The Campus Visit

The campus visit by potential candidates (and their families/partners) can be a crucial aspect in their decision to join the faculty at the University of Toronto.  The Academic Administrative Procedures Manual provides a useful summary of the experiences of chairs and candidates at the University and the material that follows should be seen to complement and enhance that material (http://www.provost.utoronto.ca/procedures/search.htm#sec2.9bot).

Clearly the actual format for the candidates’ visit will vary depending on the needs of both the candidate and the department/search committee.  Some recommendations of best practice from across North America might be useful:-

  • Appoint an administrative staff member to co-ordinate the visit and make all travel and accommodation arrangements.  Have the staff member communicate directly with the candidate once the initial invitation has been made and ensure that all special needs or accommodations are respected.
  • Itineraries providing full details of travel, accommodation, scheduled meetings, presentations and organised entertainment should be provided to candidates well in advance of their arrival at the University.
  • Set up a time for the candidate (and family/partner) to visit the Family Care Office by contacting Kaye Francis or Magdalena Rydzy on 416 978 0951 or at family.care@utoronto.ca.
  • If you have not already done so, send a copy of the Family Care Office’s faculty recruitment kit.  These are available by emailing faculty.support@utoronto.ca and can be tailored by the department to include supplemental materials.
  • Candidates should be encouraged to explore the websites for new faculty listed at www.faculty.utoronto.ca.  Links are available here to the Family Care Office, Faculty Relocation Service, Faculty Housing, Office of Teaching Advancement and many other services and resources designed for (potential) faculty members.
  • The University of Washington appoints an ‘ambassador’ who acts as the host for the candidates throughout their campus visit.  This ‘ambassador’ should meet the candidate at the airport and introduce them to the city.  They may also consider entertaining the candidate and other colleagues at their home.  The ‘ambassador’ or host may also be able to determine some of the issues that might be involved for individual candidates and suggest possible excursions that would answer questions (e.g. about the safety of the city, the city’s diversity, the resources available at the University library, the recreation/athletic facilities).
  • If the candidate you have invited represents gender, sexual, racial or cultural diversity you may want to match them with an ‘ambassador’ or ‘host’ with a similar background.  It is important that they have the opportunity to speak to someone who has encountered similar experiences without necessarily needing to discuss this with the Search Committee.
  • The University has a number of very attractive provisions within its benefit plans that are an important resource when trying to recruit candidates.  Be sure that all candidates (regardless of sex, sexual orientation, race or culture) are aware that the University provides coverage for same sex partners under its benefits plans (this also highlights the University’s proactive stance regarding equity and diversity), offers generous maternity, paternal and adoption leave and excellent health insurance coverage.

Scheduling the Candidate’s Visit

A detailed outline of a sample itinerary is available. 

Some suggestions for tailoring the visit are suggested below:-

  • You may want to consider putting the candidates’ seminar or presentation early in the day so that this can be a topic of conversation during other meetings.
  • It is important to schedule in breaks so that the candidate has time for seeing the campus, preparing themselves for their meetings or presentations and getting a sense of the local community.
  • Suggested meetings include:-
    • Dean/Chair
    • Associate Chairs
    • Search Committee/Interview Committee
    • Individual faculty members
    • Graduate Students
    • Relevant research groups
    • Faculty/departmental HR specialist
    • Family Care Office/Faculty Relocation Service
    • Library resource person
  • Suggested events include:-
    • Campus tour
    • Tour of Hart House, Athletic Centre and Faculty Club
    • Meal at the Faculty Club
    • Meal at local restaurants
  • If a candidate is travelling with their family or partner you may also want to consider arranging the following events or meetings for them:-
    • If partner is academic you may want to have them meet with another academic partner of a faculty member who has been involved in spousal employment.
    • Non-academic partners may want to meet with the Dual Career Connection representative.
    • Non-academic partners may also want to meet with a partner of a faculty member.
    • Meeting with the Family Care Office regarding the area’s amenities, cultural opportunities, schools, housing, job opportunities and more.
    • Provide tickets or passes to an event on campus (e.g. play at Hart House).

Assistance in setting up these meetings can be provided by the Family Care Office (kaye.francis@utoronto.ca, 416 946 3899) or the Director, Faculty Renewal (sarajane.finlay@utoronto.ca; 416 978 1855).

Promptly process and pay all expenses incurred by the candidate!