Recruiting Faculty for the Long Haul: Job Preview and Purview

Steve Harvey, dean of American University of Beruit's Olayan School of Business, discusses recruiting faculty for long-term employment.


Recruiting Faculty for the Long Haul: Job Preview and Purview

Dan LeClair: [00:15] Given your experience in North America, and given now your experience as it emerges in the Middle East, and in Lebanon. Tell us about some of the similarities and differences.

Steve Harvey: [00:22] Well, I think one of the similarities is the fundamentals of a good institution. The fundamentals of an enterprise of a business school from a business school standpoint are no different.

[00:33] I certainly believe that faculty form the fundamentals of everything in any business school, staff, professional staff. But faculty, in its grandest sense, how we define it at AACSB, is important. That means scholarly practitioners, the instructional practitioners, scholarly academics, all of them, I think they make a difference.

[00:41] How we deploy our faculty is extremely important, and the same across institutions. But what they bring to the institution, I think might vary from one place to another.

[01:04] We have to recruit faculty that are really prepared to embed themselves in the culture and the mission of that institution. When you're recruiting people to teach, and to conduct research, and involve themselves in a school in the Middle East, they have to be committed to that appointment for what it means, for the impact that you're hoping to have in the region.

[01:25] You're going to follow the same fundamental practices of trying to ensure that you have realistic assumptions on both sides, that the candidates have a realistic view of what it really means to be an excellent scholar in the Middle East, in this case in Beirut.

[01:40] But, at the same time, that we have ourselves, a realistic purview of what it means to have a quality candidate within standards that are going to fit within the demands that we place in our region, and not try to create a scenario of excellence that is determined or created by some other institution half way around the world.

[02:02] Fit is certainly important, and you can't simply fix it by changing the person's attitude ones they've arrived.

LeClair: [02:08] I like that. Fit first, in some sense rather than after. I like what you said about the realistic, both job preview, from candidates, but also realistic job purview, if I heard you...How do we define the roles?

Harvey: [02:23] We often try to get the largest pool of applicants we can, and in the process lose sight of what it is that we are trying to do, is what we should have is a very focused pool of candidates, a pool of candidates that is based on realistic job previews, meaning that these people have decided to apply and continue in the application process because they've got a realistic view.

[02:44] We've given them honest perspective on what this institution is about, both the warts and the good things, what's good and what's not so good. If they continue to want to part of our institution and this is something they understand and feel that they can fit we have what we call a realistic job preview.

[03:01] The people who continue to operate with us under those conditions are probably good candidates. When we're honest with people, and we're committed to giving that information, realistic job previews, it might reduce the pool, but I think what we have are better people.

[03:08] Those are one set of expectation. The other set of expectations are the ones that we have of candidates. We can't change the world, we can't change the way people see their futures and how they want to participate in the world.

[03:24] We have to have what I call realistic job purviews. As an institution, we have to realized that not every candidate that graduates from an institution of higher learning with a PhD, or a practitioner that brings an extraordinarily amount of experience, is going to be the type of person that she works for our institution.

[03:41] That we're going to be able to retroactively change their perspective, their sense of fit in an institution simply to get what we consider to be an extraordinary candidate because of their qualifications and not their fit, simply.

[03:55] The purview is getting faculty, and even deans for that matter, to have a little bit more of a realistic view as to who we can attract and who will really be fit into our institution.

Filmed September 2016 on site at the Annual Accreditation Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.