1. About
  2. Features
  3. Explore

Recently in an interview for a full-time faculty position at the college I work as an adjunct; one of the members was a former student of mine. This student barely passed my class the first time and retook my class a second time to raise his grade. This seemed like a case of conflict of interest. The other adjunct in my dept, who also had this student was advanced to the second level of the interview process. I know this student is not a fan of mine and could have viewed this as a chance to "fail" me. I have spoken to our union rep but their answers are vague. Do I have reasons to take my issues to the next level-HR?

1 Answer 1

Some colleges and universities have students in hiring committees, either as observers, non-voting members, or full members. In the university where I studied, power was shared roughly 40% / 30% / 30% between faculty, staff, and students. Hence it was obvious that there would be student representatives as full voting members in almost every committee.

Individual members of the hiring committee tend to have conflicts of interest with individual applicants, especially because the committee is often selected in advance. When such conflicts occur, the conflicted member should find a way to handle the situation, e.g. by observing the interview instead of actively participating in it.

The situation gets interesting with internal applicants and student representatives, because every potential student representative probably has a conflict of interest. If university regulations state that there must be a student representative, then the student repersentative may have to participate in decisionmaking regardless of conflicts of interest. The relevant principle here is that if every potential representative has a conflict of interest, then no one has.