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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Should Faculty Decisions Include Mandatory Cooling Off Periods?

The other day I heard about a very interesting practice. A faculty will have a discussion about a candidate for a job, and then not open voting up on that candidate until two weeks have passed. The same thing goes for promotion and tenure decisions. 

The benefits: concerns raised at the meeting about scholarship can then be checked out by people who want to follow up. It also makes sure people don't vote in a hot emotive state, which sometimes occurs in controversial cases.

The cons: marginally slows down a school's ability to make offers, or waves of offers, and creates more opportunities for back-room lobbying or coalition-building, although it's not obvious why that's a bad thing. In the context of the p/t decisions, it might also create 2 weeks of total awkwardness for some people too. 

What do y'all think? Better suggestions to facilitate deliberation or other goals re: hiring and p/t?

Posted by Administrators on May 10, 2012 at 10:24 AM in Life of Law Schools | Permalink


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We have a two meeting rule and we don't have a firm rule about spacing, but we would lose the value of the two meetings if they were too close together. It does mean in close cases that we have the time to deliberate and discuss outside of the meeting before coming back for the second meeting.

Posted by: Randy Picker | May 10, 2012 11:15:37 AM

We have a two-meeting rule as well. I was skeptical at first but have come to believe that the benefits of deliberation are real and significant, and they outweigh any costs in nimbleness or in the occasional boring second meeting.

Posted by: Sam Bagenstos | May 10, 2012 11:28:59 AM

I like the the idea of a two-meeting rule, as I think it would discourage some of the questionable methods that can be used to sink candidates at the last minute.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | May 10, 2012 2:10:23 PM

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