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Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Faculty Affairs Office
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For Faculty Search Committees

Faculty search committees are tasked with recruiting exceptional and diverse talent to the faculty.  Review the phases of the recruitment process below and access guidance on how to reach a diverse applicant pool. Please note that Northwestern University now requires that applicants to full-time faculty positions complete an online job application.


The search committee chair is responsible for the search process to identify and select the most qualified candidate to fill a position. The search committee chair ensures that the approved search strategy documented in the pre-search form is carried out.

Every search committee should include a senior faculty member (at the rank of associate professor or professor) formally designated as the equity representative. This individual will ensure that best practices are followed during the search to identify underrepresented minority candidates and that an active, affirmative and equitable search is carried out.

Search Phase

Approval from the Office of the Provost is needed before beginning a search to recruit a full-time faculty member. A department administrator will prepare the following required documents with input from the search committee and coordinate submission to the Dean and Provost for approval:

  • Pre-search Form: This form documents the search committee’s plan for conducting a national search, including efforts to reach a diverse applicant pool. Refer to resources below for guidance in constructing the search plan.
  • Advertisement: The ad will be posted on Northwestern’s careers site after the Provost has approved.

Once a search is approved by the Provost, the advertisement for the position is automatically posted to Northwestern University’s careers site, and the search committee should execute the search strategy documented on the pre-search form in phase 1. All applicants must apply for faculty positions online.  When circulating the job posting to potential applicants, include the application link, which will be different for each search.

A department administrator assisting the search committee with its duties will receive the job applications through Northwestern’s Faculty Recruiting System and distribute the applications to the committee for review.

At the conclusion of the search, the search committee should be prepared to document its search procedures and decisions:

  • Search Summary Report: Document the list of finalists considered for the position and report their disposition codes
  • Search Process Summary using template in Chair's Recommendation for Faculty Appointment: The Department Chair's recommendation to appoint the finalist to the faculty must include a summary of the search process, using the template language provided. There are 4 sections in the search summary--Position Description, Search Strategy, Special Efforts to Identify and Encourage Women/Minority Applicants, and Search Results--each of which should be addressed separately under its corresponding section header.

The Feinberg Dean’s Office must review and approve an offer letter before it is provided to a finalist.  A department administrator will work with the Department Chair and search committee to complete the forms above and additional documentation required for the Dean’s Office to review and approve an offer letter.

Feinberg Resources for Planning a Faculty Search

Strategies for Maximizing Diversity in Faculty Searches: The Faculty Affairs Office has prepared this short document with helpful suggestions on how to attract a diverse and talented pool of applicants for faculty positions. Please review the suggestions and incorporate as many as possible into your searches.

Job Posting Venues for Basic Science Positions

Job Posting Venues for Clinical Positions

Provost’s Resources for Planning a Faculty Search

The Office of the Provost has developed resources that search committees may wish to review.  Please note that not all guidance is directly relevant to the medical school.

  • Faculty Search Guidelines: This document establishes the guidelines that all Northwestern schools should follow in conducting faculty searches, and underpins the specific strategies and guidelines that Feinberg has implemented.
  • Search Phase Guidance: This website offers guidance across different phases of the recruitment process.  
  • Unconscious Bias: Unconscious bias refers to thoughts and feelings that are outside of conscious awareness and control. This page provides links to some online resources, a list of suggested strategies for minimizing bias in faculty recruitment, and a selected list of academic studies and other articles on the topic. 
  • Basic Interview Guidelines: Learn which questions are permissible and which should be avoided during the interview process
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