Recruiting Great Faculty Candidates

Recruiting great hire candidates is both a science and an art.

We cannot compete on salary against most other educational institutions, however we can compete on weather/location and on being a cool place to work with great people, if we choose to be!

Recently, we were very successful in hiring two Marketing candidates that were at the top of our list of over one hundred applicants as well as being from underrepresented groups. Both of those candidates were offered higher salaries, but chose CoBA because of the excellent and persuasive teamwork among diverse members of the recruiting and search team. Both candidates, in their verbal acceptances, identified our outreach as very significant in their decisions.

I’ve outlined three steps that have worked extremely well for me  in large research and development organizations, as well as in high-profile start-ups:

Step One: Finding good candidates – hopefully you already know how to do this.  A normalized and common faculty recruiting plan ins in place but differs slightly depending upon the discipline departments. This plan focuses on early engagement and in-person interviewing at major faculty conferences in the late summer/early autumn of the year before the expected hire.

Step Two: Once good candidates have been interviewed on-campus and selections made, that is when the teamwork jumps into high gear. This is a very important detail missed by most hiring teams at universities.  Aside from the details of the offer (salary, research stipends, health and retirement benefits, etc.), which are discussed between the dean and the search committee, once the verbal offer has been extended the team should:

  • Identify all of the issues that face the candidate. Things like Departmental and College and University strategy, research support, San Diego affordability, housing costs, housing preferences (urban/suburban/rural), school districts and education options for any minors, hobbies, work/life balance, etc. A person from the team most knowledgeable on each issue should be appointed to address the issue with the candidate directly. Bring in outside resources, as needed (e.g. other faculty, staff, real estate agents, mortgage brokers, etc.).
  • Identify at least one faculty member from another college to make a persuasive call to the candidate.
  • Identify at least one student from CoBA to make a persuasive call to the candidate.
  • All members of the team should make persuasive calls to the candidate.
  • The first week is critical, all of the above should be completed in that time frame if possible.

Step Three: Assuming a candidate accepts, I’d like to see two things happen:

  1. A new onboarding program including a “Day One” booklet to welcome a new hire and ease the first days of transition.  The “Day One” booklet is custom tailored for each individual.  The new hire first day should also start with a welcome sign on their office door signed by the entire college faculty and staff.
  2. Assignment of a “CoBA Guide” to pair with each new hire and responsible for easing transitions into the college and University.  The Guide is not a mentor, but rather someone to go to for questions, direction, etc.  Where needed, the faculty Guide should utilize whatever other resources might be needed (e.g. Faculty Center, Office of Graduate Studies and Research, Faculty Affairs, etc.) as well as connect them with others in the University that can be helpful.  The assigned “guide” should meet with the new hire for perhaps one hour/month. That relationship should be confidential in nature, so that the new hire feels they have a person to speak with on any issue.

We used many parts of the steps above in our successful searches. Have more ideas of how to attract and keep new talent?  We will continue to fine-tune for our future hiring efforts.

Week Ending October 24, 2014


  • Following excellent recruiting by Wayne Neu, Glen Brodowsky, and Vassilis Dalakis, the Marketing Department was successful in attracting Rebeca Perren as a tenure-track faculty for Fall 2015.  It was a teamwork success achieved with the post-offer help of Veronica Andover (Modern Language Studies), Regina Eisenbach, Gary Oddou, Provost Oberem, student Amy Bytomski (President of Marketing Society), and many others.
  • Added Saturday morning, 10 am:  This morning Kristin Stewart accepted our offer as a tenure-track faculty for Fall 2015.  Rebeca and Kristin were the search committee’s two top choices out of 113 candidates.  More teamwork, this time adding Sharon Elise (Sociology).
  • And we have four more potential hires in the works!
  • Sharing classroom frustrations with fellow faculty always yields new ideas for me to try in my classes.  I took the opportunity in our many one-on-ones this week to learn new methods.  As a strong user of technology in the classroom, I was very impressed with Syed Zaidi’s use of technology in his Cost Accounting class.  Ask him about his use of Camtasia, Facebook, the native iOS app he has developed for the class, etc.  Or get a tour of Alan Styles Cougar Courses techniques!


  • The more faculty and community members I meet with, the greater the opportunities I see.  As discussed briefly during Friday’s All College Meeting, there are many sponsored research opportunities upon which to capitalize.  These take time, but pay rewards financially as well as elevate the College’s visibility and reputation in the region.
  • In that same meeting, I also spoke about the need to improve our professional behavior and civility across the College.  I have and will continue to set an expectation, but it will take all of you holding each other accountable – I need your help.  This article provides some good principles that you may find helpful.
  • In that same discussion, Raj Pillai suggested having an All CoBA Get Together/Holiday Party.  If you have not already done so, please help us by completing the poll “All CoBA Get Together” to help us decide upon invitees, preferred day, and time of year.

Immediate plans:
I will be out of the office this coming Tuesday through Friday (10/28-31 with limited email, but no cell service).

Alumnus Highlight:
Bryan Mason is a 2012 graduate in Management Information Systems from CoBA.  Bryan attributes much of his business success to Professors Antoniou, Hickman, and Leu.  Born into extreme poverty and a difficult family situation, Bryan has succeeded in multiple businesses through sheer determination and an incredible 7 x 12 work ethic.  Bryan simultaneously runs an online Amazon business, a beeswax company he developed while working as a bee exterminator, and is in his 3rd generation of solar consulting and sales directing a sales team of 25 people.  During his most difficult semester at CSUSM, he took and completed 19 units while simultaneously working full time and completing an internship at Northwestern Mutual.  Bryan also invests his time in economic empowerment through several community organizations, including Boys and Girls Club of America.  Bryan is planning for the development and start of his own solar company.
Remember that name and this face: Bryan Mason.


Week Ending October 17, 2014

Progress on my understanding:
So reading the percentage of one-on-ones completed is getting pretty boring, so here is the chart from the All Hands Meeting today on how I spend my time:

And below is a chart that represents my current and non-rigorous understanding of the focus of the college in terms of our vision statement, based on the one-on-ones completed to date:



  • Recent positive write-up in the San Diego Business Journal (10/13/14) on our accelerated one year MBA Program including interview with Mohammad Oskoorouchi.
  • Ice cream seemed to be enjoyed at our first All College Meeting. 🙂

Immediate plans:

  • Looking for sponsored research opportunities.  I have one with SDBJ that involves publishing a regional report (business forecast, confidence, etc.).  Let me know if interested.  And, if you haven’t read last week’s blog entry about multidisciplinary teams, now would be a good time to do so.
  • Ditto for a regional economic report to the community in conjunction with a sponsor and regional economic reporting firm.
  • Other ideas based on your research?  Drop me a note!
  • Looking for outstanding alumni candidates that we might feature in a “25 Alums for the 25th Anniversary” for CoBA.  If you keep in touch with some of our outstanding graduates, please let me or Carrie Smith know (e.g. name, contact email, very briefly what they are currently doing).  if you don’t you’ll have to live with my list.
  • Another 15 one-on-ones next week.  I will finish these, eventually.

Alumnus Highlight:

Chris Placencia is a 2012 graduate in marketing from CoBA.  He is the founder and CEO of Jason Paul Marketing, a fast growing company in downtown San Diego that does website design and optimization, SEO, and social media marketing for medium sized firms.  He is also founder of WordPress 2 Success, the Dapper Press and City Restaurant Websites along with Co-Founding LockBox Code, SB Nightlife and 400 Media Group. Chris had planned to “go corporate” upon graduation, but credits both Ron Gerevas and other faculty for encouraging him to follow his entrepreneurial passion.  His company is named after a very close friend, Jason Paul Huerta, who died from leukemia at the age of 15.
Chris was named last year as Top 40 Under 40 by San Diego Metro Magazine.  This award is given to candidates that demonstrate both business success and strong civic engagement.  He is a member of Red Bird Foundation’s board of directors that raises scholarship funding for kids wishing to attend Bishop Garcia Diego High School in his hometown of Santa Barbara.  Chris is also the Outreach and Communication Chair of SDAR’s Young Professionals Network.

Remember that name and this face: Chris Placencia.

On Working on Multidisciplinary Teams

Most of us prefer to work (and play) with people like ourselves.  People with similar interests, similar backgrounds.

I worked on my first interdisciplinary team in 1975 at Xerox Corporation with artists (Ansel Adams), cognitive psychologists (Roger Dooley, Bob Springer, Chuck Dvorak), digital typographers (Michael Liebowitz), and physicists (Marty Maltz) among others. We worked within the Xerox’ Corporate Research Group, the place to be in the 70’s. Our objectives were to understand the physical and psychological aspects of images that would enable Xerox to build world-class consumer imaging systems of all types (paper, displays, digital scanners, digital copiers, digital printers,etc.).  We had a very diverse team.

Ansel Adams (yes, the famous photographer) was my source of ultra-high resolution camera film.  He was one of very few that shot mostly 8 x 10 negatives, which is what I needed, and an artist in capturing light.  He is the author of my most treasured book, “Yosemite and the Range of Light“.  Ansel knew very little about digital printing or ultra high resolution other than film, and he was curious.  Regrettably, our research eventually had to switch to other artists, as New York Graphic Society owned all of the works of Ansel and we could not publish the use of his art in our refereed publications.  I still recall receiving his first negative in the mail, alarmed that it had been insured for $50,000.  My oldest grandson’s middle name is Ansel.
Left-to-right below: Ansel Adams, Luke Ansel Hamerly, son Dr. Greg Hamerly
ansel luke
Roger and Bob understood and introduced me to the concepts of multidimensional scaling.  And with Chuck, the very significant details of the difference between lightness, whiteness, and brightness.  Also the differences between darkness and blackness. We had world class imaging and measurement research equipment that we had built.  Ansel understood those very dimensions clearly, but not from a psychophysical point-of-view.

Marty studied and developed models of how light scattered in paper, how photons entered, traveled through the lengthy paper fibers, and where they could be expected to exit to eventually enter the eye of the viewer.  I spanned physics and psychophysics, and led the team.

All of these enabled us to construct concrete models of the visual perception tied back to physical properties of ink, toner, and paper and the lighting environment.  We had completely different training, perspectives, and we argued professionally and disagreed a lot, but we achieved what I believe was the world’s best understanding of image quality – because of our multidisciplinary approach.  We also published dozens of papers in tier one journals, many of which are still in use today.

I’ve done hundreds of multidisciplinary projects since then, attempting to learn from those who think differently that I do. I really like multidisciplinary teams.

So, have a sticky problem?  Or an irritating colleague that is different than you? Maybe even me?  Give it a try.

Week Ending October 10, 2014

Progress on my understanding:

    • Attended a full day working meeting with the other Business Deans, all 23 campuses within the CSU,  in Anaheim on Sunday.  We have nearly common challenges all around, a good group of folks that I will tap as needed.
    • Still working on those one-on-ones within CoBA: 30% down, 70% to go; thanks for your patience. Added other deans, folks in Advancement, several CoBA Advisory Board members, etc.  Met our Student Organization leaders.


  • Enjoyable mix of alumni, community partners, faculty, staff, and other CSUSM employees at the “Taste for Student Success” Saturday.  Special thanks to Carrie Smith and thanks to all that made the event worthwhile!
  • First ever CoBA Alumni Reception just before Saturday’s “Taste for Student Success” with a record turnout.  Did you know that we have the youngest alumni chapter on campus with the greatest number of members (~340)?
  • Attended and spoke at a Reception honoring faculty recently awarded promotion.   Our congratulations to Alan Styles and Vassilis Dalakas to their promotions to Full Professor.  Very impressive accomplishments.
  • First meeting Friday with our CoBA Advisory Board, transition plans well accepted and Board very supportive.
  •  Followed by the Student Dean’s List Recognition Breakfast (below) sponsored by  Wells Fargo to celebrate the Spring 2014 Dean’s List students.  Another celebratory event!breakfast2

Immediate Plans:

  • I’ll be holding an all-CoBA (faculty, adjunct faculty, staff) “Dean’s Update” next Friday at 10:15 am in ACD 102.  Among other things, I will talk about CoBA Culture and my perspective.

Alumnus Highlight:

We all celebrate in the achievements of our former students.  Some of you know Patrick Reynolds, one of our outstanding students, and one of many I have mentored for several years.  Patrick has completed several extraordinarily successful internships, including Broadcom, Life Technologies, Surf Shack Interactive, and at my insistence and encouragement, very recently completed Dev Bootcamp in San Francisco  where he learned fundamental technical and non-technical skills needed to build modern web applications.  I had a one hour conversation with him Sunday, helping him to steer through two outstanding competing job offers at Adobe Systems and Uber.  Remember that name and this face: Patrick Reynolds.



A Quick Report: Week Two

Progress on my understanding:

  • Additional one-on-ones within CoBA: 19% down, 81% to go. If you haven’t had yours yet, this is a more of a get-acquainted talk in your office.  One of the questions I will ask you is: What does the term innovation and the term excellence mean to you in the job you do?  Or, do you consider these just buzz words?  That’s an OK answer.  Nothing grandiose, nothing profound, just simple questions.
  • Across the University: I sincerely enjoy working with the other college deans on campus. I can assure you that they are all well-intentioned, there is little to no politicking among us, it is a quite collegial group.  I had dinner with them last Saturday night, as well as numerous working meetings this week, and delighted to see how we work together.
  • Outside the University: Too much to say, but suffice it that there is lots of opportunity for engagement and lots of interest in our college.  Looking forward to working with our Advancement folks on opportunities.  More later.
  • Attended a review of the SAMBA Program, I am impressed.  Excellent offering, driven by need, even better for our students.  I have several students from my “In the Trenches” class that I encouraged to attend, and they now plan to enroll for next year.  I will be reviewing our other specialty programs in the weeks ahead as I get up to speed.


  • I participated in interviewing three of the four new faculty candidates this week in Marketing and was pleasantly surprised at the quality of all three candidates, all doing engaging and inspiring research.  Kudos to the search team for whittling down the 90+ applicants to 16 candidates to the final four.


  • I am a for-profit fellow with a corporate research background and lots of non-profit engagement, but this is a very different context for me.  We are a College of Business, I will report on future attempts to use more of what we teach our students in the administration of our college.  Enough said.

Immediate Plans:

  • I’ll be at the the Taste for Student Success tomorrow (Saturday), alumni reception at 2 pm, general reception at 3 pm.
  • Meeting Sunday in Anaheim with other CSU business deans.

Hope to see you tomorrow at the Taste for Student Success, invite a friend!  Befriend a community member.