplinary publications with broad national circulation.
  2. Clear expectations about the adequacy of the applicant pool should be defined before the search begins. If the pool is inadequate, the search will be re-opened or continued before narrowing down the pool.
  3. Those responsible for the search process must be certain that the search meets the College’s definitions of equal opportunity employment.
  4. Promising candidates will be interviewed at national meetings when possible.
  5. Normally three candidates are invited to visit the campus.
  6. Campus visits will include interviews with department members, students (preferably majors) and appropriate administrators. 
    The candidate will make a public presentation open to any Faculty member or student. When possible the candidate should also make a classroom presentation.
  7. Following consultation with those who interviewed the candidates, the Chair of the Search Committee will make the Committee’s recommendations to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  8. The Office of Academic Affairs monitors the recruitment process to ensure that diversity goals for the College are maintained.

C. Faculty Appointments. New officers of instruction holding an earned doctorate will be appointed to the rank of assistant professor unless prior teaching experience and scholarly production justify appointment at a higher level. Confirmation of all new Faculty members’ credentials will be obtained in writing by the Office of Academic Affairs before the beginning of the new Faculty member’s appointment. New officers of instruction who do not hold the doctorate will normally be appointed to the rank, instructor. Promotion to assistant professor is made immediately upon completion of the appropriate terminal degree.

In certain disciplines a terminal degree other than the doctorate is considered appropriate for appointment to a professorial rank. In rare cases, other kinds of professional certification or outstanding accomplishments may provide the rationale for professorial rank.

New full-time appointments to the Faculty are designated tenure track or nontenure track and are given term or probationary contracts as described in Section “IV. Faculty Contracts.” On rare occasions a new appointment of an experienced Faculty member can be made with tenure if approved by the Board of Trustees.

Part-time appointments to the Faculty are always made on term contract and cannot lead to tenure.

Named Chairs: In departments in which special funds provide for named chairs, additional recognition of distinguished professional accomplishment may be given by naming officers of instruction to such chairs. The President, with advice from the Vice President for Academic Affairs, will designate Faculty members to occupy named chairs.

Emeritus/Emerita Professor: The rank emeritus or emerita professor may be granted to Faculty at or after retirement by the President in order to recognize years of distinguished service. A member of the Faculty may, upon retirement from the College, be designated as an emeritus/emerita member of the Rhodes College community if the following criteria are met:

  1. The person must have served the College as a full-time member of the Faculty for at least ten consecutive academic years.
  2. The person must be honorably retired at the College.
  3. The person must be eligible to draw retirement benefits as defined by applicable federal and local (e.g. college) regulations.
  4. The person must be recommended to the Faculty Governance Committee, by the Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the President of the College as a member, emeritus or emerita, of the Rhodes College community. If the Faculty Governance Committee approves the recommendation, the recommendation is then forwarded to the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees. If the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees approves the recommendation, then the President is authorized to announce the designation.

The person will be listed in the official record of the College – The Rhodes College Catalogue – by name, title of appointment with the emeritus/emerita designation, the date of the designation, and the appropriate academic credentials. This listing will continue as an official part of the College’s record as long as the person lives.

Certain Faculty appointments may be designated visiting, adjunct, distinguished, or distinguished service as appropriate. In each case the appointment is made on a term contract:

  • Visiting — a full-time but temporary appointment of an academic officer who plans to return to a position elsewhere.
  • Adjunct — usually a part-time appointment of a professional who is maintaining another professional career while teaching at Rhodes. There is no expectation of tenure.
  • Distinguished — usually applied to a particularly accomplished senior visiting professor.
  • Distinguished Service — a non-tenure track appointment usually made in recognition of long service and outstanding accomplishments.

Distinguished Service: In exceptional cases, full-time, non-tenure-track members of the Rhodes Faculty are eligible to be nominated to assume the title of Distinguished Service Professor provided they have served with unusual distinction at Rhodes and/or elsewhere for at least fifteen years and have achieved widespread recognition in their designated area(s) of service. The title of Distinguished Service Professor is unique within the system of faculty positions at Rhodes, lying outside the sequence of promotions available to both tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty. It is intended to recognize extraordinary work to advance the mission of Rhodes College, or work done during extended service at another institution of learning, or in a career outside of education which has prepared the holder in a unique way to join a Department or Program at Rhodes. The conferring of this title would recognize achievement outside of or well beyond the standard of Excellence in the area of Service to the College which the Handbook describes. Regular Service to the College at that level over the course of fifteen years would typically not qualify faculty for nomination. Rather, the title would honor a nominee who has undertaken a truly extraordinary pattern of activity, at Rhodes or in some other setting. Rhodes faculty who have committed many years to service in an area that extends beyond typical patterns might be recognized with this title for their long-term achievement. Persons joining the Rhodes faculty might be recognized with this title for career achievement in, for example, research, government, the arts, or community service.

Nominations for the title of Distinguished Service Professor should be directed to the Faculty Governance Committee, with a copy to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. In order to be considered, nominees will need a minimum of three letters of support from senior members of the Rhodes faculty, one from a member outside the home department or program, and to submit a portfolio documenting relevant achievements over the course of their career. The Faculty Governance Committee will make a recommendation to the Dean of the Faculty, who will undertake an independent evaluation and confer with the President on the matter before arriving at a decision as to the awarding of title.