University strives to employ ‘best,’ ‘brightest’

Forum Editor and Forum Editor

When some potential faculty members come in to interview for a University position, they may be surprised to see the hiring committees’ newest addition — students.

Starting this fall, students can have the opportunity to submit their names to have direct input over faculty hiring decisions.

“What we want to do is make sure we’re hiring the best and the brightest from across the world,” said Barbara Waddell, director of the Office of Equity and Diversity. “For me, it’s always been really important students have a voice in this process.”

For the past summer and spring semesters, Waddell has worked with Undergraduate Student Government President Alex Solis to compile a list of interested students.

Solis said he posted a message on his personal Facebook and the USG Facebook page about the initiative.

“I went on social media and got students interested,” he said. “We got a great response.”

Those names and majors of students went right to Waddell, who then organized them by major.

“Really, we created a database of students who were interested and we will maintain that database,” Waddell said. “[Hiring committees] can literally access that database and make sure those students are available.”

The hiring committees can access that list and pull in students who they believe will be a good fit.

Students can still contact Solis or Waddell to put their names on the list for consideration.

“I was thrilled to see that database,” Waddell said. “We hope that list will grow and expand.”

Freshman Anna Weilant said she thought the initiative was a good idea.

“You can have input at the beginning when they hire people instead of just filling out evaluations at the end,” she said. “That would make more sense.”

Although she just started at the University, Weilant said so far she thinks the hiring process is going well because the teachers are good.

The hiring process would also be enjoyable for students, she said.

“I think they’ll like getting to choose who will teach their classes,” she said. “They’ll get a better education out of it.”

Students should get involved with this initiative because it provides an unique opportunity for them to influence who will be teaching them, Solis said.

“You’re sitting on the other side of the table for once,” he said. “The bottom line at the end of the day is that you are a student and you have an unique outlook.”

Being on a hiring committee may also help students after graduation.

“The experience you’re gaining for your professional career is second to none,” Solis said. “What a great resume-builder for yourself.”