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The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student


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Behind the prolonged faculty hiring timeline at Knox

Addison Steinbach
Old Main in the fall from the south lawn

The college’s hiring process is prolonged and complex. Knox tries to maintain a 12 to 1 student-faculty ratio. The college calculates faculty teaching equivalencies (FTE) and divides it by the number of students in a department to determine the number of filled and unfilled positions on campus.

“The academic job cycle is very particular, and it takes a year to hire someone on a tenure track and actually, if you want to start the hiring process in September of 2023, you need to have asked the college in May of 2023 to have that position authorized.” Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs Danielle Fatkin said.

Unexpected faculty position vacancies disrupt this cycle. In the span of two years four faculty members passed away, causing an abrupt pressure on staffing.

The hiring calendar is an obstacle prolonging the faculty recruitment process. Each department has different hiring seasons. Typically, they advertise the open positions in the summer, applicants are shortlisted in fall, and hiring begins in the winter. The hired candidates start working the next fall term.

Self-study and assessment help determine the needs of each department and where it stands. Results are then compared to national trends to define where the department is excelling or lacking.

“That’s what the institution wants to do, to hire the right person for the right job, so that person is going to stay here and serve generations of Knox students.” Fatkin said.

There are ten faculty searches in progress this year. Currently, the economics department is looking to hire three new professors, the computer science department is in search of one new professor, and the psychology, business, art, and journalism departments are also low on faculty.

Consequences of not filling these positions promptly are the lack of consistency in education; existing faculty has to substitute as advisors, courses required for majors not being offered need to be substituted by courses that are offered, and students are left with narrow pathways.

Knox College works on a trimester system and enrolled students often must incorporate faculty availability in planning out their academic advancement. Certain courses are offered during specific terms making academic planning complicated and unreliable.

There is a faculty committee, faculty affairs subcommittee and the executive committee that oversee hiring. The hiring committee consists of three people from the department that is hiring, and one person from outside the department to act as an “informed external pair of eyes” and mediate the process.

“It is very important to the institution that in the hiring process we are trying to make sure that the professors that we ultimately hire and give tenure to reflect the diversity of the student body as well,” said Fatkin.

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About the Contributors
Pareesae Imtiaz
Pareesae Imtiaz, Staff Writer
Addison Steinbach
Addison Steinbach, Staff Photographer
Addison Steinbach '25 (any) is a History major and is the Staff Photographer. They love going around campus and taking moody pictures of the architecture.

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