A different classroom location, new lesson plan and an unfamiliar face were a part of last Tuesday’s 11 a.m. Creative Writing: Fiction class. The reason: Students were assisting in the hiring process at PLNU.
Rick Hill, the class’s regular writing professor, said this teaching opportunity shows if the hire is ready for her own classroom, and if she is a good fit for the Literature, Journalism and Modern Languages Department (LJML).
“If the prospective individual is hired, she is going to be teaching in the writing department, so she will be teaching writing classes,” Hill said. “So we were looking for a writing class she could teach, and it really came down to what writing class could she teach in the schedule that we had.”
LJML was hiring to replace Michael Clark, the previous writing professor who left to go to Azusa Pacific University at the end of last year.
“We are searching for a professor to replace him,” said Karl Martin, chair of the department. “We need the position to keep the writing program fully staffed. Without a replacement, we would have to hire part-time professors to teach classes for our writing majors.”
The potential applicant discussed her process of possible employment to PLNU, and discussed some of the requirements of the position and the extent of the application process. Because the applicant is still within the hiring process, PLNU requires that she remain anonymous.
“The job was posted last fall in October, which is pretty normal for faculty positions in English,” she said to The Point. “I sent in my materials, which are huge – they expect a lot of things – the CV, a creative and a critical writing sample, transcripts and teaching evaluations. So I sent off my whole packet, then I had a phone interview with them in December, and then I got a call in January to schedule the campus visit.”
This process is the similar for all professors looking to teach at PLNU.
Paul Schmelzenbach, the department chair of physics and engineering, explained via email the typical run down of the hiring process at PLNU.
“An advertisement is usually published in a few national publications, and on job boards both within PLNU and places like the CCCU [Council for Christian Colleges and Universities],” Schmelzenbach said. “Someone looking for a position would most likely find out about a job through these means, or sometimes through word of mouth such as through a conference.”
Materials needed in the application for PLNU consist of a CV (a resume for academics) and responses to essay prompts depending on the position.
“Then the pool is narrowed to a number of individuals who would be part of a phone interview,” Schmelzenbach said via email. “After a series of phone interviews, the pool is narrowed to usually two individuals who will be brought into PLNU where they will be interviewed in person (both by the department as well as several individuals in the administration).”
Kerry Fulcher, provost and chief academic officer, said PLNU appropriates funds for prospective individuals traveling from a farther distance.
“We cover all expenses for faculty candidates and their spouse if we invite them to campus for an interview,” said Fulcher via email.
When applying for the position, the prospective candidates must submit a commitment to the mission of PLNU with a personal statement of faith and commitment to teaching at a Christian University. They must also provide academic qualifications, demonstrate their ability to instruct in the class teaching session and show proof of “other professional or extracurricular experiences” as stated in the job posting for the LJML position.
Any other requirements would pertain to the specific job listing and could be found on the advertisement page.
“Finally if all goes well, there would be an offer extended to a candidate and some time given for them to decide if they would like to accept the offer,” said Schmelzenbach.
Each year PLNU attempts to fill available spots in the teaching departments as timely and efficiently as possible.
“Last year we hired six faculty members, after having the same amount either retire or take jobs elsewhere. This year PLNU is searching to fill six more faculty positions for Fall 2015,” said Fulcher via email.
Hill emphasized the principal desires that PLNU has when looking for members to join the teaching community.
“Point Loma is very conscientious in how they hire; they don’t do it quickly,” Hill said. “They are looking to hire people that are a good fit and are going for a long career. It is very thorough.”
The process recognizes qualified individuals who meet the religious and academic standards at PLNU.
Disclosure: Cori Deason is a student in the creative writing class that brought in the potential professor.